New Sony CEO Supporter of Content11 Mar, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Activity on the next-generation disc format, Blu-ray, could quicken, following the appointment this week of Sony Corp. of America chairman and CEO Howard Stringer as chairman and CEO of parent Sony Corp.
Stringer is the Japanese conglomerate's first foreign top executive.
In a related move, Sony board member Ken Kutaragi was reportedly relieved of his board position and title of president of home electronics, and reassigned to head the game division. Kutaragi was instrumental in establishing Sony as a major player in the video game industry — a position he envisioned expanding with the soon-to-be released PlayStation Portable (PSP) device.
A longtime proponent of content, Stringer — former president of CBS News until joining Sony in 1997 — was reportedly instrumental in the recent purchase of MGM. In a speech last year, he likened the ongoing proliferation of broadband connectivity in homes as a “planet that orbit[s] around content,” according to the Associated Press.
Sony, together with Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, TDK, Thomson, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney, spearhead the Blu-ray Disc Association.
Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo, among others, head rival format HD DVD.
“Sony has obviously been a huge supporter of Blu-ray,” said a source familiar with the company. “I don't know if [Stringer's] appointment is going to change [that] stance at all. He has been very instrumental in Blu-ray and very, very involved in [its] activities up until now.”