Sony Corp is reporting its full year 2018 earnings from Tokyo this morning with a 30% hike in profits at the Pictures division to $489M. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, the electronics and entertainment giant overall increased operating income by 22% to $8B.
Sony Pictures Entertainment did see a 3% year-on-year decrease in sales which hit $8.8B. The company says that’s owing to lower theatrical and television sales worldwide when compared to 2017 which had included Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and Spider-Man: Homecoming. The decrease in sales for TV productions was due to lower licensing revenues for various U.S. series and catalog programs.
However, improved film profitability helped boost income. TV licensing and home entertainment sales of higher margin titles like Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and Peter Rabbit, and lower theatrical marketing expenses, were cited by Sony as drivers. Last year’s Venom was a sizable hit, landing in Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament. Hotel Transylvania 3 and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse were among 2018’s other major releases.
The forecast for fiscal 2019 is up in the Pictures segment to $9.7B for sales and $582M in profits. Coming later this year Sony has such films as Men In Black: International, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, The Angry Birds Movie 2, Charlie’s Angels and the Jumanji sequel in December.
In the Games & Network Services division, sales were up 19% thanks to software and an increase in subscribers for PlayStationPlus. PS4 hardware sales were down, however. Profit jumped to $2.79B (311.1B yen). Hardware sales are expected to be essentially flat in the coming year, with software sales increasing. However, profits should be down given development expenses for the next generation console.
Overall Sony forecasts operating income will drop 9% in 2019 to 810B yen ($7.25B). That’s based in part on the slowdown in Games.