Sony Merges Film and TV Marketing Under One Roof, Layoffs Planned

Paul Noble, Danielle Misher and Lexine Wong
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

From left: Paul Noble, Danielle Misher and Lexine Wong

The studio becomes the first to consolidate the once-disparate divisions, offering a testament to the blurring of the line between theatrical and streaming.

In a major restructuring, Sony Pictures Entertainment is merging its domestic film and TV marketing divisions under one umbrella. As a result, Sony becomes the first major studio to consolidate the once-disparate divisions, offering a testament to the blurring of the line between theatrical and streaming.

A source says 35 staffers will receive pink slips as a result of the move, marking the studio's first significant round of layoffs during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Sony has until now managed to buck the mass layoffs trend that has hit other studios like Disney and Warner Bros. The 35 staffers affected by today's move pales in comparison to the 28,000 let go by Disney in September alone (Disney's theme park business in the U.S. has been crippled by COVID-19). As part of the shake-up, co-president of global marketing Andre Caraco, who had worked at Sony Pictures for more than three decades, is stepping down.

Under the new structure, the centralized marketing group will be run by global theatrical marketing co-heads Paul Noble and Danielle Misher alongside Lexine Wong, who is head of global multichannel distribution marketing. The trio will report jointly to motion picture group president Josh Greenstein and Keith Le Goy, president of networks and distribution at Sony Pictures Television. Other top distribution executives who will report dually to Greenstein and Le Goy include Flory Bramnick, Jason Spivak, Paul Littmann, Adrian Smith, Jamie Stevens and Jeffrey Godsick.

Greenstein and Le Goy informed their employees of the restructuring in an email that went out this afternoon. The pair wrote that the merging "will allow for better coordination and enable us to apply the collective expertise of our teams across all platforms throughout each title’s lifecycle, and to respond cohesively to new and emerging release patterns."

The studio, which already had folded its home entertainment marketing staff into the film marketing team years ago, had considered the new structure before COVID rocked Hollywood. But once the brunt of the pandemic became undeniable, scuttling the release plans of movies as theaters closed around the world and production dried up, Sony accelerated the restructuring.

The following is the memo sent to staff:

Dear Colleagues:

We want to inform you of some important structural changes taking place in our marketing and distribution operations in Motion Pictures and Television. Moving forward, we will be combining our theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution marketing teams in the U.S. and adopting a regional model for both businesses internationally. This will allow for better coordination and enable us to apply the collective expertise of our teams across all platforms throughout each title’s lifecycle, and to respond cohesively to new and emerging release patterns.

The changes represent an important step in further integrating and streamlining our businesses across the studio and will strengthen our marketing and distribution capabilities in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.

In the U.S., our new centralized marketing group will be run by Paul Noble and Danielle Misher, Co-Heads of Global Theatrical Marketing, along with Lexine Wong, Head of Global Multichannel Distribution Marketing. Paul, Danielle and Lexine will now have a dual report to both of us and will handle marketing across all production labels.

Internationally, we will be combining our film marketing and distribution teams into the regional model that currently exists in our television distribution and networks business. Regional heads, who will be named shortly for Western Europe, CEEMA (Central, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa), Latin America and Asia Pacific will report to both Steven O’Dell, President International Distribution for MPG, and Mike Wald, EVP International Distribution and Networks. Country leaders in those territories will report into the respective regional head. Over the next several months, Mike and Steven will partner with the regional leaders to determine the most effective structure for their region. Steven and Mike will have a dual report to both of us.

The following leaders will also now have a dual report to both of us:
Flory Bramnick, Executive Vice President, Distribution for North America Television & Ad Sales
Jason Spivak, Executive Vice President, Distribution for North America Television & Home Entertainment
Paul Littmann, Executive Vice President, Distribution for Global
Adrian Smith, President, Domestic Distribution for Theatrical
Jamie Stevens, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Consumer Products
Jeffrey Godsick, Executive Vice President, Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships (across all windows)

Our own reporting lines will not change, but we will be working very closely together on these matters.

The company has considered for some time combining these operations to create better efficiencies and tighter collaboration among our teams. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our industry – particularly in how it has upended distribution and the ways in which audiences are consuming content – accelerated the efforts in implementing this restructure. Ultimately, these changes will better position us as a studio for when we come out of this pandemic.

With the consolidation, unfortunately some positions in the U.S. marketing and distribution teams have been eliminated. Those employees impacted have been notified and we sincerely thank them for their many excellent contributions.

We look forward to working with our teams and all of you over the coming days as we put these changes into action.

Josh and Keith