Sony Benefits from Shunning Streaming Platform
New Spider-Man Movie a Boon for Sony
The new Spider-Man movie which debuted in theaters this past weekend is proving to be a boon to Sony (SONY), with both AMC Entertainment (AMC) and Cinemark (CNK) reporting strong advance sales. Spider-Man: No Way Home could bring in around $450 million in domestic box office sales.
While media companies have been battling it out as the streaming wars take off, Sony is taking a different approach. Sony Pictures is one of the only major studio houses to not operate its own streaming platform. That means it doesn’t have to worry about streaming cannibalizing box office sales, or vice versa. Its commitment to theaters, which the company expressed in May, appears to be paying off. Consumers are hitting movie theaters again, sending ticket sales soaring.
Sony Avoids Streaming Problems
While Sony doesn’t have a streaming platform, its rivals Disney (DIS), Paramount (PGRE), Universal (CMCSA), and Warner Bros. do. The studios are using these platforms to feed content to consumers who prefer to stay home. Interest in streaming services surged during the pandemic and demand still remains strong, but the investment in streaming has caused the likes of Disney and Warner Bros. to navigate choppy waters and make tough decisions that sometimes backfire.
For example, Warner Bros. decided this year to release all its movies on HBO Max, which upset the old Hollywood guard. Meanwhile Disney ended up in a legal suit over the release of Black Widow on Disney +.
Sony Strikes Deals
By choosing not to launch a new streaming service, Sony can ink deals with multiple major players, ensuring its content is seen by the masses. So far this year, Sony Pictures has entered into deals with Netflix (NFLX) and Disney valued at $3 billion over the next few years. In 2019 it struck a deal with Netflix to bring Seinfeld to the platform for $50 million. Sony’s content also appears on Apple (AAPL), Hulu, and HBO Max.
By staying platform-agnostic, Sony can get the most value out of its content without fearing it will anger the movie theater industry or Hollywood’s rulers. It also gives Sony bargaining power since it remains one of the only studios which can create content for any streaming platform.
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