CEO Kazuo Hirai says his effort will result in major changes in the television and mobile businesses — and confirmed his plan to slash about 10,000 jobs this year, equal to 6% of Sony’s employees worldwide. But he adds that it will also enable Sony to generate $104.9B in revenue with at least a 5% operating margin and 10% return on equity in the fiscal year that ends next March. Digital imaging, gaming and mobile will be the “three main focus areas” of the electronics business.
Sony says gaming should deliver $12.4B in revenues and an operating margin of 8% in the fiscal year that ends in 2014, with sales boosted by growth in the number of downloadable titles for its PlayStation and an expansion of the the number of devices that will work with the console. For mobile, the company is consolidating its smartphone, tablet, and VAIO computer businesses to “quickly develop and deliver compelling products” — including some built around rich content such as music and games. Hirai may face his toughest challenge in turning around Sony’s TV set business. He plans to reduce costs with a 40% cut in the number of models the company sells. Meanwhile Sony will integrate sets with mobile products, provide more movies and music for them, and concentrate on “next-generation display technologies” such as OLED and Crystal LED Display.
He also sees a big opportunity to develop high-end and professional products that use 4K technologies, which offer images with four times the resolution of HD. Hirai says that he will use Sony’s movie, TV, and music entertainment assets to help drive sales of products in emerging markets including India and Mexico.
This was the worst trading day so far in 2012 — the fifth consecutive day that the market was down, and the third time in the last four trading days that the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by … Read More »
The company’s U.S. shares are down nearly 8% in pre-market trading after it said that it lost about $6.4B in the fiscal year that ended in March — up from the $2.7B loss it projected in February. The difference is due … Read More »
The total represents about 6% of its workforce, according to multiple reports apparently beginning with Japan’s Nikkei. About half of the layoffs will come from Sony’s chemicals and its flat-panel businesses. Development Bank of Japan has already agreed to … Read More »
Just ahead of the planned early April launch of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s full Pottermore site for all things Hogwarts, e-book and audio book versions of all seven Harry Potter books were made available today on the site. … Read More »
Kazuo Hirai officially replaces Howard Stringer as Sony’s CEO next week. But today he signalled his determination to revitalize Sony’s struggling electronics operations — and potentially take on its more glamorous rival, Apple – by unveiling a wide-ranging reorg. The new plan eliminates the company’s consumer products and services group, which Hirai had led, and the business-oriented professional device and solutions group. Hirai will personally run a new Home Entertainment Business that will include TV sets, arguably Sony’s most important product right now. But the company says that it is “positioning digital imaging, game and mobile as the three core pillars of its electronics business, and going forward aims to concentrate its resources in these areas to further reinforce the businesses.” Here’s the company’s announcement: Read More »
UPDATE, 5 PM: David O Russell has clarified his relationship with American Bullshit. Sounds like it’s not totally bullshit, but it’s not real, either. But it also sounds like if it does … Read More »
Michael Lynton will be announced as Howard Stringer’s Sony Corp Of America successor next week. “The people who know in Culver City are very happy — and very relieved,” a source tells me about Sony Pictures Entertainment where Lynton since January 2004 has been chairman alongside Amy Pascal. Sony’s principal U.S. businesses include Sony Electronics Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., and Sony Music Entertainment. Sony Corporation of America, based in New York, NY, is the U.S. subsidiary of Sony Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo. The Japan brass would like to base Lynton full-time in NYC but he prefers to stay in Los Angeles because of his family. So that’s still a question mark. Lynton’s promotion has been expected for some time and even more so since Comcast bought NBCUniversal because the Sony exec is close professionally and personally to Brian Roberts and Steve Burke, something the hyper-ambitious Lynton let it be known throughout Hollywood and beyond. My insiders say this job promotion is because Lynton has become a favorite of Kazuo Hirai, who takes over as Sony Corp President/CEO at the start of April. Stringer will retain the chairman title. My insider says, “Hirai who’s very Americanized really likes Michael. He’s his kind of guy because Michael is all business and not flashy.” Lynton already oversees Sony’s movie and TV studio, distribution deals, global production operations, and such. He previously was CEO of AOL Europe and before that headed Pearson’s Penguin publishing company as well as served a brief stint running Disney’s Hollywood Pictures.
But Lynton has a herculean task in front of him. Here’s why: Sony’s U.S. shares have lost more than 36% of their value over the last 12 months. The company is plagued by a feeling that it’s too slow moving and out of touch with consumers, technology, and business. One of the key aspects of the Sony Corp Of America job is ensuring that the corporation’s proprietary technology doesn’t lose out to hardware advancements and content exclusivity. Sony always will be haunted by its Betamax loss to VHS which started the company on a long downward spiral. Since then, the Sony Corp Of America top exec’s marching orders have been to ensure that Sony doesn’t get left out in the cold when the hardware manufacturers and content providers agreed on an industry standard whether for CD, DVD, Blu-ray, 3D or other formats. Problem is, this has meant that even when Sony has had proprietary technology, the company has shared it rather than tried to go it alone again. The result is that the Sony Corp Of America job requires an executive capable of subtle diplomacy and industry respect, and Lynton fits that description perfectly. (On the other hand, he is not shy about his political activism for President Obama and is along with his wife one of the reelection campaign’s top bundlers. And he has used his current gig as a soapbox, most controversially scolding movie theaters for making Americans fat by selling unhealthy concession snacks.)
Combatting current trends won’t be easy. Apple, not Sony, controls tablets and music players. Amazon, not Sony, dominates e-readers. And Microsoft, not Sony, is No. 1 in game consoles while Sony angered Read More »
In a plot twist that’s ripe for adapting into a big-budget feature, federal prosecutors revealed today that the ringleader of the notorious LulzSec hacking group had actually been an informant for the FBI for the past six months, providing information that lead to today’s arrest of three LulzSec members and conspiracy charges against two others. The LulzSec and the larger Anonymous networks have been accused of devastating hacking attacks on the U.S. government and major corporations — including Fox, PBS and Sony. Hector Xavier Monsegur — who is said to go by the pseudonym Sabu — is the unlikely mastermind of the loosely organized hacking group charged with stealing confidential information, attacking websites and putting some out of operation temporarily. The group claimed it was partly motivated by the desire to expose lax security measures at big corporations. Using information Monsegur supplied — even while allegedly continuing to post provocative attacks on the government on his Twitter account — FBI agents today arrested two hackers in Britain, another two in Ireland and a fifth in Chicago and unveiled the charges against them and Monsegur. They are accused of being the key leaders of LulzSec. “This is devastating to the organization,” said an FBI official involved with the investigation. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Matt Wheeler will adapt The Informant, the third in a series of novels by Thomas Perry.Sony tapped Wheeler who is a recent graduate of UCLA MFA screenwriting program where he was a BAFTA scholar and Samuel … Read More »
Today’s press day at the 2012 International CES, when many manufacturers unveil the products they’ll show off beginning tomorrow when the show floor opens. And based early announcements, it appears that TV set manufacturers believe they can revive their stagnating sales by packing lots of existing features — including Web connections, 3D, and voice commands — into devices with humongous screens. LG led the way this morning by announcing plans to sell an 84-inch LCD TV, the largest available in the U.S. It’ll be 3D compatible, include Wi-Fi, and respond to voice commands. LG, Samsung, and Sony will also be talking up sets that include Google TV; LG said that it will develop its own chip sets for the product that integrates Web videos with conventional TV. Sharp also now says it will add 3D compatibility to a feature-packed 80-inch TV it announced late last year. Separately, Nuance — known for its Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition program — announced plans to sell voice recognition software to TV and box makers. The company says that Dragon TV will enable viewers to find what they want by speaking commands such as “Go to PBS”, “What’s on Bravo at 9 PM tonight?”, ”When is Ellen on?”, and ”Watch Dexter on DVR”. Read More »
Netflix officially launched its subscription streaming service in the UK and Ireland today. According to a company statement, films and TV shows will now be available from the likes of Disney UK and Ireland, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount, 20th Century … Read More »
UPDATE: Sony Pictures is not known for risky moves. So all through the holidays rival studio execs were predicting that Amy Pascal et al would not go forward with the 2nd and 3rd film installments of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. That opinion was based on the mediocre opening for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Sure its domestic debut was significantly behind M:I4 and Sherlock 2, but it’s R-rated and both of those are PG-13. Then overseas grosses, expected to be huge, began trickling in underwhelming. GWDT opened only 3rd in the UK, and disappointing in Asia, and “not as good as hoped for” in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Now I’ve learned that Sony Pictures is indeed going forward with The Girl Who Played With Fire already written by Steve Zaillian, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest which Zaillian is penning. Studio chief Pascal and producer Scott Rudin have not yet locked in David Fincher as director. But they’re looking to start shooting #2 by the end of this year/beginning of next. Overseas, Sony now expects GWDT to do over $200M — so $300M all in globally. “And that’s a really good number,” the Sony exec told me hopefully. But one mogul counters, “The surprising part is that Sony is not waiting to see if the movie works overseas before going forward with the sequels. I would have.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has bought a spec pitch from Drew Pearce titled Secretaries Day, attaching Will Gluck to direct and produce the action-comedy through his studio-based Olive Bridge Entertainment shingle. The project represents the first original feature idea for Pearce, … Read More »
Sony has extended its first-look non-exclusive deal with Escape Artists, the indie film and TV production outfit that has been headquartered at the studio since 1998. Escape Artists, topped by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch, is behind such … Read More »
The trading day ended with a thud. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 wound up -2.1% as word spread that Germany might balk at a proposal to help bail out debt-laden members of the European Union including Greece and … Read More »
On December 26, Warner Bros’ Final Destination 5 will become the first UltraViolet-enabled title to be released in the UK via DVD, Blu-ray and Triple Play. From then on, all of the studio’s future home entertainment releases in … Read More »