An insider has stated that Samsung, the largest manufacturer of televisions in the world, is not only seeking to expand the use of hardware-baked advertising tiles in its newer models, but also to use software updates to make the functionality possible for older TVs which did not originally include it.

The South Korean company includes advertisements in its range of internet-connected televisions, and according to a post at WSJ, Executive Vice President Lee Won-jin (recently poached from Google) is at the helm of the initiative to add extra value to the razor-thin percentages that Samsung is currently able to garner in competition with cheap Chinese exports.

An unnamed member of the company’s ad-sales team in New York is reported to have said that Samsung is not only working with increased ad-agency thrusts to maximise its ad-sales position on its technology, but will also use ‘software updates to retroactively activate tile ads on older smart TV models’.

(Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal presents its own complaint against adblockers during a read of the piece, should you have one enabled.)

Samsung Electronics has had to rally for new ideas in the wake of stagnant smartphone sales – a situation which applies far more to high-end display sales, despite the fillip of consumer-conversion to 4K. Samsung experienced a 20.9% quarterly drop in TV sales in Q1 2016, according to TrendForce, in a market now considered to be saturated and already massively consolidated.

Samsung’s domestic TV sales share, we have argued before, is distantly threatened by roll-in to VR and AR technologies in the next 10-15 years; though it is already making an incursion into that market, the company does not have the presence in raw processing hardware which is likely to turn these emergent technologies profitable for GPU and other chip manufacturers in the advent of a post-display market.

Samsung is currently the second-largest purveyor of technology after Apple, having beaten HP to that position in 2010.

Monetising a failing hardware business via network-driven ad distribution is a hard and desperate path this year above all, when tensions are rising between consumers who are tired of scatter-gunned ads, and the corporate concerns ranging against the rise of adblocking in the consumer market. Hard-coding more ads into expensive technology caused outrage against Samsung over a year ago, and the ‘feature’ seems to be offered as viable by the same rationale that cable companies charge expensive subscriptions but still include advertising in their output – that the product would cost more without it.

Yet that’s hard to apply to Samsung, which is clearly painted into an economic corner by China in terms of price, and has hit a ceiling of quantum-style upgrade possibilities in a market with relatively little turnover.

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