Sony video unit exiting Korea

Home entertainment arm closes offices

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is shuttering its Korean office at the end of this month due to the country’s sluggish DVD market.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Korea has tried to develop the market since its first DVD release, “Fly Away From Home,” in 1999. The company also tried to break into the market by distributing Blu-ray titles.

SPHE is one of the last American video distributors still in Korea. Universal, Paramount, Buena Vista and 20th Century Fox withdrew in 2006. Warner Bros. Home Video Korea is still open.

According to the Korean Film Council, piracy has cut the value of Korea’s home entertainment market this year to an estimated $289 million, half of its 2002 total.