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Sony Loses $1 Billion in Fiscal Year

14 May, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

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Sony Corp. reported a loss of roughly $1 billion for the 2008 fiscal year (ended March 31), and a loss of nearly $1.75 billion for the fourth quarter. The company posted profit of more than $300 million in the prior-year fourth quarter.

The Japan-based company saw huge drops in both electronics and gaming revenue (down 17% and 18%, respectively) for the year, while the movie segment posted profit of $305 million but a drop in home entertainment revenue.

“Motion pictures revenue decreased primarily due to lower home entertainment revenue of new release and catalog product,” a Sony release stated. “This decrease was due to an accelerated contraction in the market, brought on principally by the global economic downturn, as well as fewer films being sold into the home entertainment market.”

Motion picture profit dropped 50% from the year before and sales fell 16.4%, partially offset by higher theatrical revenue driven by hits including Hancock, Quantum of Solace and Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

Sony sold more than 10 million PlayStation 3s during the fiscal year, but decreased sales and increased competition from Nintendo and Microsoft helped push Sony’s gaming unit to a more than $611 million annual operating loss.

In electronics, Sony reported selling 2.2 million non-PS3 Blu-ray Disc players for the fiscal year, along with about 500,000 Blu-ray recorders. For fiscal 2009, the company expects to sell more than 3.5 million standalone Blu-ray players. In fiscal 2008 the company reported selling nearly 10 million DVD players, but expects that to drop to closer to 9 million in 2009, as more people transition to Blu-ray.

To weather the global economic downturn, Sony has announced it is cutting its worldwide plants by 10% by the end of the year, and is on track to eliminate 8,000 jobs by January.

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