Sony profits from games, film units
'Glee,' 'Iron Man 2' help music results in latest financialsNEW YORK -- Sony Corp. swung to a profit in the latest quarter and raised its full-year earnings forecast amid profit gains in its film and music units, as well as stronger demand for its PlayStation 3 video game consoles.
Despite a stronger yen, the Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment giant on Thursday reported a profit of 25.7 billion yen — or $294 million at current exchange rates — for the April-June quarter, which is its fiscal first quarter. That compared with a 37.1 billion yen loss a year earlier. Revenue grew 3.8% to 1.66 trillion yen.
The conglomerate's film division posted a 22% quarterly revenue decline, but still managed to boost its profit by 58%.
Sony lauded the strong performance of "Karate Kid," but said it couldn't quite compete with year-ago megahits like "Angels & Demons" and "Terminator Salvation." Home entertainment revenue was also lower. But lower marketing costs due to fewer theatrical releases and higher TV revenue thanks to improved results at international channels buoyed the bottom line.
"Karate Kid" has yet to open in many major territories outside the U.S., meaning it will also be a financial contributor beyond the fiscal first quarter.
Asked about how sustainable 3D film momentum is amid concerns that 3D could turn out to be a fad, a top Sony executive in a conference call expressed confidence. "We continue to believe that quality 3D films will persevere," both at the boxoffice and on Sony's Blu-ray DVD format, said Rob Wiesenthal, executive vp and CFO of Sony Corp. of America.
Music unit revenue rose 1% thanks to popular titles such as AC/DC's soundtrack to blockbuster "Iron Man 2" and music from Fox hit TV show "Glee." Music operating profit was up 39% as cost reduction efforts and lower marketing expenses buoyed the bottom line.
In the gaming segment, PlayStation 3 sales more than doubled to 2.4 million units in the latest quarter. The networked products & services unit that the gaming operation is part of reported a 32% revenue gain and narrowed its loss to $43 million.
Sony raised its forecast for the full fiscal year through March, now forecasting a profit of 60 billion yen, up from its previous guidance of 50 billion yen. The company kept its revenue forecast unchanged at 7.6 trillion yen.