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Sony’s annual results were buoyed by stellar early sales for its PlayStation 5 games console and brisk business for its music unit. The company’s film division saw its full-year profit rise, but earnings fell in the final quarter of the fiscal year ended in March compared to the same period a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant reported that net income for fiscal year 2020 grew 101 percent to $10.7 billion (1.17 trillion yen) with operating income growing 15 percent to $8.9 billion (971.9 billion yen). Sony’s total sales increased 9 percent to $82.5 billion (9 trillion yen).
Sony’s standout entertainment unit for the fiscal year was Games & Network Services, which includes the PlayStation Plus subscriber network. The company sold 3.3 million PS5 consoles in the fourth quarter which ended in March, to give a running total of 7.8 million units sold for the fiscal year. Despite component shortages hampering production and delivery, the PS5 was selling at a faster pace than the Ps4.
For fiscal 2020, G&NS saw sales climb to $24.4 billion (2,656 billion yen), up 103.8 percent. In the fourth quarter, revenue grew 34 percent to $6 billion (660.3 billion yen), with operating income at $302 million (33 billion yen) with sales turbocharged by the launch of the PS5 and related peripherals and accessories as well as a boost to PlayStation Plus subscriber numbers the new hardware brought in.
Sony’s pictures unit, which includes film and television, saw sales dive 253 percent in fiscal 2020 to $6.94 billion (758.8. billion yen) as the pandemic put paid to theatrical releases of its films, and stymied production at its lucrative television studios. Despite the drag of COVID-19, the company reported savings in marketing and promotion and higher home entertainment sales, allowing the film unit to grow operating income from $628 million to $762 million for the year.
In the fourth quarter ending in March, the film unit saw sales drop 129 percent to $1.89 billion as the company’s theatrical business missed out on the lucrative holiday season due to lockdowns the world over. Sony’s fourth-quarter film profit fell from $208 million to $21 million.
For the just-started new fiscal year, Sony forecast a film unit revenue gain of 50 percent amid a reopening of cinemas and a rebound in TV licensing, with film profits expected to rise 3 percent.
The music division saw sales grow 90 percent to $8.63 billion (939.9 billion yen) for fiscal 2020 with operating income hitting an impressive $1.73 billion (188.1 billion yen). In the fourth quarter, the music unit posted a 56 percent uplift in revenue, reaching $2.45 billion (267.4 billion yen).
The music segment benefitted from an increase in streaming revenues, asset sales as well as the roaring success of Demon Slayer, the anime movie which became Japan’s biggest ever box office hit. Aniplex, the production company behind Demon Slayer, is an anime and music division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan.
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