Sony’s pictures division returned to profit in the July to September quarter, registering a net profit of $211 million. That figure compares with a loss of $69 million in the April to June quarter, and a $69 million profit in the equivalent quarter last year.
Revenues at the unit were $2.16 billion, fractionally down from the $2.195 billion in the same quarter last year, but up from the $1.59 billion of the April-June period.
Revenues at parent company, Japanese electronics giant Sony grew by 6% in the first half of its financial year, the six months to end September. They hit $37.5 billion (JPY4.36 trillion.) Net profits climbed by 89% to $3.62 billion (JPY399 billion).
In comparison, for the financial year running from April 2017 to March 2018, Sony announced net profits of $3.42 billion (JPY379 billion) from revenues of $77.0 billion (JPY8.54 trillion).
Sony said the the slight revenue drop in the pictures division reflected comparison with a strong quarter last year when it released “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” offset by higher TV licensing revenue, most notably from films”Peter Rabbit” and”Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”
The music division saw sales decrease by 3% in the quarter from JPY207 billion to JPY204 billion. Net profits dropped from JPY32.5 billion to JPY31.5 billion. The company said that physical music sales dropped and that streaming revenues increased. It also incurred higher marketing costs in the quarter. The best selling title was Travis Scott’s “Astroworld.” Upcoming projects in the next quarter include Barbra Streisand’s “Walls,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Springsteen on Broadway,” and Pentatonix’ “Christmas is Here.”
While many in Hollywood have pointed to tech-induced consolidation in the movie industry and suggested that Sony may be ready to sell off its film and TV businesses, Sony has denied that that is its plan. In May, new president and CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida did not hesitate to describe entertainment as one of Sony’s three core businesses – the other two being electronics and financial services.
The basic strategy for the pictures segment is to strengthen and leverage Sony’s IP while also expanding the Media Networks business, particularly in India, in order to enhance profitability, Yoshida said in May, while introducing the corporate strategic plan for the next three years.
Yoshida said that the company wants a bigger piece of the global music business. He backed that up with the acquisition of a 60% stake in EMI Music Publishing, from Mubadala, in May, and then the Michael Jackson estate’s 25.1% stake in EMI last month. EMI is now a wholly owned Sony subsidiary.
US$1 = JPY112.