Sony Pictures, the studio behind recent hits like The Amazing Spider-Man and Men in Black 3, could have a new owner if CBS were to have their way. When talking to The Wall Street Journal, CBS CEO, Les Moonves said,
“We love our current portfolio, but as a content company, we would want to look at them,”
While Moonves (pictured above) was quick to point out that the company does not have any specific plans at the moment for Sony, it still is interesting that Sony Pictures was specifically brought up. Sony Pictures also has a television division with shows like Community, Seinfeld, Breaking Bad, and Wheel of Fortune. Sony Pictures is set to release the highly anticipated James Bond film, Skyfall on November 9th in the United States.
Whether or not Sony should sell its stake in Sony Pictures really depends on the company’s future outlook. Sony purchased Columbia Pictures Entertainment in 1989 and renamed the film studio to Sony Pictures by 1991. This move, though not necessary, was possible then when Sony was a cash rich company and on top of the electronic industry. Fast-forward to the digital revolution, thanks to Apple and the iPod and you can immediatly see why Sony is in a unique position, one that no other company has been able to replicate. While a company like Apple or Microsoft will have to reach out to studios to license their music for their respected digital stores, where Sony owns both Sony Pictures and Sony/BMG, one of the worlds largest music labels.
This places Sony in a unique position to leverage its electronic business and media assets in unique cross promotions (not just product placements, though those can’t hurt) and offerings where its competitors have to negotiate everyone of those deals. For Sony, its one less hurdle. Of course, Sony’s electronic division has been losing money for nearly the past decade, resulting the company to take drastic measures like selling off its Spider-Man merchandising rights to raise capital.
It seems that despite this unique position as iTunes with content would be meaningless, Sony has been unable to properly leverage Sony Pictures (how much more exciting would an Xperia tablet or the PS Vita be if owners had a discounted or free access to SP content?) in conjunction with their electronic division. This of course then begs the question,
Should Sony consider selling off Sony Pictures to help their troubled electronic division or are there benefits and synergy potentials with owning a film studio?