Sony DADC Eyeing U.K. Manufacturing Facility Closure

Citing ongoing global shifts in consumer demand for packaged media, disc replication company Sony DADC is considering shuttering its manufacturing/distribution facility in Enfield.

A company spokesperson confirmed the move, saying the possible closure was in the “proposal stage” and that management was consulting with affected employees and how it could mitigate the impact of possible layoffs.

Sony DADC facility in Enfield, U.K.

“Sony DADC will continue to remain a strong and reliable end-to-end services provider and partner for the home entertainment industry and beyond by utilizing the combination of its existing operations network in Austria, Czech Republic and Spain, plus partnerships with other providers,” Craig Carter, director PMO and transition management, Sony DADC, said in an email.

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Sony DADC operates 17 manufacturing facilities worldwide, including two units in the United States: Terre Haute, Ind., and Bolingbrook, Ill.

The company in January at CES in Las Vegas, showcased continued business ventures into video games with a line of table-top micro arcade machines under license with Bandai Namco Entertainment Products.

Talk of Replication Backlog Recalls Good Ol’ Days

I’m hearing rumblings from various quarters about a replication backlog on discs.

Whether it’s because of the enormous demands of the game business or just an unrecognized and continued demand for physical media during the holidays, it reminds me of the glory days of disc, when replicators could not keep up with orders.

More than one industry insider, including one from a major studio, has noted that street dates are being pushed back as major replicator Technicolor is backlogged.

The Twitter-ing is starting to show, as HighDefDiscNews.com wondered what was up with preorders for Batman: The Complete Animated Series on Blu-ray, which was due out Oct. 30 but Amazon had listed as no longer available.

“Pressing delay. They can’t fill orders by that date, so it’s getting bumped. This plant issue is starting to cause a pile-up,” came the reply on Twitter from Troy Anderson of the Andersonvision.com blog. “Right now, it seems like everyone is just trying to meet retail demands. Black Friday should be a lovely mess this year.”

Let me know if you’ve heard anything at sprange@mediaplaynews.com.

Technicolor Sells Patent Licensing Unit, Remains Bullish on Disc Replication

Seeking to streamline operating costs and reduce debt, Technicolor has sold its patent licensing division to InterDigital, a U.S.-based wireless R&D company, in a deal that value the unit at $475 million.

Paris-based Technicolor said InterDigital paid $150 million up front and will pay it 42.5% of future licensing revenue generated in consumer electronics, including deals with Sony Electronics.

Technicolor will maintain its Research & Innovation organization for its operating businesses, while engaging in funded research with InterDigital.

InterDigital will pay Technicolor $5 million annually, while investing an additional $5 million annually in internal R&D projects that are aligned with the priorities of the research cooperation.

“This agreement will allow us to fully focus on our core operating businesses and includes a collaborative research program built up on the strength of our research and innovation teams,” CEO Feederic Rose said in a statement.

Notably left off the auction block: disc replication.

Since acquiring Cinram Corp. in late 2015 and securing an outsourcing agreement with Sony DADC in North America and Australia set to begin in the second quarter, Technicolor has become the world’s largest replicator of DVD and Blu-ray Disc units.

A distinction some observers might liken to dominating newspaper publishing.

Disc replication remains part of Technicolor’s Entertainment Services division, which recorded flat fiscal 2017 pre-tax earnings at €230 million ($283 million), with revenue gains seen in the second half production services of last year due to better resource allocation.

The company said disc replication services would continue to maximize cash generation while continuing to develop further “opportunities.”

Indeed, Technicolor said it shipped a record 1.6 billion discs in 2017.

“People want to own their favorite movies, the classics, and the blockbusters,” Rose told Forbes.com. That’s what they put under the tree. We were the only ones who saw the growth left in this business.”