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Thursday, February 02, 2017
Sony's Profit Dropped Despite Healthy Video Game Business

Sony reported Thursday an 84 percent profit drop in October-December, as losses in its movie division offset healthy results in its video game business.

The company reported a fiscal third quarter profit of 19.6 billion yen ($174 million), down from 120.1 billion yen the previous year.

Quarterly sales slipped 7 percent to 2.4 trillion yen ($21.3 billion), mainly because of unfavorable foreign exchange rates, the company said Thursday.

Sony also lowered its full year fiscal profit forecast because of a $962 million write-down in its film division, stemming from its acquisition of Columbia Pictures in 1989.

Sony announced what's called "goodwill impairment," lowering the profitability projection from its movie division, earlier this week.

The company now expects a 26 billion yen ($231 million) profit for the fiscal year ending March 2017. It had earlier projected a 60 billion yen ($532 million) profit. It posted a 147.8 billion yen profit the previous fiscal year.

Sony also said it does not plan to sell its pictures business after suffering a $1 billion writedown, and instead aims to turn it around by adding sales channels and making more use of movie characters.

"We believe in long-term upside potential for pictures," Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida said at an earnings briefing, reiterating that Sony continues to regard the business as important to the group.

Sony said its movie business was expected to improve, stressing the decrease in quarterly profit was partly because of the huge success of "Spectre," a James Bond film, and "Hotel Transylvania," an animation about Dracula, the same period last year.

In the latest quarter, PlayStation 4 game software and machine sales and the contribution from its Virtual Reality headset called VR helped boost profits in that division. Its computer chip sector also fared well on the growth of image sensor sales for mobile products.

The PlayStation 4 sold 9.7 million units in the latest quarter, up from 8.4 million during the same period in 2015, said Sony. The company kept its forecast for 20 million unit sales for the fiscal year.

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