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Sony Happy to Be Streaming ‘Arms Dealer’

Jeff Kotuby

Sony’s CEO doesn’t think his company needs its own streaming service and is perfectly content being an arms dealer for the bigger streaming companies.

Sony Pictures CEO and chairman Tony Vinciquerra held a fireside chat at the Bank of America 2021 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference on Monday, and made it clear that Sony’s library is powerful and has become greatly in demand during the pandemic. “These SVOD series need lots of product,” Vinciquerra said. The Sony CEO cited his company’s recent blockbuster deal with Disney as an example of its ability to monetize its content — to the tune of $3 billion between the Disney deal and its deal with Netflix.

Vinciquerra said Sony’s primary emphasis would be to put films into theaters. But he also touted the studio’s existing library as a valuable asset. He called Sony Pictures one of the only studios that “has a big library plus the ability to put a lot of films into theaters that will be in the library soon.”

As for what films will head to streaming, Vinciquerra said “the bar has been raised,” but that “you will still see our major films going directly to theaters.” However, as Sony is reportedly capable of producing “far more than 12 to 15 [films] each year,” look for Sony to sell films directly to streamers in the future, as was promised in the Netflix deal.

Sony has long maintained its status as a neutral streaming party that wants to provide content for multiple services, but it looks like it’s drawing the proverbial lines in the sand with Netflix and Disney. Netflix and Sony Pictures signed a partnership deal that will see the latter’s movies appear exclusively on the former’s platform for an 18-month window, starting in 2022. That includes Morbius, Uncharted, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Bullet Train — as well as films set in the Spider-Man and Venom universes. Just two weeks later, Sony and Disney agreed to a similar deal that would see Sony’s films jump to Disney+ or Hulu once their 18-month run on Netflix ends.

Now, regardless of where consumers are watching their films, Sony is getting paid big bucks to simply provide movies and shows — and they’ll likely keep it that way for a long time.

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