LG hoping to license WebOS platform to 200 TV brands

Mike Wheatley

LG Electronics is stepping up its bid to become a software company, and aims to dramatically increase adoption of its WebOS TV operating system among third-party TV manufacturers.


The ambitious company is aiming to achieve a tenfold increase in the number of TV makers who adopt its software this year, reports from South Korea said.

LG currently licenses its WebOS operating system to around 20 TV brands, but is looking to expand this to as many as 200 TV manufacturers, the Korea Economic Daily reported. That’s an awful lot of TV makers, and the report listed numerous examples of low-end brands such as KMC, Walton, Seiki and Croma.

LG has medium to long-term plans to transform itself from a simple maker of home appliances, the report added. It quoted a senior LG Electronics executive as saying that the company “can’t survive by selling devices only”.

Inflationary pressure, the war in Ukraine and supply chain problems stemming from ongoing COVID-19 shutdowns in China have dented consumer demand for TVs and other electronic gadgets this year. As a result, LG’s operating profit took a big hit in the second quarter.

WebOS is therefore seen as a potential savior by the company. The platform provides an easy to use interface for navigating TVs, and enables users to connect to the internet and download on-demand content from various applications, while accessing video streaming services.

LG’s decision to begin licensing WebOS to other TV makers helped to increase its market share among global smart TV operating systems to 13.8% in 2021, up from 12.4% in 2020. Rival Samsung Electronics saw its share fall from 24.3% to 21.3% over the same period.

By licensing WebOS to other TV brands, LG can expect to generate a steady income stream from the sale of subscription TV content and video streaming, as well as advertising. That’s in contrast to TV sales, which only generate a one-time profit. In addition, WebOS will also generate fees from application developers.

The company is now said to be recruiting experienced workers to boost its TV platform services.

“We’ll make money from paid content and apps embedded into TVs,” the executive told Korea Economic Daily

Last year, around 2,000 apps were available to download on WebOS-powered TVs, a 30% increase from the year before. Among those apps is LG’s new Fitness Candy service, which will provide subscription access to “keep fit” content starting in September.

WebOS will also enhance the LG Ads business unit, providing more data that it can use to sell targeted ads to TV viewers. LG Ads will be able to use the data to provide tailor-made advertising based on customer’s preferences and viewing habits.