May 23rd, 2024

Japan’s Sony reports surge in profit on strong sales of movies, games and music


By Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press on May 14, 2024.

FILE - A Sony logo is seen at the headquarters of Sony Corp. on May 10, 2022, in Tokyo. Profit at Sony surged 34% in the last quarter on strong sales of its video games, music and movies, the Japanese electronics and entertainment company said Tuesday, May 14, 2024.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

TOKYO (AP) – Profit at Sony surged 34% in the last quarter on strong sales of its video games, music and movies, the Japanese electronics and entertainment company said Tuesday.

Tokyo-based Sony Corp.’s quarterly profit totaled 189 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 141 billion yen the year before. Quarterly sales for the maker of the PlayStation game machines rose 14% to 3.48 trillion yen ($22 billion).

For the fiscal year through March, Sony recorded a 3% decline in profit at 970 billion yen ($6.2 billion) from more than 1 trillion yen in the previous fiscal year. Its annual sales climbed 19% to 13 trillion yen ($83 billion).

Sony’s operating profit was hurt by its financial services segment, which is being partially spun off next year. Sony’s chief financial officer and president, Hiroki Totoki, said the company is reshaping its strategy to focus on its more profitable entertainment operations.

“We hope to improve our profitability and build our resilience to an ever-changing business environment,” he said in an online presentation.

Totoki declined to comment on media reports that Sony was interested in purchasing Paramount Global but he confirmed that the company’s strategy “in general” was to build “synergies” that would leverage the intellectual property Sony has in games, music and movies.

In that report, first in the Wall Street Journal but also by The Associated Press, Sony Pictures and the private equity firm Apollo Global Management have expressed interest in buying Paramount Global for $26 billion.

Sony would be the majority shareholder and Apollo would have a minority stake, according to a person familiar with the deal, who requested anonymity because details of the offer have not been made public.

Sony’s movies, music, video games and imaging solutions units did well in the past fiscal year. Paid subscription growth at Crunchyroll, a U.S. video streaming service, added to Sony’s bottom line.

In music, the most successful releases for the latest quarter included SZA’s “SOS” and Travis Scott’s “Utopia,” while Beyonce’s “Cowboy Carter” recently reached No. 1 on Billboard and other nations’ rankings.

In films, the biggest hits over the past fiscal year were “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” which grossed $691 million in theater revenue worldwide, and “Napoleon” at $221 million.

The strikes in Hollywood last year hurt motion pictures earnings. But upcoming movies like “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” the latest in the popular series starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence playing police detectives, which is set for release in June, are expected to help a turnaround.

In February, Sony said it was cutting about 900 jobs in its PlayStation game division, or about 8% of its global workforce, citing changes in the industry that required restructuring.

But Sony set a positive tone and stressed online gaming was going strong, as well as console sales. PlayStation 5 sales totaled 20.8 million machines for the fiscal year through March. This year, Sony expects to sell 18 million PS5 consoles. Among the recent hit game software for the PS5 was “Helldivers 2,” a shooting game, according to Sony.

Like other Japanese companies, Sony has benefited from the weakening yen, which boosts the value of Japanese exporters’ overseas earnings when converted into yen. The U.S. dollar has been trading about 156 yen lately.

Sony projected that its profit for this fiscal year will fall to 925 billion yen ($5.9 billion) as sales edge down to 12.3 trillion yen ($79 billion).

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Yuri Kageyama is on X: https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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