The Panasonic Group is one of the world's leading audio and visual brands and – at present – its imaging divisions are split into two; Panasonic Connect Co., Ltd. and Panasonic Entertainment & Communication Co., Ltd. (PEAC). These businesses will be integrated to form a 'strengthened' organization named Panasonic Entertainment & Communication.
The two divisions are essentially Panasonic's professional and consumer divisions of imaging. Panasonic Connect develops high-end and specialized audio and visual equipment for professional services such as film and television and, Panasonic Entertainment & Communication produces products that we can pick up off the shelves, such as the best Panasonic cameras like the Panasonic Lumix S5 IIx.
The reason behind the integration is the blurring of the two markets. With more and more people wanting to create content, the need for specialist equipment is hitting high-street consumers. Panasonic states: "Foreseeing future growth in the overlapping markets for consumer and professional video production, and live video streaming, the move to integrate the businesses will enable the Panasonic Group to strengthen its imaging business and achieve high growth."
With the need for better quality, features, and performance in consumer products, cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix S1H are now so good they are Netflix-approved (a production quality standard – we keep a list of the best Netflix-approved cameras). This means that the bridge between high-end and consumer products is becoming shorter, and therefore makes sense to develop under one organization.
You can't go a day without a new podcast or video streaming brand appearing on Spotify or YouTube, meaning equipment that was only needed for television production is now demanded by many everyday users. I think this is a great thing and provides an entry point into content production, and with that the need for specialty equipment such as audio mixers and streaming cameras increases.
Panasonic adds, "Furthermore, in the field of live broadcast and video streaming, there is an increasing demand for diverse video shooting and streaming equipment that satisfies the requirements of video creators and caters to improved video and audio quality, as well as advancements in visual expression."
"Both companies have determined that in response to this trend, there is a need to bridge the divide between professional and consumer users to provide timely and consistent support throughout the entire process from video shooting to editing and streaming while developing products and services that exceed the expectations of video creators. To achieve this, the imaging-related businesses spanning both companies will be integrated into one organization within the Panasonic Group."
As a customer, I think the decision only looks set to strengthen Panasonic's imaging business, enabling them to quickly and efficiently respond to both markets. This will hopefully also lead to further development across both pro-level and consumer products, as I am sure that strengths in performance and features can be shared more easily. Panasonic has already taken the top spots in our guide to the best hybrid cameras with its Lumix S5 II and Lumix GH5 II, and with this news looks set to strengthen its position.
The integration between the two divisions is scheduled to merge on April 1, 2024.