One of the most interesting parts of my job are the discussions I have with the many market analysts who cover various sectors of the consumer electronics industry. These folks are very smart and knowledgeable about the areas they focus on, tend to have strong and informed opinions, and ask insightful and penetrating questions. In the interest of transparency, they are also interested in selling their research and or consultative services to companies like ours, and most (but not all) love to be quoted in the press.
This week we hosted about 20 of the leading analysts from around the country for a full day at Sony Electronics headquarters here in San Diego. I sat in a couple of the sessions that I found particularly intriguing.
One was with the head of our global digital reading business, Steve Haber, who recently participated in a podcast on the blog. The analysts were impressed to learn more about our roadmap for this business — both in terms of Reader electronic reading devices and the sales of digital books through the Sony eBook Store. They were also favorably surprised when Steve shared a clear sense of the fast-growing sales for both devices and e-books, as well as his projections for the future. Looking a few years out, this may become a very big business!
Another session featured a free-flowing Q&A with Stan Glasgow, our president and COO. The questions and comments were wide ranging, touching upon:
— Our portable CE business, the youth market and how people share entertainment on-the-go, where we touched on initiatives like Playstation Portable (PSP), Sony Ericsson, the reemergence of new Walkman digital music players (stay tuned for more to come at CES).
— The strength of the Sony brand and consumer loyalty, a very important asset that we are working hard to build upon each and every day (including this blog; your comments are welcome).
— Sony Style stores: Brand showrooms or real business opportunity? Both. Great place to test new concepts, enhance the brand, demonstrate merchandising strategies to our retail partners, and engage with consumers. But also now one of our top consumer product distribution channels, along with sonystyle.com.
— Circuit City. The industry needs a strong No. 2 retailer.
– VAIO TZ recall impact. Got the word out to customers around the world. Main interest is to "do the right thing" for our customers. A great product; business continues strong.
— A Window-less PC in Sony’s future? No plan at this time, but keeping an eye on the possibilities.
— Status report on Sony television leadership? Clearly, one of the top players in the U.S. market. Lead in design, performance and environmental friendliness. Check out the latest BRAVIA XBR7&8 models.
— New market considerations? Yes…medical/health related, noting aging Baby Boomer population could use digital electronics to monitor their health. One analyst even suggested (I think jokingly) a "My Last Sony" product.
Any ideas? What do you think?