Panasonic has long been a player in the plasma television space, but that may soon end if reports from Reuters and Nikkei are to be believed. According to both publications citing sources, the Japanese electronics giant is planning to exit the plasma TV market by March of 2014 in hopes of turning around its financials.
The move has been rumoured for quite sometime, and shouldn't come as a shock as the firm downsizes its company to focus on manufacturing and selling LCD and OLED TVs, instead of the plasma versions on which it built its business. Nikkei says the company had already halted new development of plasma display technology earlier this year and will cease panel production at its main plant in Amagaskai by the end of its fiscal year 2014 (March).
Panasonic hasn't officially confirmed the move. In April 2013, a company spokesperson said: "We are considering a number of options regarding our TV business. But nothing has been decided yet." Word from both Reuters and Nikkei adds credence to earlier reports.
It isn't that Panasonic isn't capable of making good plasma televisions; the market just obviously wants LCD and OLED technology over plasma. It is still widely argued that plasma is the better display technology for picture quality, specifically with fast motion and black level representation. With the rise of OLED, this notion could change.
Losses for the company's last plasma factory are expected to reach $413 million, though. Several hundred employees in the plasma division will reportedly be moved into other departments across Panasonic. The company hasn't been afraid to lay off jobs, however, cutting roughly 36,000 jobs over the past year.
All in all not a good situation. Will Panasonic make it as an LCD and OLED TV manufacturer?