A look back into the days gone by throws up the impression that it was the Devil that ushered Onida into the top league of the Indian colour television industry – at a time when the cable revolution was unheard of. Then there was a span when the Devil was taken off the television commercials and the hoardings, and Onida as a brand, went through a lull.
It was this lull that called for bringing in a fundamental change in the communications of the Rs 1,007-crore Mirc Electronics – the group that owns the Onida brand. Wedged between the Korean biggies LG and Samsung on one hand and the determined ones like Sansui on the other, Onida must have had at some point realised that it was stifled for growth. With its share of the pie shrunk below 15 per cent, the brand realised the need to make a statement in a market that was now global in terms of technology, scale and brands. Perhaps, this inspired the idea to bring back the Devil. Only that the resurrected spirit is less scary, more suave and polished than his earlier incarnation.
Says Chandramouli, VP (Marketing and Sales), Mirc Electronics, “We registered around 50 per cent growth in volumes as far as CTVs are concerned. In addition, we also recorded a 50 per cent increase in our overall product portfolio. In the period between October and November, we sold around 70,000–80,000 DVDs and 20,000 washing machines. The fact remains that the devil’s return has added to our brand salience in a big way and in any case, Oxygen has received great feedback from the consumers. We aim to sell a minimum of four million CTVs in the coming year and register around 40–50 per cent growth in volumes. In the domestic market last year, we sold around 9.2 lakh sets. This time around, it has to be much more.”
He continues, “We have to look at volumes and be price competitive. We would try and differentiate in the product for keeping our profitability up. We constantly make an effort to do that. If you start with a model in the beginning of a season, by the next season, its price dips and it becomes un-remunerative. So you have to come up with a new model to raise the price again. It will again be competitive. But to fight the market, you bring it down, kill the model, and go to the next one. So that's the innovation required not only to survive in this market, but also to do well.”
In terms of new offerings, what’s new on Onida’s platter? He explains, “We are launching two new variations in the Oxygen category – one is the 29-inch CTV and the other is the 21-inch CTV (both with flat screen). This would be towards January 2005. We aren’t taking on any communication specifically for these two variations but they would be promoted under the Oxygen tag. The CTV market per se is growing at a tremendous pace and Onida ‘s prospects look more than promising.”
LG and Samsung currently control about 35 per cent of India's 7.5-million-units-a-year CTV market – estimated to be growing at 12 per cent annually. Onida, Sansui and Videocon are other significant players in the CTV segment.