Sony Lays Off 20 in Marketing Team Reorganization

The Brothers Grimsby Still 2 - H 2016
Daniel Smith/Sony Pictures Entertainment

The Brothers Grimsby Still 2 - H 2016

Danielle Misher and Damon Wolf have been named co-heads of marketing for Screen Gems, TriStar and Acquisitions.

As it reorganizes its marketing staff with an eye toward boosting its international marketing efforts, Sony is laying off 20 staffers out of the 600 it employs worldwide.

Under the new structure, which Sony marketing and distribution president Josh Greenstein unveiled Wednesday in a memo to his staff, the studio is separating its consumer marketing team into two teams — one for consumer products and licensing, which will report to Greenstein, and one for marketing and promotions, reporting to domestic marketing president Dwight Caines and international marketing president Michael Horn — with the aim of generating more revenue from the studio’s intellectual property.

As part of the studio’s commitment to its specialty labels, Greenstein named Danielle Misher and Damon Wolf as co-heads of marketing for Screen Gems, TriStar and Acquisitions, both reporting to Caines.

He also said that Christine Birch, who recently joined the studio as executive vp, domestic creative marketing strategy, will work across advertising, publicity, digital and creative content to coordinate campaign strategies.

Sony has recently been going through a dry spell at the box office. Screen Gems’ Pride and Prejudice and Zombies scared up just $16 million worldwide, while the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Brothers Grimsby debuted March 11 to an opening weekend of only $3.3 million. However, the studio is betting on a change of fortune from such upcoming films as the new Ghostbusters (opening July 15), the animated The Angry Birds Movie (bowing May 20) and Inferno, the latest Dan Brown novel adaptation starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard (debuting Oct. 28).

Greenstein’s memo follows:

As you know, our industry continues to change in ways that impact virtually every aspect of our business. It’s an exciting time for all of us, but also a time that requires us to continually assess our operations and adjust accordingly.

We have already made a number of important strategic additions to support our international marketing efforts, bringing on Michael Horn in Marketing, Louise Chater for strategy and research, Steve Peace for media, and Paul Noble in creative advertising, as well as Joseph Liao as CMO in China, and Stephane Huard as MD in France. Today, we are announcing additional changes to strengthen our marketing organization in this competitive and rapidly evolving environment:

° We have realigned the Consumer Marketing team so that Consumer Products & Licensing and Marketing Partnerships & Promotions will each become a standalone global function. A strong, independent consumer products team, accountable for its own P&L, will help us better exploit the content we own by generating new revenues from our most popular IP. Consumer Products & Licensing will report to me and Marketing Partnerships & Promotions will dual report to Dwight Caines and Michael Horn.

°Our studio's multi-label strategy remains a key component to our future success. To strengthen our focus on the campaigns across our specialty labels, we have named Danielle Misher and Damon Wolf as Co-Heads of marketing for Screen Gems, TriStar, and Acquisitions. They will continue to report to Dwight Caines.

°We have also added a cross-functional position to the marketing team to better unify our domestic campaigns. As our newly hired EVP, Domestic Creative Marketing Strategy, Christine Birch will work across advertising, publicity, digital, and creative content, to apply our overall campaign strategies across all consumer touchpoints.

This restructure has also included the elimination of approximately 20 positions in Marketing & Distribution. Even such limited consolidations are hard, and were not undertaken lightly, as we appreciate the efforts and contributions of every employee. Those whose positions were impacted have already been notified.

Our studio has an exciting slate to look forward to, including Ghostbusters, Inferno, Magnificent Seven, The Dark Tower, Passengers, Spider-Man, the all-new animated Smurfs, The Equalizer 2, Resident Evil, Baby Driver, Trainspotting 2, Jumanji, Blade Runner, and many others, as well as all the great work being done on local productions and acquisitions in markets around the world.

We have a fantastic team in place to market and distribute these movies across the globe, and to be very successful in the years ahead.

Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication.