Sony Pictures Ups Q1 Home Entertainment Revenue 17%

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment July 31 reported first-quarter (ended June 30) revenue of $234 million, up 17.5% from revenue of $199 million during the previous-year period.

The studio attributed the increase to sales of new releases and catalog titles, including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The two titles have generated nearly $60 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc revenue this year, with Jumanji the fourth best-selling release of the year thus far, according to The-Numbers.com.

SPHE’s top-selling new releases in the quarter based on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital revenue (electronic sellthrough and VOD distributed on cable, broadcast, satellite and digital platforms, as well as hotel pay-per-view), included: Insidious: The Last Key, Golden Exits, All the Money in the World, Proud Mary, Outlander: Season 3, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Peter Rabbit, A Fantastic Woman, Loveless and Paul, Apostle of Christ.

Indeed, Peter Rabbit has generated revenue $11.1 million on sales of 607,000 combined DVD/Blu-ray discs. Outlander: Season 3 has generated revenue of $6.1 million on sales of 189,000 discs, while Insidious: The Last Key has generated $3.3 million on 174,000 discs.

Home entertainment releases in the current quarter (ending Sept. 30) include Finding Your Feet, The Leisure Seeker, Final Portrait, The Good Doctor: Season 1, The Blacklist: Season 5 and Superfly.

Television production revenue increased slightly to $267 million from $265 million last year. Theatrical revenue dropped nearly 27% to $95 million from $129 million last year.

Overall, Sony Pictures Entertainment narrowed its operating loss to $69.6 million on revenue of $1.6 billion. That compared to an operating loss of $85.4 million on revenue of $1.85 billion last year.

 

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.”

EIDR Appoints New Officers, Welcomes CAA to Board

EIDR (Entertainment ID Registry), the source of universal identifiers for digital distribution of movie and television assets, has appointed a slate of new officers to its board of directors and has welcomed back Eric Iverson of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to the board.

Bill Kotzman, partner product manager at Google, will succeed Kip Welch of Motion Picture Laboratories (MovieLabs) as chair and will be based in Los Angeles. Kotzman is joined on the EIDR board by new president Greg Geier of Sony Pictures Entertainment, new VP Scott Maddux of TiVo and new treasurer Jeff Stevens of Warner Bros.

“It’s a tremendous time to be taking on the role of Chairman of EIDR,” said Kotzman in a statement. “The necessity of systemic automation of the media and entertainment supply chain is impossible without properly identified content, and the non-proprietary EIDR ID model is the gold standard for making that happen. The new board officers reflect the breadth of EIDR members, with Greg and Jeff representing major film studios, Scott representing a metadata provider and content discovery company, and myself representing a major digital retailer, I bring my years of experience in driving new models of workflow efficiency for Google Play, and know first-hand that EIDR has been a catalyst for value creation at Google. It’s clear that the true ‘network effect’ of EIDR’s global ubiquity is now within reach, and as we plan for the next version of EIDR (v3.0) — I look forward to working with the board and executive director Will Kreth to execute on that vision.”

EIDR also has added Iverson, CIO of Creative Artists Agency, to the board. He previously served on the board in his capacity at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“I look forward to returning to EIDR to help them address the opportunities and challenges ahead,” said Iverson in a statement. “Around the industry, I get the chance to talk with senior executives daily about the potential for positive structural improvements in M&E. The respect for what EIDR has created, at nearly 2 million unique content IDs, and more than 3 million alternate IDs, is universal. EIDR is clearly becoming an important part of the data ecosystem. Obviously, the performance of the films and television shows in which our clients participate is significant, and we look forward to helping add value to EIDR’s emergence as a better way to measure that performance on digital distribution platforms.”

“EIDR’s mission is more important than ever as the industry deals with fragmentation in every corner of the ecosystem — from content creation to distribution to consumption,” said Maddux in a statement. “TiVo co-founded EIDR alongside MovieLabs and we remain deeply committed to the development of industry-standard ID solutions.”

“We’re extremely fortunate in three ways; with Bill taking on the role of Chairman, our slate of new board officers, and CAA not only joining us, but bringing Eric back into the fold,” said Will Kreth, executive director of EIDR, in a statement. “We have a collective powerhouse of a team, and I’m delighted to be working with them to both innovate and bring positive changes to the organization.”

EIDR is a universal identifier system for movie and television assets. EIDR provides globally unique identifiers for the entire range of audiovisual object types that are relevant to entertainment commerce.

New Role for Man Jit Singh? Sony Pictures Eyes India in Mid-Term Growth Report

NEWS ANALYSIS — Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to increase its exposure and economic footprint in India over the next three years, beginning in March 2019, according to a May 22 release from new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.

With a companywide strategy aimed at “getting closer to people,” Sony Pictures contends expanding its television and movie footprint in India will also get closer to people’s money by “enhanc[ing] profitability.”

The studio cited the recent box office success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in its ongoing investment in movie scripts and revitalization of its film library.

With SPE currently operating 31 TV channels in India, the media company hopes increase consumer exposure following its acquisition last year of TEN Sports.

“[India] is expected to be the world’s most populous by 2024, and this business is set to be a major asset to [Sony] going forward,” the company said in a statement.

No mention whether Man Jit Singh will factor in the India expansion. Singh recently exited the top position at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment after assuming the position in 2014 when David Bishop’s contract was not renewed.

Singh had been CEO of Multi Screen Media Ltd., which spearheaded Sony Pictures’ TV networks buildup in India.

Report: Sony Pictures Streamlining Home Entertainment Operations

Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to fold the home entertainment unit – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment – into its television unit as it restructures internal operations to cut operating costs.

Downsizing home entertainment comes following the February appointment of television executive Keith Le Goy to oversee SPHE, replacing Man Jit Singh, according to Variety, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

The move – which will affect an unknown number of positions – is part of SPE chairman Tony Vinciquerra’s cost-cutting across the company. Senior executives Andy Kaplan (international channels) and Sheraton Kalouria (marketing) recently departed SPE.

Crackle, SPE’s ad-supported streaming video service, let go 12 staffers – mostly in sales.

In a statement to Variety, Sony declined to address specific cuts, saying Vinciquerrahas “made no secret” the need to strengthen the studio’s overall performance across all business units.

“We have made great strides in our turnaround efforts to date – especially on the film side this last year, with our most profitable slate in a decade – and we are continuing to build on those gains,” SPE said.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment reported revenue of $290 million in its most-recent fiscal period, which was up nearly 6% from revenue of $274 million during the previous-year period.

Lone home entertainment release in the quarter – box office hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle– was released just 11 days before the end of the fiscal period.

Top-selling discs in the quarter included Spider-Man: Homecoming, which generated $1.7 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc unit sales, according to The-Numbers.com. The title has generated $50 million in disc sales since its Oct. 17, 2017 retail release.