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Pictures Among Few Bright Spots in Sony Financials

14 May, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

‘Breaking Bad’ disc, SVOD sales and TV productions offset reduced release slate

Sony Pictures May 14 reported fourth-quarter (ended March 31) operating income of $402 million, up 112% from operating income of $190 million during the prior-year period.

The film unit, which includes Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, saw studio revenue increase 12.8% to $1.3 billion. TV production revenue increased more than 82% to $952 million, while media networks revenue increased 6% to $361 million.

For the fiscal year, Sony Pictures increased operating income 8% to $501 million on revenue of $8 billion, which was up 13.2% from last year.

Meanwhile, Sony Computer Entertainment reported a fiscal-year operating loss of $78 million, much of it due to costs associated with the launch of PlayStation 4. Sony is projecting 17 million PS4 unit sales in fiscal 2015.

Sony said the studio revenue increase was due to favorable impact of the depreciation of the yen against the U.S. dollar. Indeed, Sony said studio revenue for the 2014 fiscal year declined significantly compared with fiscal 2013, which included theatrical successes Skyfall, The Amazing Spider-Man and Men in Black 3, in addition to a greater number of home entertainment releases.

In fiscal 2014, increased licensing revenue from “Wheel of Fortune,” as well as disc and subscription streaming revenue from “Breaking Bad,” offset in part underperforming theatrical releases White House Down and After Earth, among others.

The fourth-quarter results do not include The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which was released theatrically May 2.

The well-documented decline in theatrical performances resulted in Sony restructuring divisions within the studio, including transferring Man Jit Singh from the company’s Indian TV operations to replace longtime home entertainment chief David Bishop.

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