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Sony Pictures Q2 Income Resilient

1 Nov, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Eliminating last year's sale of Spider-Man merchandise rights underscores webslinger's box office clout with retail revenue still to come

Sony Pictures Nov. 1 reported second-quarter (ended Sept. 30) operating income of $101 million, which was down nearly 64% from operating income of $278 million during the previous-year period.

Sony Pictures, which includes Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said most of the income decline was due to the $267.4 million sale last year of a participation interest in Spider-Man merchandising rights. Indeed, eliminating the merchandise rights sale and studio income actually increased substantially thanks to the webslinger's box office clout.

The theatrical performance of The Amazing Spider-Man, which generated $262 million at the domestic box office ($752 million globally), was partially offset by the underperformance of the Total Recall remake, which has generated $59 million at the domestic box office ($184 million globally) since its Aug. 3 release.

SPHE's top-selling home entertainment release year-to-date has been 21 Jump Street, which has sold about 1.8 million DVDs, according to The-Numbers.com. The Amazing Spider-Man releases Nov. 9 at retail, including on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and UltraViolet. The title is available now via electronic sellthrough only through Walmart's Vudu platform.

Higher U.S. television network programming revenues and lower production expenses for new network and made-for-cable programming partially offset the decrease in operating income.

Studio revenue topped $2 billion compared with $2.2 billion last year.

Meanwhile, Sony said a slowdown in sales of the PlayStation 3 consoles, PSP devices and related software contributed to a 15.8% decline in games revenue to $1.9 billion in the quarter. The tally was partially offset by sales increases in PlayStation Vita, which was launched last December.

Sales of Sony TVs, including the Bravia line, declined 31.5% to $1.9 billion, posting a narrowed operating loss of $130 million.

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