Sony, which is struggling to make a profit from its consumer electronics business, has now started slashing jobs at Sony Pictures due to slow DVD and Blu-ray content sales. The move comes as Sony gets ready to announce third quarter results later this week.
In a memo sent to staff last week, Sony said that it planned to lay off about 450 employees, or 6.5 per cent of its current workforce, in the next few weeks. It is not known how many of these cuts will be made in Australia.
The struggling Japanese company is also set to merge its Sony Computer Entertainment Division with Sony’s mainstream division, with job cuts in Australia tipped for later this year, according to sources.
During the last quarter, Sony is believed to have gained ground with strong Christmas sales and an increase in sales of its new slim PlayStation 3.
Sony Australia will shortly launch its new Bravia LCD TVs, including a new 3D offering, in an attempt to get a jump on Samsung, which last week reported profits in excess of US$2.1 billion for the quarter.
Recently, the company announced that it sold 3.8 million PlayStation 3 consoles worldwide during the holiday season, up 76 per cent on last year.
At Sony Pictures, Co-Chairmen Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal claimed that challenges to their business that have stemmed from digital technology, both legal and illegal – including digital piracy and the impact of social-media services that have sometimes undermined studios’ marketing efforts as the reason for planned layoffs.
“The business is going through a rough period of trial and transition,” the executives wrote. “And we have an obligation to take the steps necessary to get through it.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the majority of the layoffs are expected to hit the studio’s home entertainment and information technology departments, but nearly all divisions are expected to feel an impact to some extent. That includes motion pictures, television production, and corporate.