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Sony Pictures merges TV divisions in major step to secure its digital future

Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment is making significant changes to its television operations, the company told staff Wednesday.
(Damian Dovarganes / APsociated Press)

Sony Pictures Entertainment is streamlining its television business in a broader restructuring to adapt to the changing entertainment industry as new TV head Mike Hopkins puts his stamp on the company.

The studio is merging its television networks, home entertainment and distribution businesses under one executive, Hopkins told staff Wednesday in an email obtained by The Times.

Those businesses have traditionally been run separately — a structure that insiders said has become antiquated as the rise of digital media and streaming blurs the lines between home entertainment and TV networks.

The Culver City-based studio is also consolidating some other TV business operations and creating a direct-to-consumer unit that includes streaming services such as U.S.-based Crackle and Japanese animation outlet Animax.

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The corporate shuffle is expected to result in a small number of job cuts, though studio representatives would not specify how many.

“I understand that these changes, following the restructuring earlier this year, will be a significant adjustment for many of you,” Hopkins said in an email to staff. “We’ve had to make some difficult decisions but they were important moves as we reorient our business to align with the realities of today’s marketplace.”

Sony Pictures Chairman Tony Vinciquerra telegraphed the changes in February, when the Japanese-owned company removed three high-level executives and enacted sweeping changes to its home entertainment and television businesses.

The ongoing restructuring is part of Vinciquerra’s plan to adapt the studio to a fast-changing industry as home entertainment revenues shrink and consumers switch to streaming and other online viewing options. Home entertainment President Man Jit Singh, worldwide networks head Andy Kaplan and television marketing President Sheraton Kalouria left the company in the February shake-up.

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The ousters left Keith Le Goy in charge of Sony’s home entertainment and television distribution businesses. He will now also oversee management of the company’s international networks, with the exception of Sony’s significant operations in India, which still report to Hopkins.

Hopkins was named chairman of Sony Pictures Television in October after running the streaming video service Hulu.

Earlier this year, the studio’s Tokyo-based parent company Sony Corp. named Kenichiro Yoshida to succeed Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, who had led the electronics giant for six years.

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

@rfaughnder


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