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Sony Pictures Revenue Drops 25%

Culver City-based Sony Pictures saw revenue tumble 25% for fiscal 2020 as the pandemic took a toll on theatrical releases.

Sony Entertainment Corp. reported April 28 that Sony Pictures, which encompasses the company’s film and television operations, brought in $6.9 billion in for the fiscal year ending March 31, down from $9.3 billion in fiscal 2019.

Sony Pictures was hit hard in the fourth quarter of 2020, with revenues falling nearly 40% year over year. The unit made $1.84 billion in the period, compared to $3 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

Sony attributed low sales for its motion pictures unit to Covid-19 related movie theater closures. The drop was “partially offset” by higher home entertainment sales, the company said.

Sony Pictures managed to keep operating income up for the year, jumping to nearly $740 million in 2020 from $625.8 million in 2019. Sony credited lower marketing costs due to the lack of theatrical releases for its films.

“Theatrical releases remain important to Sony, but taking into account the crowded schedule of releases post-theater reopening, we will be flexible when selecting the channel through which we will sell our product depending on the content, scale and timing of the work so as to maximize the long-term value of each work,” the company said in its earnings presentation.

Sony expects sales for its motion picture segment to “significantly increase” in 2021 as movie theaters begin to reopen.

In April, Sony made deals with streaming and entertainment giants Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. which gives them access to Sony releases from 2022 to 2026. The Los Angeles Times reported that the deals are worth a combined $3 billion.

Overall, Sony saw revenues increase 9%, up to $82.8 billion from $76 billion in 2019. Diluted earnings per share doubled, from $4.25 in 2019 to $8.63 in 2020. Earnings per share beat Wall Street analysts expectations by $0.44, according to Yahoo Finance.

The company’s revenues were supported by the successful release of PlayStation 5, which has sold 7.8 million consoles since its November 2020 release.


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