Sony Pictures Cuts Staff in Marketing, Distribution

Sony Pictures Entertainment is implementing staff cuts in marketing and distribution of its movies as it attempts streamline internal operations to better reflect changes in theatrical and consumer consumption of entertainment.

In a July 11 staff email, first reported by Variety, Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution, said that the unnamed cuts (reportedly up to 25 employees) affected research and strategy, publicity, media, operations, consumer and distribution.

“The reorganization will help our department better reflect the realities of how movies are released today, and build the connective tissue needed internally and externally to be effective and efficient,” Greenstein wrote.

Specifically, SPE is combining trailer finishing, TV finishing, print advertising, legal clearances and ratings, and exhibitor relations under client services in its newly established “global digital centers” (GDC) marketing department, led by Ann-Elizabeth Crotty.

Global media planning GDC, led by Stefanie Napoli, will spearhead media and digital buying dollars, in addition to overseeing a newly planned “digital media performance buying team.”

Jamie Kramer leads a “business intelligence group” tasked with employing digital tools, data science, campaign and audience insights for movie campaigns.

Bryan Wessel directs an “audience and data-strategy group,” intended to act upon audience data.

“With these shifts and our emphasis towards digital, we are streamlining some of our more traditional marketing operations and consolidating various international and domestic groups into single global teams,” said Greenstein.

“These moves have resulted in the elimination of positions in our research and strategy, publicity, media, operations, consumer, and distribution groups. While many of these changes and decisions have been difficult, I’m confident that these steps will help us achieve our goals to become a stronger and more nimble organization.”

‘Downsizing’ at UltraViolet?

As studio home entertainment divisions trumpet the Disney-spawned and re-jiggered Movies Anywhere, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate remain on the sidelines.

Paramount recently announced the digital (March 6) and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc (March 20) street dates for the comedy Downsizing, starring Oscar-winners Matt Damon and director Alexander Payne.

Notable to the packaged-media release: cloud-based access via UltraViolet — not Movies Anywhere. UV users are directed to to enter the redemption code for UV access, in addition to iTunes for Digital Copy.

Movies Anywhere touted nearly 80 million movies in user accounts earlier this year — about half the 165 million UltraViolet titles in 2015, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The platform had more than 30 million registered accounts in July 2017.

There’s no doubt a unified Movies Anywhere platform with one-click access to cloud-based digital movie acquisitions is a good thing. UltraViolet attempted to meld physical media with the cloud — a strategy that required burdensome input.

It would be a shame if all that effort was lost in the cloud.

‘Downsizing’ Coming to Disc, Digital March 20

Paramount Home Media Distribution will release director Alexander Payne’s Downsizing Digital HD, Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 20.

The futuristic comedy stars Matt Damon as Paul Safranek, who with his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to ditch their stressed-out lives in favor of shrinking down in size and moving to a luxurious miniature community, Leisureland.

Downsizing, which earned $24.4 million in U.S. theaters also stars Christoph Waltz and Hong Chau, the latter in a breakthrough performance that earned her Golden Globe and SAG nominations.

The Downsizing 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc Combo Packs include nearly an hour of bonus content, including six behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of the film, the production design, and the visual effects, among others.

The Downsizing Blu-ray Disc is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.  The DVD in the Combo Pack is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack includes the Blu-ray Disc as well as an Ultra HD Disc presented in 4K Ultra HD and English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, French – Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, French – Parisian 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese – Brazilian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish – Castilian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish – Latin American 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description with English, English SDH, Arabic, Bahasa – Malaysian, Cantonese, Simplified Chinese, Mandarin, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French – Canadian, French – Parisian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese – Brazilian, Portuguese – European, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish – Castilian, Spanish – Latin American, Swedish, Thai and Turkish subtitles. The Combo Pack also includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film.