“India is very important for Sony in the global scheme of things”, Sunil Nayyar, managing director, Sony India

Sony entered India in the year 1994, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation in Japan. Over the years, Sony India has positioned itself as a premium brand across product categories such as digital imaging, personal audio, home entertainment and more. The category, where Sony can be termed as a leader in both mind and market share (latter as per the company), is premium TVs. Another segment where the company’s products can be widely regarded as a benchmark in quality globally is the audio range.
Sony India’s operations are led by Sunil Nayyar. An old timer (Nayyar joined in 1995) at the consumer electronics giant, Nayyar is the first Indian managing director of Sony India. A position he has held since April 2018. Before this, Nayyar held various leadership roles at the company. He led Sony’s North America retail operations from May 2015 to March 2018; was head of sales at Sony India from April 2006 till April 2015 apart from helming Sony Gulf’s sales team in North and East Africa, Russia, Lebanon, Syria and various other Middle Eastern countries. In an interaction with TOI Tech, Nayyar talks about the company’s various product categories, the Covid year challenges and learnings and more.
Q: The last two years have been challenging for almost every consumer electronics brand for a variety of reasons. What have been the biggest learnings for Sony?
The past two years have led the consumer electronic industry dynamics to change drastically and we as a brand have tried to adapt to these changing trends in order to fulfil the demand of the customers. As people are spending more time at home than ever before, we have noticed that they are gravitating towards products, technologies and experiences that support their work from home, learn from home and entertainment at home activities. As far as the television segment is concerned, there has been a switch towards large screen sizes. Consequently, there is a demand for soundbars to enjoy a cinematic audio experience at home.
For personal audio products, in terms of form factor, truly wireless segment and active noise cancellation headphones are showing strong growth. We have also observed numerous new trends in the digital imaging segment such as a rise in OTT content creation, cinematic moviemaking, professional vlogging and live streaming, resulting in high demand for mirrorless cameras, professional and cinema line cameras as well as lenses.
Q. Sony, as a brand, presents multiple product categories. Which is the category that contributes the most to Sony’s India revenue?
While television plays a big role, Sony India enjoys a healthy and balanced contribution to sales from each of its key product categories.
Q: What are the key factors that have helped Sony Bravia televisions to retain their popularity among TV buyers in India?
Sony Bravia is one of the most premium brands in the television segment in India offering multiple industry-first tech innovations which sets it apart from the competition. Our focus is on cutting-edge technologies embedded in Bravia TVs such as XR cognitive processor, 3D surround sound, Bravia CORE and Bravia CAM.
The entire year 2022 Bravia television lineup is now upgraded to the Google TV platform for the best UI experience and convenient content watching. The major segments such as our flagship Mini 4K LED X95K, Master Series OLED A95K, XR OLED A80K, 4K XR Full Array LED X90K and 4K LED X85K, X80K, X75K are loaded with the latest and innovative technologies for a highly immersive TV viewing experience.
Q: What is the biggest value proposition that premium Sony Bravia TVs offer customers vis-a-vis the competition?
Sony has many proprietary technologies that make it a unique proposition in the market, with one of the latest being the XR cognitive processors. This revolutionary processor reproduces content the way humans see and hear for an incredible lifelike experience. Another technology is the Bravia CORE app which is a pre-loaded, exclusively available movie service that allows for redemption of new movie releases as well as streaming of top movies. Bravia CORE also features Pure Stream which can stream HDR movies at up to 80Mbps similar to 4K UHD Blu-ray, on a wide range of content. This means it significantly improves detail, colour and contrast to conventional 15-25Mbps streaming content. Next, Bravia CAM adjusts sound and picture settings based on where you are in a room and how far you are from the TV for an optimum experience. On the audio aspect, acoustic surface sound uses special actuators to turn the screen into a multi-channel speaker, so the sound matches precisely with what is on the screen to deliver a more powerful and realistic sound. Cinema-oriented features such as IMAX, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Netflix calibrated and Calman ready continue to enrich our televisions.
Gaming on televisions is another aspect that Bravia XR televisions is focusing on. Features like 120Hz display, low latency modes ALLM, VRR, HDMI2.1, Auto Game Mode, Auto HDR Tone Mapping and 3D surround sound makes our TVs a preferred option as a giant gaming machine.
Q: Sony’s audio products have always been the benchmark and India has seen phenomenal growth in terms of hearables. What has been Sony’s strategy in terms of product offerings?
Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed a surge in sales for personal audio products like earphones and headphones due to increased awareness about the importance and utility of high-quality audio products in the hybrid mode. We continue to have very good traction for our flagship industry-leading noise cancelling headphones WH-1000XM4 and truly wireless series (TWS) WF-1000XM4 and mid-range noise cancellation and extra bass headphones WH-XB910N and other TWS earbuds such as LinkBuds WF-L900 and WF-C500 followed by entry-level in-ear headphones WI-C100.
Q: Also, which is the one category of audio products that is the “best-selling”?
We have products that are doing phenomenally well in both the personal audio and home audio segment. Premium headphones, TWS and soundbars have surpassed our expectations and are performing exceedingly well in the market.
Q: How big a contributor is India to Sony’s overall revenue?
India is very important for Sony in the global scheme of things. As a single country, India’s contribution to global sales is amongst the top five.
Q: Sony, last year, debuted the 3D sound technology with the Mahindra XUV700. In-car tech is an area that seems to have a lot of potential. What’s your take on it and will we see more of Sony in that space?
We fully understand the potential of OEM automotive audio systems in India and this is the first time that Sony India has introduced 3D audio in the market. Our technology has been appreciated by a lot of customers and Sony is here to stay for a long time.
Q: How much did Sony grow — in terms of value and volume — in the different categories in the last fiscal year?
While we will refrain from disclosing category-specific sales, alongside the global trend of Sony Corporation, Sony India remains to be a profitable company operation.

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