Remember Metz, the premium TV brand? They’re back (actually, in Germany they never went away), and they’re in the throes of going global with a new affordable premium brand, ‘Metz blue’.
CEO, Metz Consumer Electronics
Metz blue is to be “powered by German engineering” but it also has the monumental market power of China’s Skyworth behind it. Skyworth is “one of the brands who are no. 1 in China” as Metz CEO Dr Norbert Kotzbauer put it tactfully at the IFA press conference (where TCL and Hisense are both also exhibiting). Skyworth is huge - it expects to sell a million Android TVs globally in 2019, operating out of Shenzen with 40,000 employees, a corporate value of US$19bn, US$6.2bn revenue in 2018, global capacity to produce for 18m TVs a year, etc, etc, in addition to developing a full suite of TV technology — AI imaging, Dolby Vision, all the trimmings.
And since Skyworth is the 100% shareholder of Metz Consumer Electronics, the combination now has plans to take the Metz brand global.
Metz Consumer Electronics is, of course, far smaller — it has 160 employees operating out of Zimdorf, Bavaria.
But Metz has something Skyworth does not — a reputation for German-made premium televisions. And history too — Metz has been operating since 1938, 50 years before Skyworth (still a private brand, though listed on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange) was even formed.
So Skyworth is now developing a global strategy based on four television brands.
- Metz classic (the familiar red Metz logo) will be its premium brand.
- Metz blue will be an affordable premium level.
- Skyworth’s own brand is the high value offering.
- Below that is Coocaa, a youth-orientated brand which is sold in China only online — indeed it is as much an e-commerce platform as a TV brand.
One big announcement at the IFA GPC is that the classic Metz (red) will be introduced to China this year. How will those 160 employees in Bavaria churn out enough TVs to satisfy China? We asked Dr Norbert after the event — but of course the China-bound models will be produced by Skyworth, with Metz’s input on design and production, all of which is still under discussion, so no more can yet be said, reported Dr Norbert. We thought this may be a hint towards OLED Metz TVs potentially employing OLED panels from China's BOE (as suggested by OLED-info), and while some BOE/Skyworth OLEDs do seem to have entered the China market in 2017, Dr Norbert later confirmed to us that the Metz OLEDs will use LG.Display panels; indeed LG.D is a strategic partner of Skyworth, a relationship that goes back to at least 2005 in LCD panel cooperation.
And Metz blue is going increasingly global. The new brand entered central, eastern and south-eastern Europe in 2018 (the European TVs are manufactured in Poland), it recently entered India and Hong Kong, and has just launched in South Korea. ‘Other markets will surely follow!’ declared Dr Norbert, and Australia is shown on their roadmap.
Dr Norbert told us that previously when Metz was on our shores the local distributor was asking for larger models to suit our larger homes when Metz was producing 43-inch and 50-inch models. With the weight of Skyworth now behind the Metz blue, the new brand should have little difficulty in delivering its stated core aim to produce “reliable, smart, connected, user-friendly” TVs delivering unlimited entertainment. Here's their video for the brand, in German, with subtitles.