Sony Corp. said Wednesday that strong demand for its upcoming video game console PlayStation 5 helped offset continued revenue and profit declines at its Hollywood studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The Japan-based conglomerate said operating income rose 13.9 percent to $3 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, as revenue for the period remained flat at $20.2 billion. Housebound consumers gravitated toward gaming during the pandemic as PlayStation 4 juiced the company’s revenue during the quarter by $4.9 billion.
Sony, which is expected to release it new PlayStation 5 console next month, said it expects to sell 7.6 million units or more in the year through March.
The company raised its annual profit forecast by 13 percent to $6.7 billion, even though the firm’s entertainment division has gotten squeezed by the pandemic. Like other Hollywood studios, Sony Pictures delayed its entire slate of films this year into 2021.
The studio pushed Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” from July 2020 to March 5, 2021, as well as vampire superhero film “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto from July to March 19, 2021.
The company said operating earnings for the quarter fell 18.3 percent to $299 million as revenue sank 25 percent to $615 million.
Sony cited “significant decrease in theatrical revenues due to theater closings, lower advertising revenues for media networks, and lower revenues from fewer deliveries of TV shows due to production shutdowns” for the poor results.
The weakened results at Sony Pictures come as the studio is undergoing a major restructuring. The company said Tuesday that it would be merging its domestic film and TV marketing divisions under one roof. As a result, roughly 35 Sony Pictures staffers are expected to be laid off as part of the plan.
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