Matsushita hopes to dent Sony with Olympics pact

Will provide Sydney Summer games with VCR's, other equipment

TOKYO — The Sydney Olympic Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games has given Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. an order to provide digital VCRs and other equipment for the 2000 Summer Olympics, a Japanese financial daily reported.

Although terms of the deal were not released, Matsushita offered its goods at a 75% discount in order to grab some Olympic prestige and to dent the market held by Sony Corp., according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Matsushita has been trying to peck away at Sony’s control on the worldwide broadcasting equipment market, which is esti-mated to be $8 billion. The prestige battles have been fought at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta and continues for the current Winter Olympics in Nagano.

Matsushita won a similar lump-order deal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

A Sony official told the paper it is easy to win orders by submitting bids that are unreasonably low, but questioned whether it makes good business sense to lose so much money in order to get an order.

Sony is the name on most equipment in broadcast studios for the Nagano event, which started on Saturday. Sony is providing 70 digital cameras, 12 digital editors, eight digital switchers and at least 350 monitors to CBS for its broadcast of the games. It also designed a broadcast center for the U.S. network.

Sony also has won major contracts with Canada’s state-run CBC, and with the Japanese networks televising the games.

Matsushita, hoping that a little Olympic magic will make up for lost profits, has signed deals with various broadcasters for high definition and interview VCRs, along with digital cameras and monitors.

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