Tucked inside the recent Broadway-inspired spectacle that surrounded Samsung's unveiling in New York of its next-generation Galaxy S4 phone was a preview of the company's media play: Samsung Hub.
The Korean technology juggernaut sees media and entertainment as a unifying element for its vast consumer electronics lineup and has been building out separate segments of its content strategy dedicated to music, games, books and videos. Now, Samsung wants to pull those pieces together to create a meatier platform that can compete with Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
Music is a key component of Samsung's strategy, especially since music goes hand in glove with mobile devices like the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy tablets. As a result, the company is doubling its Music Hub team in Palo Alto, Calif., to 200 employees by the end of the year, hiring a combination of engineers and business development staff to broaden the product's distribution, both internationally and across more Samsung devices, says Daren Tsui, who heads up Samsung's music initiatives in Silicon Valley.
Samsung has already made some key hires, including Lisa Tiver, former general counsel for ESPN Star Sports Asia, as its senior VP of business development to oversee the broader licensing efforts. Samsung has also brought on Duncan Hutchison, former GM of Caroline Records and founder of Astralwerks, as director of global independent label relations.
Look for Samsung to announce more about its media strategy, spearheaded by Korea-based senior VP T.J. Kang, later this year.
"There's a race to be a one-stop shop for all things digital--movies, music, TV and books-for a variety of screen sizes," Digital World Research analyst P.J. McNealy says. "The potential for Samsung is great, but ability to execute remains to be seen."