Three focuses for the company, whose share price has soared 80 percent in the past year under the direction of Hirai and his chief strategy officer Kenichiro Yoshida, will be: devices; games and network services; and, entertainment, particularly movies and music. The principal yardstick of success will be return on invested capital.
The company plans to turn its troubled television and smartphone businesses into steady revenue earners. It will continue a restructuring drive that has sharply reduced headcount and lessened the drag from PCs and other struggling product lines.
Specifically, Sony is aiming for a 10% return on equity, as well as a consolidated operating profit of $4.19 billion (JPY500 billion) by FY 2017, the third and last year of its plan. Hirai told reporters in Tokyo that Sony will “stress profitability, not uniform growth in scale.”
To achieve these targets, the company plans to expand its Media Networks business, strengthen TV program production and increase the profit margins of its film business.
Sony intends to grow its devices segment, particularly its profitable image sensors, by expanding their applications in everything from smartphones to medical treatment. It also intends to further boost sales of its PlayStation 4 console and well as related Internet-based services.
Structurally, Sony plans to split off its Video & Sound business unit as a self-managing, wholly-owned subsidiary beginning in October 2015. Other business units will also undergo the same process.
Under the leadership of Yoshida, who assumed his present post in April, the company has embarked on aggressive restructuring that has won praise from analysts and brought its share price roaring back from the depths. But the company still expects to record its sixth next loss in seven years when it finally closes its books on the current fiscal 2014 on March 31.