Sony’s Michael Lynton Faxes Memos in Wake of Hack

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton has gone full-on retro to safeguard against future hacks: He is now writing memos by hand and faxing them to his contacts at least once a day, he revealed during an appearance at Recode’s Code Media conference in Southern California on Thursday.

“My fax machine is in great use at this point,” he quipped, only to assure his chuckling audience that he was, in fact, not joking.

However, Lynton also said that the Sony hack isn’t on top of everyone’s mind at Sony anymore. “It’s well in the rear-view mirror at this point,” he said. The company has changed some of its IT infrastructure, but not in fact gotten a new IT team, he added.

Lynton was also asked about changes in the music, movie and television business, and he argued that the music biz is learning from the way Hollywood has been operating. “You will see some version of windowing in the music industry,” he predicted.

Sony Music did its part to push for some of these windows when Adele withheld her most recent album from Spotify, leading to sales records. This release strategy was a decision that Adele and her label made together, said Lynton. “It was the right thing.”

He acknowledged that windowing isn’t something that’s easy to explain to consumers, especially when movies aren’t readily available to them. The flip side is that the model has been making lots of money for the studios, he argued: “We should act with extreme caution… to break a model that’s working.”

Lynton also insisted that the fundamentals of the movie business haven’t changed, even with companies like Amazon and Netflix coming in and driving up bids for some titles.

But he acknowledged that the audience itself has been changing, and is becoming more opinionated, thanks in part to social media. In previous decades, a studio could release a holiday movie and expect a certain return just based on the timing of the release alone. These days, audiences either embrace a movie, or completely reject it, he said. “That makes it a scarier business to be in.”

Finally, Lynton chimed in on Snapchat, where he is a board member. Lynton argued that the ingenuity of Snapchat has been to change how cameras are used. “For 150 years, cameras were used for documenting,” he said. Snapchat broke with that tradition and now uses the camera to communicate.

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