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Sony Pictures appoints Man Jit Singh as new home entertainment head

Man Jit Singh has been tapped by Sony Pictures Entertainment to head its home entertainment division, replacing longtime chief David Bishop, whose contract was not renewed by the studio.

Singh, whose appointment as president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is effective Monday, was previously chief executive of Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd., the operating company that manages Sony Pictures Television's TV networks in India.

The move is the latest in a handful of executive changes made at the film and television studio -- a shakeup that has occurred after a poor stretch at the box office, punctuated by recent high-profile disappointments "White House Down" and "After Earth."

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Bishop had led Sony Pictures' home entertainment division since 2006, steering the group through a rough stretch as consumers' viewing habits changed radically with the rise of video-on-demand services.

The studio, owned by Tokyo-based electronics giant Sony Corp., said in December that it would not renew Bishop's contract, which expires in March.

Singh had overseen Sony Pictures Television's networks business in India since 2009. He was previously chairman of the board of directors of Multi Screen Media.

“As the ways in which consumers experience our content continue to change and multiply, our organization and its strategy for delivering content must evolve to meet the demands of the market," Singh said in a statement. "I look forward to building on the foundation of innovation and operational discipline at [Sony Pictures Home Entertainment] to position this business for future growth."

Last year was a tough one for Sony Pictures, which is headed by Chairman Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal. In addition to the disappointing performance of some of its films, Sony Pictures was hammered throughout 2013 by activist shareholder Daniel Loeb, whose hedge fund Third Point owns about 7% of Sony.

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In his call for Sony to make an initial public offering of up to 20% of its entertainment arm, Loeb criticized the group -- which includes the studio, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Sony Music Entertainment -- for being "poorly managed."

Sony rejected Loeb's proposal in August but said at an investors conference in November that it was implementing $250 million in budget cuts. The company also hired consultancy Bain & Co. to identify at least $100 million more that could be saved.

Sony Pictures said in a statement that Singh would "continue the studio’s focus on reducing overhead costs."

“Man Jit is a savvy global executive with a long track record of success at Sony Pictures, having built our Indian TV channels into high-performance, high-margin businesses," said Lynton, who also heads Sony's entertainment arm. "I am confident in his vision for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and his ability to provide strong leadership for the division as the marketplace continues to evolve."

Sony Pictures, which includes Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics and other entities, has shaken up its executive ranks in recent months. In September, the company fired Marc Weinstock, then its head of domestic and international marketing. Steve Elzer, senior vice president of media relations, was let go in December.

The studio also has brought on two key executives. In August, Sony partnered with former Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chairman Tom Rothman to restart its TriStar Productions banner. And in December, the studio named “Moneyball” and “Captain Phillips” producer Michael De Luca head of production for its Columbia Pictures unit.

ALSO:

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Sony home entertainment head David Bishop leaving in March 2014

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