Cable TV

Sony shakes up domestic, intl TV ops

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MUMBAI: As Sony prepares to seal the deal on its $4.8 billion acquisition of MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has realigned its domestic and international television operations.

This sector is expected to become more important to the studio as it seeks to mine the wealth of its vastly expanded film library of 7,500-plus titles.

The restructuring will be done under Sony Pictures Television (SPT) president Steve Mosko and Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) president Michael Grindon. Both report to SPE chairmann and CEO Michael Lynton, and SPE Motion Picture Group chairman Amy Pascal.

Mosko will continue to lead domestic TV production and distribution for network, cable and syndication markets. He will take on the added responsibilities for domestic pay TV. Grindon will continue to lead all international distribution for network, cable, pay and on-demand markets and will direct the company's efforts in local-language TV production and international channels.

Lynton said, "By structuring our operations along these lines, it will allow both Steve and Michael to concentrate on the unique set of issues facing the TV market both here and abroad. Steve has done a tremendous job turning our domestic organisation around over the past several years. He has just signed a new three-year contract and adding pay TV to his portfolio only makes sense.

"On the international side, Michael has grown SPTI into a leader in international licensing, local language production and our worldwide TV networks, which continue to be key strategies in the company's long-range commitment to the global marketplace. Michael will also lead SPE's efforts in exploring new TV business and investment opportunities outside the US."

Sony's pay TV sales activities, including deals for pay-per-view and video-on-demand services, traditionally had been handled by the studio's international TV division. Under the realignment, domestic pay TV activities will shift to the domestic Sony Pictures Television division headed by Mosko, while international pay TV sales will remain with SPTI under the direction of Grindon.

Mosko said, "We have spent the last three years taking this company from a point at which everyone was saying that Sony was getting out of the TV business entirely to now having (pilots) at every network this year. We are continuing to be aggressive in developing original programming for cable, and we're committed to the first-run (syndication) business.

" It took time to get our house in order, but now, as the last independent studio left and with a wealth of great content, we're going to be in a leadership position in terms of where this industry is going in the next 5-10 years."

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