Sony Pictures TV to See Layoffs With Consolidation of International TV Operations, Launch of Direct-to-Consumer Unit

Sony Pictures Television is streamlining its international TV operations, consolidating the management of its worldwide channels, home entertainment, and program sales activities under the leadership of Sony Pictures Entertainment distribution president Keith Le Goy.

The restructuring unveiled Wednesday will cost an undetermined number of jobs as the integration of three previously distinct divisions is completed. A handful of senior executive posts in international distribution have already been eliminated. The move to slim down Sony TV’s international ranks was signaled in February when the studio pink-slipped the leader of its networks unit, Andy Kaplan, and home video arm, Man Jit Singh.

The changes come as part of a broader overhaul of studio operations that Sony Pictures TV chairman Mike Hopkins has been hammering out with his boss, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra. Both Fox alums joined the studio last year.

The goal is to eliminate redundancies and de-silo Sony TV. Previously, international TV networks, TV distribution, and home entertainment ran as separate entities under different leaders. The intent is to “create a stronger and more agile organization, one that is better able to pivot and capitalize on opportunities in a fast-changing and increasingly complex global marketplace,” Hopkins wrote in a note to staff distributed Wednesday. He emphasized that Sony TV needs to reorient some of its focus to “align with the realities of today’s marketplace.”

To that end, the studio has also launched a direct-to-consumer unit headed by Eric Berger, Sony TV’s chief digital officer and longtime head of its Crackle streaming service. Berger reports to Hopkins.  The move consolidates the leadership of Crackle and Sony’s other direct-to-consumer channels, Funimation, Film1 OTT and Animax on demand.

Sony TV also aims to rev up its first-run syndication activity, which has been pared down during the past few years as the general syndication market hit a slump. John Weiser, longtime domestic sales exec for Sony TV, has been named president of first-run television. He’s tasked with developing new first-run franchises in partnership with Holly Jacobs, head of U.S. production, Wayne Garvie, head of international, and Sony TV-based producer Michael Davies of Embassy Row.

Hopkins said in a note to Sony TV international staffers that the studio will shift to a “territory management” system where execs will work as a group in key territories under a single regional leader who reports into Le Goy. Those territory leaders are: Mark Young for Western Europe, John Rossiter for Central and Eastern Europe, Ken Lo for Asia-Pacific, and Alex Marin for Latin America and Canada. NP Singh, head of Sony’s India channels operation, will now oversee TV distribution in that country.

“Broadly speaking, the new territory management model brings together, under a single local leader, businesses that have been historically separate,” Hopkins wrote. “With this approach, we gain a more efficient structure giving regional leaders, along with their direct reports in each country, the ability to make smart, strategic business decisions, while keeping local consumers at the core of what we do.

A Centralized Services division based in Culver City has been created to handle the various programming, marketing, sales and technical needs of Sony’s 100 channels worldwide. TC Schultz has taken on the new role of executive VP of networks operations, programming and strategy.

Le Goy been with Sony since 1999 He rose up the international distribution ranks, from Europe and Latin America, to become president of international distribution in 2016. He took on worldwide duties in 2016 and was upped to distribution president for Sony Pictures Entertainment in February.

(Pictured: Keith Le Goy)

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