Originally Posted by KidHorn
The value of the yen hurts, but I don't think it's the primary issue. The bigger problem is much of the world is in a depression and consumer electronics, in general, is getting hammered. No one is making money selling consumer electronics. Except for Apple.
Actually, the yen is the primary issue. TV sales are more or less flat. They aren't down by double digits. It's pretty much the same number of units in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2010 was up from 2009, which was up from 2008, 2007, etc.
If the world economy was the problem, you'd see reduced unit sales, which you haven't in any meaningful sense (it happened for the "first time ever" this year, see: http://www.bgr.com/2012/06/21/global-tv-sales-lcd-shipments-down/
The Japanese, however, lose money on every sale at 80 yen: dollar, and 100 yen: euro. And the fact that Samsung is a better marketer right now means they are also taking share.
So flat market + loss of market share + loss on every sale = devastating triple whammy.
If the TV market actually starts to shrink, Panasonic, Sony and Sharp are all absolutely finished. Samsung, LG and China will use the opportunity to simple crush them while they are down. The Japan trio may be done anyway. Mitsubishi used to make TVs and basically doesn't anymore (they sell about 0.1% of the world's units), Toshiba is barely in the market globally, Philips (not Japanese of course) is more or less out of TV. Sony can't argue any rational case for still being in -- a decade of losses? please! -- and Panasonic is having a tough time justifying remaining as well. If the yen plummets, those guys will see profitability return much faster and it buys them time to turn things around. But the trends actually favor all three dying anyway, with, ironically, Sharp having the best chance at survival because it owns the only 10G fab on earth (well, it doesn't own much of it anymore, but if the trends toward bigness every accelerate, the Sharp brand has a leg up on everyone else).