Few large film and / or entertainment studios do not have their own streaming platform. And those who didn’t have it were bought or assimilated by others who did. MGM is now owned by Amazon, Warner Bros. Discovery merged into one giant, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, Paramount is owned by ViacomCBS, and Universal Pictures is controlled by Comcast. In the midst of this continuous dance, Sony is still independent and without a great platform. Or if.
Sony Pictures, the film subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate, has done business with Disney thanks to its rights to the Spider-man character, has agreements with Netflix so that its films will hit theaters first on the red platform. It also co-produces many of the blockbusters from other studios and has distributed its films to the highest bidder in the worst situation of the pandemic, as it did with greyhound, the film with Tom Hanks, on Apple TV +. Oh, and I almost forgot, Sony also participated as a studio The boysthe famous Amazon series.
And, as if that weren’t enough, in this context of streaming wars in which it participates from the outside, it also has a platform. Last year Sony has announced the purchase of Crunchyrollleading platform in anime, joining its offer with Funimation, a platform that had already acquired similar content a few years ago.
Watching the “streaming wars” from the anime
The purchase price of the transaction was estimated by Sony at $ 1.175 million from AT&T, which had invested in it years earlier and owned most of its shares.
The anime platform has 100 million free members and 5 million paid subscribers. While Sony’s entry into anime streaming may seem sudden, the company has been involved in anime production for decades. In 1995, Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ) founded Aniplex, a subsidiary created to manage anime and music productions.
Sony has already tried the field of streaming in a big way and didn’t like it. He was one of the first to enter the war in streaming, Crackle service launch the same year Netflix started its online offering. But the service didn’t turn into anything serious and they ended up getting rid of it.
Over the past five years, Sony has strengthened its portfolio of international streaming services through acquisitions, starting in 2015 with the French anime streaming service Wakanim. In 2018, the company bought Australian anime distributor Madman Anime and its streaming service, AnimeLab. A year earlier, an independent subsidiary, Sony Pictures Television, acquired the American anime distributor Funimation we have already talked about. Later in 2019, Aniplex and Sony Pictures Television consolidated all of these streaming services under the name of Funimation.
And keep the cinema alive
At the same time, without its own large-scale streaming service, Sony is betting more than its competitors on the return of cinema. Sony executives describe their commitment to theaters as part of a strategy to attract talent and secure high prices when selling movies to streaming services.who typically pay based on box office receipts.
Although his best-known films this past year, like Morbio or Unexplored They didn’t come out very well, their plan is clear.
Instead of taking on Disney, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures or Paramount – who are all trying to use the movies they’ve produced to lure consumers to their streaming services – Sony is bluntly saying it hopes to make a cut. that situation.
“None of them can resist the others, but all of them can resist us”said Tom Rothman, president and chief executive of Sony Pictures, adding that his company’s future will be well served if he sells films to rivals. “It certainly was a zigzag strategy. It has been very profitable for us, ”he commented in statements to the Wall Street newspaper a few months ago.
Sony agrees with everyone
Recently, Sony has made a couple of big deals to supply movies to Netflix and Disney. Sony titles released over a five-year span, starting in 2022, including new Spider-man movies, will be available on Netflix after their theatrical stint.
Sony has also agreed to give Netflix a first choice for movies the studio is making specifically for streaming platforms. Then, in addition, after passing through Netflix, Sony’s theatrical previews will go to Disney, which will be able to show them on Disney Plus. Double deal.
The Netflix and Disney deals, combined, are worth nearly $ 3 billion over several years.
Additionally, Sony continues to strike deals to make television series that will be broadcast on various streaming services, such as HBO Max and Netflix, making it clear that sometimes staying out of a business everyone is betting on can also be a great decision. .