On the 19th, LG Electronics (LG) shared its first step to becoming a media and entertainment platform company. This business transformation will enrich customers’ lives by delivering valuable services and a unique collection of curated products, including LG OLED and LG QNED TVs. LG shared its new direction and strategy at the webOS Partner Summit 2023, held at the LG Science Park in Seoul, South Korea, and attended by content producers, providers, developers, and industry figures from over 30 countries.
The first event of its kind, webOS Partner Summit 2023, provides the perfect forum for LG to share its new vision – and the immense value of the ever-evolving and expanding webOS smart TV platform ecosystem – with its trusted global partners.
Since its launch on LG Smart TVs in 2014, webOS has been one of the world's most widely used smart TV platforms. Powering more than 200 million LG TVs worldwide, webOS also supports several third-party TV brands in multiple markets. LG plans to expand webOS to more third-party TV companies and expand the platform to other product categories. Within 3 years, LG expects to have over 300 million webOS-powered devices.
To deliver the unmatched convenience and expansive ecosystem of webOS to a broader customer base, LG has already applied its platform webOS to various categories, including projectors, digital signage, and in-vehicle infotainment systems.
Moreover, the number of third-party partner brands that have embraced webOS Hub, the webOS solution for third-party brands, has grown substantially, increasing from 20 just two years ago to over 300 today. During that time, webOS Hub has undergone meaningful upgrades, with the variety of content on offer expanding to include cloud gaming and OTT services and new features arriving to enhance convenience and the overall user experience. Additionally, some of LG’s partner TV brands have now introduced their own OLED TVs powered by webOS Hub.
The webOS smart TV platform continuously evolves, providing seamless upgrades that support new services and constantly refining the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design based on LG’s deep understanding of customers. To allow as many users as possible to enjoy the latest webOS version on their home TVs, LG offers seamless support for TV operating system upgrades and updates via platform upgrades, even for earlier TV models.
As part of its strategy to expand the webOS platform ecosystem, LG acquired a majority stake in the U.S. advertising/content data analysis specialist Alphonso in 2021. Alphonso established subsidiaries in the U.K. and Greece last year, accelerating the global growth of its content service.
LG is set to make a substantial investment of KRW 1 trillion in its webOS business over the next five years to provide more content and services that cater to consumers' diverse lifestyles and preferences. By boosting its competitiveness in content and services, LG believes it will further elevate the webOS user experience.
LG’s strategic investment will be focused on broadening the range of content available via the webOS platform, boosting usability by innovating the UI and UX and strengthening partnerships with content production companies on a global scale. LG has worked with its partners to bring new technologies to the platform for gamers, sports fans, or Gen Z users. An example is the integration of Sye, a Prime Video proprietary, which provides a low latency technology that will benefit LG customers who are fans of live-streaming sports like Thursday Night Football. LG TVs deliver Netflix HDR streaming and have just opened the beta release for Netflix Games on TV with the launch of the lifestyle screens for Gen Z; the company worked with YouTube to make a Native Touch UX available for the app on models such as StanbyME.
LG is also strengthening innovation in the area of AI-based search and recommendations. The company plans to incorporate a voice user interface (VUI) feature into partner companies’ apps, letting webOS users easily control and navigate third-party content services with their voice and enabling swift and seamless content discovery.
Service usability will likewise be enhanced. LG Channels 3.0, LG’s premium, free streaming service, boasts a growing selection of TV series and has a revamped UI that allows users to view more content options, including live channels and movies, on the screen, reducing the need to scroll. And thanks to the new UI, users can now easily explore what’s on other channels without pausing or navigating away from what they’re watching.
Available in 27 countries worldwide, LG Channels currently offers over 3,000 channels and has over 50 million subscribers as of March 2023. In 2022 alone, the number of unique devices on which LG Channels were used increased by 75 percent, viewing time rose by 57 percent, and usage frequency surged to make the service one of the top five most-accessed apps on the webOS platform.
LG is actively investing in its smart TV platform development capabilities by partnering with academic institutions in South Korea to nurture the next generation of software talent and by reinforcing its efforts to secure top-notch software professionals all around the globe.
LG is driving change with a genuine customer-centric approach, as represented by its TV business’s Sync to You, Open to All vision. The vision expresses the company’s aim to provide personalized experiences that cater to each customer’s preferences and lifestyle and to create products that are accessible to all.
“LG is poised to transform into a media and entertainment platform company that delivers distinctive content and services that will enhance the lives of its customers,” said Park Hyoung-Sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Company, at the webOS Partner Summit 2023. “This transformation would not have been possible without LG’s decade of OLED TV leadership and the technological innovation of the webOS smart TV platform.”
By_BK Min, KDFN firstname.lastname@example.org
The summary of this article in Korean is as follows.
■LG전자, '미디어∙엔터테인먼트 기업' 전환... 5년간 1조 투자
LG전자는 19일 서울 마곡 LG사이언스파크에서 세계 30개국 콘텐츠 사업자∙개발자∙업계 관계자 등 300여 명이 참석한 가운데 ‘webOS 파트너 서밋 2023’을 개최했다고 밝혔다.
박형세 LG전자 HE사업본부장은 “올레드 TV 10년의 리더십과 스마트 TV 플랫폼 webOS 기술 혁신을 바탕으로, 고객에게 더 나은 삶을 위한 차별화된 콘텐츠·서비스를 제공하는 진정한 ‘미디어∙엔터테인먼트 플랫폼 기업’으로 전환”을 제시했다.
이어 “LG전자는 더 이상 단순한 하드웨어 제조업체가 아니다. 다양한 세대에 차별화된 경험과 서비스를 제공하는 가장 혁신적이고 개방적인 소프트웨어를 갖춘 플랫폼 기업”이라고 강조했다.
지난 2014년 첫 선을 보인 webOS는 전 세계 2억 대에 달하는 LG 스마트 TV를 구동하는 운영 체제다. LG전자는 LG 스마트 TV 외에도 타 TV 브랜드와 다른 제품군에도 webOS를 공급해 2026년까지 webOS 사업 모수를 3억대로 늘리는 등, 플랫폼 생태계를 대폭 확대할 계획이다.
TV 외 프로젝터, 모니터, 사이니지, 차량 등의 제품군으로도 webOS 적용을 확대하며 고객 접점을 지속적으로 넓히고 있다. 스마트 TV 플랫폼으로 webOS를 선택한 타 브랜드는 첫 공급을 시작한 2021년 20여개에서 현재 300개 이상으로 늘었다.
스마트TV 사용 고객에게 최신 webOS를 제공해 TV 사용경험을 강화한 ‘플랫폼 업그레이드’도 공개했다. 모바일에서 일반화되어 있는 플랫폼 업그레이드를 TV OS에서도 동일하게 지원한 것이 특징이다.
외부 TV 업체에 공급 중인 webOS 플랫폼인 ‘webOS Hub’도 지난해부터 ▲클라우드 게임, OTT 등 인기 콘텐츠 확대 ▲사용 편의성 강화 ▲업계 최초 OLED TV 전용 플랫폼을 선보이는 등 업그레이드했다.
최신 UX를 기존 제품에도 확대 제공하고 보안·사용성 등을 개선해 더 많은 파트너들이 webOS 생태계에 합류함으로써, 궁극적으로 webOS 적용 제품들을 사용하는 고객경험을 제고할 계획이다.
LG전자는 차별화된 고객경험 혁신을 위해 맞춤형 콘텐츠∙서비스 분야에 5년간 1조원을 투자해 콘텐츠 경쟁력과 서비스 사용 편의성을 대폭 강화한다.
특히 스마트TV에 탑재된 플랫폼을 통해 제공되는 콘텐츠를 대폭 확대하기 위해 글로벌 콘텐츠 파트너사와 협력하고, 사용 편의성을 높이기 위한 UI∙UX 혁신에도 투자를 집중한다.
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