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Sony Pictures Profit Balloons to $628 Million for the Year

Studio’s $208 million fourth quarter profit, however, was a decline from last year

Sony Pictures parent company Sony Corp. on Tuesday reported that the movie studio’s profits for the full fiscal 2019 grew to $628 million, compared with the $489 million the studio reported last year.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, however, Sony Pictures’ profit slid slightly year-over-year to $208 million, compared with the $245 million the studio reported during the same three-month period last year.

While the Japan-based parent company said its pictures segment — which includes film, TV and media networks — saw higher profit margins on film catalog titles, that was slightly offset in the quarter by an increase in development expenses and higher costs as a result of an increase in the number of new TV programs.

Revenue for the pictures segment rose to $9.3 billion for the full fiscal year, compared with $8.9 billion the previous year. For the quarter, revenue was $3 billion, up from $2.7 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

Theatrical revenue mushroomed to $471 million in the quarter, compared with the $194 million Sony reported during the same quarter last year. The studio released the long-awaited sequel “Bad Boys for Life” during the quarter and the film grossed $418.3 million at box offices around the world. During the same three-month period last year “Escape Room” grossed $155.3 million worldwide as the biggest release during the quarter.

Sony actually estimated that the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic had a roughly JPY 1.5 billion (or nearly $14 million according to Morningstar Japanese yen to U.S. dollar conversion) positive financial impact on the film studio. The company said the decrease in sales due to delays in production and delivery of TV programming as a result of the pandemic were offset by an increase in gross profit from digital sales of films, as well as the decrease in advertisement expenses.

The motion picture division accounted for roughly $1.4 billion of the overall pictures segment’s $3 billion in revenue. TV productions added $1.1 billion in revenue, and media networks another $512 million.

Overall Sony said it estimates that the coronavirus pandemic had a negative JPY 68.2 billion ($636 million) on the company’s full-year 2019 financial results. The majority of that came from the electronics, products and solutions division. Sony’s financial services division was also hard hit, while the music and imaging and sensing solutions segments took modest blows. Along with the pictures segment, Sony estimated that it gaming division saw a positive impact as a result of the pandemic.

Sony’s gaming segment brought in JPY433.5 billion ($4 billion) in revenue in the fiscal fourth quarter, which was down compared with the JPY498.1 billion the company reported during the fourth quarter a year ago. Sony sold fewer PS4 gaming systems in the quarter as well, notching 1.5 million units, compared with 2.6 million units last year.

The music segment saw revenue increase JPY117.1 billion ($1.1 billion), compared with the JPY104.2 billion Sony reported a year ago. Digital streaming and physical sales saw a bump in revenue in the quarter, while digital downloads took a slight dip.