More Than Just a TV Maker, LG Aims to Become Media/Entertainment Empire

If you’ve ever wondered why major TV brands feature their own branded channels on the home screen of their TVs, LG has shed some light on the question. The OLED market leader announced that it intends to become a player in the media/entertainment space and is making a $750 million investment in its webOS smart TV platform over the next five years to make that happen.

The company also announced LG Channels 3.0, an updated version of its free streaming service it plans to roll out in October. The enhanced service will feature a new user interface (UI) and enhanced channel guide.

Since launching in 2014, the webOS smart TV platform has been integrated into 200 million LG TVs and a growing number of third-party TV brands as the company pushes to expand the platform to more than 300 million TVs and other devices, including projectors and in-vehicle infotainment systems, over the next three years.

As part of this aggressive expansion, the number of third-party partners that use webOS has grown from 20 to more than 300 in two years as LG continues to improve and expand the platform with upgrades to its user interface (UI) and the addition of cloud gaming and other services. To support development of the webOS ecosystem, LG even acquired majority stake of the U.S. advertising/content data analysis firm in 2021.

Another example of LG’s laser-like focus on content is the integration of Netflix HDR streaming, a beta release of Netflix Games, and a proprietary, low-latency technology from Amazon’s Prime Video called Sye that improves the streaming quality of sports and other live events. LG is also looking to boost its appeal to Gen with the launch of the lifestyle screens and more.

Like everyone else, the company is also working to improve artificial intelligence (AI)-based content search and personalized recommendations and plans to incorporate a voice interface feature into partner companies’ that would enable webOS users to control and navigate with voice commands.

LG Channels Is Booming
LG’s desire to embrace content delivery is logical considering the success the LG Channels streaming service is enjoying. Available in 27 countries, the free service offers more than 3,000 channels and, as of March, had over 50 million subscribers. In 2022 alone, LG said the number of unique devices offering LG Channels surged 75 percent, while viewing time increased 57 percent, making it one of the top-five most-accessed apps on the webOS platform.

The updated UI for LG Channels 3.0 is organized into three pages — Home, Live, and On Demand — to make it easier for viewers to find content they want to watch. The home page has also been revamped with a channel guide that now covers only half of the screen, allowing viewers to see what’s on and choose what to watch next without leaving the show they’re watching, and a large rotating carousel at the top of the screen to provide quick access to featured channels as well as curated and on-demand content.

From the Live page, viewers can watch live broadcasts from within the LG Channels app and, through the On Demand tab, they can select movies and TV shows while receiving what-to-watch suggestions from the Popular Now category.

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