Yesterday, 1:13 PM
- Romantic fantasy The Age of Adaline (NYSE:LGF), starring Blake Lively, earned $5M at the box office on Friday, just ahead of Furious 7's $4.9M -- then the rest of the weekend happened, and Furious 7 (NASDAQ:CMCSA) became the first film to lead domestic box office for four straight weeks since 2012's The Hunger Games.
- The racing film took in $18.3M to run its domestic total to $320.5M.
- Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (NYSE:SNE) took second place with $15.5M in its second week, and The Age of Adaline drew $13.4M in total, just ahead of Home's (NASDAQ:DWA) $8.3M.
- Furious 7's $1.3B global take makes it the fifth-highest grosser in history. Next up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 at $1.34B.
- Meanwhile, the film that will topple Furious 7 next weekend has already made a small mint overseas. Avengers: Age of Ultron drew $201M in overseas grosses (in only 55% of the global market) ahead of its May 1 U.S. release, presaging a massive haul for the Marvel (NYSE:DIS) sequel.
- Its predecessor, Marvel's The Avengers, earned a record $207.4M domestically in its debut weekend in 2012.
Sun, Apr. 26, 6:14 AM
- Sony (NYSE:SNE) has again raised its operating profit estimate for fiscal 2015, the Nikkei reports, upping its forecast for the third time in three months.
- Due to expectations for higher display sensor and Playstation console sales, the company now anticipates operating profit of ¥300B ($2.52B) - four times its previous estimate and its highest earnings since 2008.
- Sony also expects earnings for fiscal year 2016 to improve as its restructuring costs decline.
- Previously: Sony raises forecast for full-year profit (Apr. 22 2015)
Thu, Apr. 23, 9:13 AM
Wed, Apr. 22, 4:40 AM
- Sony (NYSE:SNE) has sharply upgraded the forecasts for its recently ended fiscal year, raising its earnings estimates for the second time in three months on higher-than-expected sales of videogames and cost cuts in its TV division.
- While it will make its official earnings statement for the year on April 30, Sony reported preliminary operating income of ¥68B ($569M), up from a previous forecast of ¥20B, and ¥26.5B a year earlier.
- CEO Kazuo Hirai's recent restructuring has focused the tech giant on profitability instead of volume growth, stoking the company's shares.
Mon, Apr. 20, 1:07 PM
- With its main competition coming from a security guard on a Segway, fast-driving Furious 7 (NASDAQ:CMCSA) led the box office for a third straight weekend with a healthy $29M, to close in on $300M domestically.
- The Universal film outdrew the critically panned Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (NYSE:SNE), which clocked in with a surprisingly strong $24M. The film earned a fairly rare 0% on critic aggregator Rottentomatoes.com but is now projected to profit, considering its $30M budget.
- As presaged by its fast start, Furious 7 blew past the $1B mark in global box office a few days ago.
- Universal grabbed another win with Unfriended, an ultra-cheap ($1M budget) teen-bullying horror that earned $16M, good enough for third place over the $10.3M earned by animated feature Home (DWA +1.5%). In its fourth weekend, Home (the best bit of news for DreamWorks in some time) has tallied $142.6M.
- On the other side of the spectrum, Child 44 (NYSE:LGF) -- which was banned in Russia -- debuted with just $600K in 510 theaters, a terrible trajectory for a film that cost $50M to make.
Fri, Apr. 17, 5:39 PM
- A new version of popular series Battlefield wasn't enough to boost video game sales in March, as software sales slipped 3% Y/Y to $395.4M. But software was positively solid compared to game hardware sales that slipped 21% Y/Y to $311.1M, according to NPD Group.
- In new retail games, Battlefield: Hardline (NASDAQ:EA), a cops-and-robbers version of the war-game series, led sales charts followed by another new entry, action role-player Bloodborne (NYSE:SNE) which was strong despite being a PS4 exclusive.
- The top five was rounded out by Grand Theft Auto V (NASDAQ:TTWO), Mario Party 10 (OTCPK:NTDOY), and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (NASDAQ:ATVI).
- Physical software sales showed sharp declines for previous-generation consoles, which points to the health of the new generation (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U), whose software sales increased 58% Y/Y.
- In hardware, Sony says PS4 again topped the charts, but everyone's doing well in the new generation: “This is the 17th month of sales for the Xbox One and PS4, whose combined cumulative hardware sales are over 50% higher than the combined 17-month cumulative sales totals for the Xbox 360 and PS3,” said NPD's Liam Callahan.
- In a market down more than 1% today, GameStop (NYSE:GME) did worse, down 3.1%.
- And in other EA news, at the ongoing "Star Wars Celebration" event going on in Anaheim, Calif., today's news included the reveal trailer for Star Wars: Battlefront wowing fans. Launching Nov. 17, the game showcases high-definition visuals but takes a somewhat risky move of dropping single-player missions entirely for cooperative and multiplayer.
Fri, Apr. 17, 2:10 AM
- WikiLeaks has published a large trove of emails and documents stolen from Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) in November, dealing a blow to the movie studio, which had appeared to be recovering from the attack.
- While Sony strongly condemned the indexing of the stolen data, WikiLeaks said it offered a "rare insight" into the inner workings of a "large, secretive multinational corporation."
- The archive contains over 30K documents and 173K emails from more than 2K addresses.
Tue, Apr. 14, 8:07 PM
- For the first time, revenue from music downloads/subscriptions passed CD sales in 2014, according to a new trade group report.
- The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reports that while overall sales were steady worldwide at about $15B, CD/physical formats slipped 8% to $6.82B, vs. digital revenue that grew 7% to $6.85B. The remainder of sales came from licensing/radio play.
- Streaming services (including Spotify, Pandora (NYSE:P), and Apple's Beats Music) showed strong growth in 2014, with revenues that grew a combined 39% Y/Y. The services now make up 32% of digital revenue (23% of digital revenue from subscription services, 9% from ad-supported streaming).
- The music industry "big three": Universal Music Group (OTCPK:VIVHY), Sony Music Entertainment (NYSE:SNE), Warner Music Group (private)
Tue, Apr. 14, 8:09 AM
- Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) is making a new push into some of the world’s fastest growing film and television markets by creating a new unit which will specialize in local language production, FT reports.
- "The film slate being produced out of California will have a much more global focus," announced Michael Lynton, chief executive of the studio.
- The company has also hired Sanford Panitch, who built a similar business for 21st Century Fox, to run the new division.
Fri, Apr. 10, 5:27 PM
- Spotify's close to a deal on a seventh funding round, which would raise $400M and value the service at $8.4B, The Wall Street Journal reports -- launching it into rarefied air. There's still no timeline for an IPO.
- An $8B valuation means investors place it at more than twice the worth of key competition Pandora Media (NYSE:P). Spotify was valued at $4B-$5B last summer and fall.
- Like Pandora, Spotify is losing money and needs cash to support heavy royalty payments. Spotify's minority ownership of record companies -- including Universal Music Group (OTCPK:VIVHY), Sony Music Entertainment (NYSE:SNE) and Warner Music Group -- have pressed for higher conversion of free users to paying subscribers.
- Along with Pandora, Spotify faces intensifying competition with likely new entries from Apple and Google, along with Jay-Z's high-bitrate service Tidal.
- Manhattan Ventures Partners places Spotify's 2014 revenue at $1.3B, vs. Pandora's $920.8M.
Fri, Apr. 10, 3:54 PM
- A lengthy, tricky development cycle for Stephen King's decades-long The Dark Tower fantasy-horror book series has resurfaced at Sony Pictures Entertainment (NYSE:SNE), which looks to rise to ambitious multi-platform plans for the adaptation.
- The producer is working with rights owner MRC to finance a feature film, while MRC is developing a TV series.
- King reportedly likes the new drafts: “I am a giant fan. And, as Stephen himself does, we love the direction that [screenwriters Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner] have taken," says SPE Chairman Tom Rothman. "This is a great opportunity for a director to put his or her stamp on a cool global franchise.”
- Plans for a live-action Dark Tower date to 2010, but cancellations of plans (for HBO to show it, and for Warner Bros. and then Universal to make it) followed.
Mon, Apr. 6, 2:22 PM
- Sony (NYSE:SNE) rose 3.3% in Tokyo on Friday (while U.S. markets were closed) amid a broader rally in Japanese equities, and rose another 0.9% in Tokyo overnight. The company's U.S. ADRs have jumped to new 52-week highs today.
- Some recent news: 1) Sony has acquired game streaming service OnLive's patents for an undisclosed sum; OnLive itself will shut down on April 30. The IP could bolster Sony's recently-launched PlayStation Now game streaming service and/or aid Sony in legal battles with rivals. 2) Pictures of Sony's high-end Xperia Z4 Android phone have leaked. The phone is rumored to have a 5.2" 2K display and 20MP camera, and a design similar to the Xperia Z3's.
- SA author WestEnd511 offered a bullish Sony column on Friday, arguing ongoing restructuring benefits and a pickup in Japanese PS4 sales (aided by new exclusive game launches) will act as catalysts.
Wed, Apr. 1, 7:23 AM
- Sony (NYSE:SNE) said it would book ¥46.8B ($390.4M) in capital gains as it lowered its stake in camera and endoscope maker Olympus (OTCPK:OCPNY) to 5% from 10% through a sale to JPMorgan.
- "We decided on this move to strengthen our financial base and to secure funds for investing in growth," a Sony spokesman said.
- Sony bought shares in Olympus in a partnership announced in 2012, providing it with cash to fix its depleted finances after an accounting scandal forced it to restate several years of earnings.
Fri, Mar. 27, 4:30 PM
- Earlier than expected, Sony (NYSE:SNE) has added content from AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) to its PlayStation Vue streaming TV offering -- so the service's zombie fans (or fans of zombies) can get The Walking Dead's season five finale this coming Sunday.
- Vue (which is currently only available in NYC, Chicago and Philadelphia) now has AMC and WEtv in all packages, and IFC and Sundance in its mid- and high-priced Core and Elite tiers.
- Still absent (and still a dealbreaker for many): Disney's channels, including ABC TV and ESPN. Sony says it's in talks to make those happen.
Fri, Mar. 27, 10:15 AM
- Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) has agreed to acquire Dutch premium TV group Film1 from Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), John Malone's European cable operator.
- The deal means Sony will own and operate five premium movie channels as well as its over-the-top "Film1 Go" digital distribution service.
- Liberty had acquired Film1 in buying Dutch cable operator Ziggo, and Ziggo will continue to carry the five Film1 channels, which feature films from Hollywood studios as well as independent productions.
- The move is another in a series of recent Sony transactions to acquire European channels, including deals in the UK and Hungary.
Fri, Mar. 20, 3:01 AM
- Tapping into a gray area of the net neutrality debate, HBO (NYSE:TWX), Showtime (NYSE:CBS) and Sony (NYSE:SNE) are in talks with broadband providers about having their Web TV services treated as "managed services," giving them a separate lane that would ensure their content gets special treatment.
- While net neutrality states that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equal, the FCC maintains that cable and phone companies can offer "managed services" — digital phone and video-on-demand, for example - that run on a dedicated slice of bandwidth in the cable pipe which is separate from the portion reserved for public Internet access.
SNE vs. ETF Alternatives
Sony Corp is engaged in the development, design, manufacture, and sale of various kinds of electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer, professional and industrial markets as well as game consoles and software.
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