According to Panasonic, one of Japan’s top consumer electronics manufacturers, TV networks in the country are allegedly banning the company’s commercials for their new “smart” television product. This has given fuel to speculations that the broadcasters are threatened by the product’s combination of TV and Internet features. The TV operators rarely turn down a major advertiser, but have made statements saying that split screens which simultaneously show TV broadcasts and web content will tend to confuse viewers, this according to industry reports.
Panasonic seem to be gauging their next steps regarding the issue. “IPTV, or smart television, is a new area of service, and we are in talks to create new rules for broadcasting,” Panasonic said in a statement. “We refrain from making further comments.” The commercial was made available on the Google-owned popular video sharing site YouTube, and netizens have reacted strongly to what seems to them as an attempt to hedge and protect the TV medium from technological innovation. “Terrestrial broadcasting is finished because it has failed to keep up with the trend,” said one posting. “Forget it. We live in the time of the Internet,” the poster added. Japan is one of the countries where a lively and competitive TV culture still exists. This runs alongside a population that is very heavily into the Internet. The Asian country’s reputation for technological innovation precedes it, but traditionalism is still alive and well in the Japan’s corporate culture.
Panasonic’s product is not the first one in the market to grab hold of the potential for television units to finally be web-activated. Samsung and LG Electronics, Panasonic’s South Korean rivals, have released and capitalized on TV units that have Internet features. Another commenter on Panasonic’s commercial alluded to the fact that none of this high-tech televisions are popular in Japan, and that their commercials are not being shown in Japanese TV networks as well. This is really a technological issue, more than anything else. The TV broadcasters’ opinion that the public might get “confused” is really not their call to make – it is up to consumers to decide on that. In reality, and if their arguments hold up, they have nothing to fear – the public will not support a bad product. But their fear only gives light to their strange aversion to technological innovation.
[via Tengri News]