Thursday, May 30, 2024

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai Stepping Down as Movie, Record Companies Fade in Comparison to Tech, Gaming


Kaz Hirai, CEO of Sony, is stepping down. Or stepping up, He’s being kicked upstairs and replaced by Kenichiro Yoshida on April. Hirai took over from Sir Howard Stringer in 2012.

Sony’s profits are up, but it’s from motion pictures or the record company. Under Hirai, Sony managed its computer chip into every single cell phone. They also became the leader in gaming with consoles, etc. It’s not a world you or I are in, but kids remain obsessed with it.

What hasn’t worked is movies or records. Sony Music right now has one album in the top 50, by Camila Cabella. How they’re surviving with hit records is a mystery. But it’s been a long drought.

On the movie side, Sony Pictures had one movie among the top 20 earners in 2017– “Spider Man: Homecoming,” which didn’t even crack $1 billion worldwide. It made $888 million. They had some prestige films, and Oscar nods, but no other big money maker.  This will also the mark the first time that Sony doesn’t distribute the James Bond film coming at Christmas time. And that’s a huge blow.

Kaz– who has been with Sony in various capacities since 1984– is smart to accept the change and move now. He’ll be missed, however.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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