LG webOS

LG Makes Moves Towards Becoming a Media and Entertainment Platform Company

LG is known for its hardware, including TVs, speakers, appliances, and more. But the company has announced business transformation plans to become a media and entertainment platform company, with services and curated content for its products, including LG OLED and QNED TVs.

LG shared its new direction and strategy at the webOS Partner Summit 2023, held at the LG Sciencepark in Seoul, South Korea. This event was attended by content producers, providers, developers, and industry figures from over 30 countries.

“LG is poised to transform into a media and entertainment platform company that delivers distinctive content and services that will enhance the lives of its customers,” says Park Hyoung-sei, President of the LG Home Entertainment Company, speaking at the Summit. “This transformation would not be possible without LG’s decade of OLED TV leadership and the technological innovation of the webOS smart TV platform.”

Since its launch on LG smart TVs in 2014, webOS is available on 200 million LG TVs worldwide, and is now also supporting several third-party TV brands in multiple markets. Moving forward, LG plans to extend webOS to more third-party TV companies and expand the platform to other product categories. Within three years, LG expects to have over 300 million webOS-powered devices. 

To deliver the ecosystem of webOS to a broader customer base, LG has already applied its platform webOS to a range of categories, including projectors, digital signage, and in-vehicle infotainment systems. 

LG webOS

The webOS solution for third-party brands is called webOS Hub, and it has increased from 20 just two years ago to over 300 today. During that time, webOS Hub has undergone upgrades with the variety of content on offer expanding to include cloud gaming and OTT services. New features are arriving to enhance convenience and the overall user experience. Additionally, some of LG’s partner TV brands have now introduced their own OLED TVs powered by webOS Hub.

The webOS smart TV platform is continuously evolving, providing upgrades that add support for new services, and bringing constant refinement to the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. LG is also offering seamless support for TV operating system upgrades and updates via platform upgrades, including earlier TV models. 

As part of its strategy to expand the webOS platform ecosystem, LG acquired majority stake of the U.S. advertising/content data analysis specialist, Alphonso, in 2021. Alphonso established subsidiaries in the U.K. and Greece last year, accelerating the global growth of its content service.

LG is set to make a substantial investment of KRW 1 trillion in its webOS business over the next five years in order to provide more content and services for consumers.

LG’s strategic investment will be focused on broadening the range of content available via the webOS platform, boosting usability by innovating the UI and UX, and strengthening partnerships with content production companies on a global scale. To date, LG has worked with its partners to bring new technologies to the platform, for gamers, sports fans, or Gen Z users. This includes the integration of Sye, a Prime Video proprietary, low latency technology that will benefit LG customers who are fans of live streaming sports like Thursday Night Football. LG TVs deliver Netflix HDR streaming and have just opened the beta release for Netflix Games on TV. The company also worked with YouTube to make a Native Touch UX available for the app on models such as StanbyME.

LG is also strengthening innovation in the area of AI-based search and recommendations. The company plans to incorporate a voice user interface (VUI) feature into partner companies’ apps, which will let webOS users easily control and navigate third-party content services with their voice and enable swift and seamless content discovery.

Service usability will likewise be enhanced. LG Channels 3.0, LG’s premium, free streaming service, boasts a growing selection of TV series and has a revamped UI that allows users to view more content options, including live channels and movies, on the screen, reducing the need to scroll. Thanks to the new UI, users can now easily explore what’s on other channels without having to pause or navigate away from what they’re watching.

Available in 27 countries worldwide, LG Channels currently offers over 3,000 channels and has over 50 million subscribers as of March 2023. In 2022 alone, the number of unique devices on which LG Channels was used increased by 75%, while viewing time rose by 57%, and usage-frequency surged to make the service one of the top-five most-accessed apps on the webOS platform. 

LG is actively investing in its smart TV platform development capabilities by partnering with academic institutions in South Korea to nurture the next generation of software talent.