LG Unveils Plans to Turn webOS into Media and Ad Platform

LG Electronics has unveiled a plan to increase global revenue from 2022’s $51 billion to about $79 billion by 2030 as it transitions to a “smart life solution company.” A big part of that will be through subscriptions to add-on services for its TVs and home appliances. The South Korean tech giant’s CEO William Cho said the idea is to get the LG smart system, webOS, onto more third-party brands. Cho outlined plans for a “platform-based service business model that continuously generates profits, such as content and services, subscriptions and solutions” across all product categories.

LG’s TV business “will be the first to transition to the new business model, with the intent of transforming into a ‘media and entertainment service provider,’” The Verge reports, heralding change “towards the end of this year,” when the company plans to introduce new webOS TV software that facilitates “‘content, services and advertisement’ across products like LG’s OLED and QNED TVs.”

LG says there are already more than 200 million smart TVs running the webOS platform worldwide. The company also intends to bring its webOS software to external television brands and non-TV hardware in the LG product family at some point in the next five years.

The company says in a news announcement that it will invest more than 1 trillion Korean won, $790 million U.S. at current exchange rates, over five years to bolster its TV sector alone, strengthening “the content competitiveness and drive growth of LG Channels — an advertising-based free broadcast platform.”

LG Channels have already grown from “20 million users in 25 countries” in 2022 to “48 million users in 29 countries” as of this year. “To achieve quantitative growth, LG will expand customer contact points by increasing the supply of the webOS platform to external TV brands and expand the application of webOS to other product groups,” according to the company.

“Subscriptions will also play a prevalent role on LG’s range of household appliances,” writes The Verge, citing a goal of evolving the “LG ThinQ UP appliances that upgrade functions customers need even after purchase and evolve into a ‘Home as a Service platform,’ which includes customer personalization options, subscription services, and support for unnamed smart home services.”

In December, LG introduced the ThinQ UP line of upgradeable appliances that work with the ThinQ app. The approach is similar to that of automakers.

Cho delivered his new vision for LG in a speech at the LG Sciencepark in Seoul, where he said LG will in total invest about $40 billion by 2030 to expand its business offerings, further R&D and upgrade facilities, ensuring the 65-year-old company’s footprint is “fully expanded to commercial, mobility and virtual spaces.”

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