LG is aiming for a tenfold increase in the number of TV brands that license its webOS operating system as part of a transformation into a software company.
Korea's LG, the second-largest TV manufacturer, wants to be software company and it is looking to Apple for inspiration, according to a report by The Korea Economic Daily.
- "Our medium to long-term strategy is focused on transforming into a software company. We can’t survive by selling devices only," a senior LG Electronics executive said.
As part of the transformation, LG is aiming to license its webOS TV operating system to around 200 TV makers, up from 20 TV makers last year. New partners include KMC, Walton, Seiki and Croma – mainly entry-level or low-end brands. LG started licensing webOS in 2021 to TV brands such as Konka and Blaupunkt.
LG introduced the first version of webOS in its own TVs in 2014 after acquiring it from HP. Every year, the company has introduced a new version of webOS but the latest version is always reserved for the latest generation of TVs. Older LG TVs do not get updated to newer versions of webOS.
webOS 5.0 with its classic bottom bar (left) versus webOS 6.0 with its new homescreen (right)
Data collection and targeted adsLG is hoping to transform webOS into a platform that can generate recurring revenue from subscription apps and targeted ads with the help of its subsidiary LG Ads.
- "The more TV manufacturers adopt LG’s WebOS-based TV platform, the more data LG will be able to build on TV viewers," the report said. "Based on the data, LG will produce advertising tailor-made for the viewer’s preferences of content and channels to create new revenue."
Also read: River OS: LG introduces alternative TV operating system, built on ads
TV platforms such as Amazon's FireTV and Roku are already ad-supported, and Samsung also took a step in that direction this year with the revamp of Tizen.
LG's webOS offers around 2,000 TV apps. That compares to 10,000 for Android TV, 30,000 for Roku, 18,000 for Apple's tvOS, and 15,500 for Amazon's FireTV, according to app intelligence company 42matters.
- Source: Korea Economic Daily