November 20, 2013 10:43 pm JST

Panasonic to halve digital camera releases in 2014

OSAKA (Nikkei) -- Panasonic will roll out about five new compact digital cameras next year, half this year's number, in a bid to return a segment besieged by smartphone cameras to profitability by fiscal 2014.

     The 2014 crop of new arrivals will center on pricey offerings that cost 30,000 yen ($296) or more, set apart by such features as high-magnification zoom.

     The company will focus on mirrorless single-lens models, with the diminutive 274-gram Lumix GM set to go on sale Thursday and another device capable of capturing 4K ultra-high-definition video also slated for development.

     While Panasonic will continue to produce its more affordable offerings, it is considering OEM arrangements for models under 20,000 yen. The company will work to increase sales of lenses, which have other uses such as in surveillance cameras, and move their production in-house.

    Panasonic anticipates a second consecutive year of losses for its digital camera business in fiscal 2013 on the back of weak sales of compact offerings. Global digital camera sales are expected to shrink by over 2 million units this fiscal year to about 4 million.