Sony Pictures saw its fiscal third-quarter profit jump to $1.3 billion (149.4 billion yen) as the smash international success of Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home turbo-charged the studio’s theatrical film business. With gross ticket sales of $1.7 billion, the latest Spider-Man installment is Sony’s most successful film of all time.
Sony Corp. reported the film unit’s October-to-December results Wednesday from its headquarters in central Tokyo. The pictures unit’s earnings represent a strong 129 percent increase from its profit of $177 million (20.3 billion yen) in the same period in 2020. Revenue at Sony Pictures soared 270 percent to $4 billion (461.2 billion yen) from $1.67 billion (191.2 billion yen) during the quarter last year.
Sony Pictures said it benefited from higher television sales thanks to the licensing of Seinfeld to Netflix, a deal reportedly worth north of $500 million. An uptick in revenue at the media networks division also resulted from Sony’s acquisition of anime streamer Crunchyroll last year.
Uncharacteristically for the Japanese corporate giant, the pictures unit was the largest contributor of net profit in the latest quarter.
Sony’s games and network services division saw profit climb 12 percent year-on-year to $810 million (92.9 billion yen), up from $704 million (80.8 billion yen). Music sector profits slipped 4 percent from $515 million (59.1 billion yen) to $480 million (55.1 billion) in the latest quarter, although Adele’s most recent album, 30, was an earnings bright stop, Sony said.
At the group level, Sony Corp’s net profits climbed 20 percent in the fiscal third quarter, reaching $4 billion (461 billion yen). Sales climbed to 26.4 billion (3.03 trillion yen), up 13 percent compared to the equivalent period in 2020.
The Japanese conglomerate handedly beat the earnings estimates from most analysts, who had forecast a double-digit profit decline for the quarter.
Sony Group also revised its full-year operating forecast on Wednesday, saying that it expects a rise of 26 percent to $10.5 billion (1.2 trillion yen). Previously the company had forecast a 9 percent, or 1 trillion yen, increase in operating profit. Sony also said it is expecting strong full-year results from the pictures division, increasing its forecast by 97 percent to $1.7 billion.
Sony shares have taken a battering lately as investors question the company’s future competitiveness in gaming in the wake of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Analysts also have raised concerns about how global supply-chain issues and electronic components shortages will impact Sony’s production of devises in the year ahead.
Sony highlighted its recent big-ticket investments — the $500 million stake it took in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s upcoming Japan-based production facility; and the $3.6 billion acquisition of U.S. game developer Bungie — as early steps in an ongoing acquisitions strategy to protect its position and bolster competitiveness.