Sony’s Transformation Helped It Discover a Love for Anime, Music and Films
Streaming Spiderman? Bingeing One Piece? Got Mariah Carey’s Xmas hits on replay? That’s the sound of Sony making bank.
As part of a decade-long transformation, the Japanese consumer electronics giant has successfully reinvented itself (and massively raised profits while helping its stock outperform).
Sony’s games, music, TV and films divisions are driving that change.
- 2015: 30% of its revenue came from these categories.
- 2022: Nearly half came from these categories.
Analysts forecast its media divisions to take up a greater share in the coming years.
The anime dealer
Japanese anime has been one of the hottest entertainment areas. Between 2020-2021, global demand for Japanese anime content grew by 118%, with over half of Gen Z watching anime.
More impressive, analysts expect the industry to make more money globally than its domestic Japanese market this year.
Sony is the dominant company in the industry — owning most of the animation IP and distribution — per Jefferies analyst Atul Goyal (FT).
- Sony’s Funimation subsidiary acquires and licenses content to other streaming platforms.
- In 2021, Funimation acquired the anime streaming platform Crunchyroll from AT&T for $1.2B.
In 2022, while streaming platforms were pulling back on content, Netflix added 40 new anime titles, and Disney expanded a partnership to produce more anime originals.
Turning gaming hits into TV blockbusters
Sony’s long-standing gaming division benefited from COVID lockdowns, and now it’s finding more ways to monetize that content.
It started with the success of The Last of Us, and Sony is hoping to follow that up with several other video game adaptations:
- Horizon Zero Dawn for Netflix.
- God of War for Amazon Prime.
Goyal says that Sony is “making all the right moves in video games, animation and TV. They are now essentially a media company.”