LG To Invest Ksh 109 Billion Its WebOS Business

by Business Watch Team

LG Electronics (LG) targets to have over 300 million devices across the globe powered by webOS within the next three years. This is even as it extends webOS to more third-party TV companies and expands the platform to other product categories.

The move is in line with the company’s plan to become a leading media and entertainment platform company, a business transformation that will enrich customers’ lives by delivering valuable services and a unique collection of curated content in products, including LG OLED and LG QNED TVs.

Since its launch on LG Smart TVs in 2014, webOS has been one of the most widely used smart TV platforms in the world. Beyond the 200 million LG TVs worldwide, webOS is now supporting several third-party TV brands in multiple markets.

Speaking during the recently held webOS Partner Summit 2023, LG Electronics EA Managing Director Dongwon Lee said 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. Present at the conference were content producers, providers, developers, and industry figures from over 30 countries.

“This transformation would not be possible without LG’s decade of OLED TV leadership and the technological innovation of the webOS smart TV platform.” Said Lee.

The company is set to make a substantial investment of KES109 billion in its webOS business over the next five years to provide more content and services that cater to the diverse lifestyles and preferences of consumers. 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.

To deliver the unmatched convenience and expansive ecosystem of webOS to a broader customer base, LG has already applied its platform webOS to a range of 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 OLED TVs powered by webOS Hub.

The webOS smart TV platform is continuously evolving, providing seamless upgrades that add support for new services, and bringing constant refinement to the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design based on LG’s deep understanding of customers. So that as many users as possible can enjoy the latest version of webOS on their home TVs, LG is offering seamless support for TV operating system upgrades and updates via platform upgrades – including for earlier TV models.

The most recently released version of webOS LG features the redesigned Home Screen, which introduces the platform’s most user-centric UI and UX yet. With ‘Full Home,’ a new UI that overlays the Home Screen on live TV channels, webOS delivers a more convenient content viewing experience and this UI will be extended to webOS 4.5. LG also plans to introduce ’Idle Home’ that will let users return to the Home Screen, rather than to ‘live TV,’ when exiting apps or programs. 

As part of its strategy to expand the webOS platform ecosystem, LG acquired 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.

To date, LG has worked with its partners to bring new technologies to the platform, for gamers, sports fans, or Gen Z users. Such is the integration of Sye, a Prime Video proprietary, 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 and 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. The company 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, which will let webOS users easily control and navigate third-party content services with their voice, and enable 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 having to pause or navigate 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 was used increased by 75 percent while 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.

Besides, it 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.

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