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26 TVBEurope The Business Case

The business of Sony Professional

INCOMING SONYCorporation CEO Kazuo Hirai faces some tough decisions if he’s to reverse the company’s $2.9 billion annual loss, but he can at least look for inspiration toward the profitable Professional Solutions business. The business spans the AV sectors from security to healthcare as well as broadcast, cinema and sport, and made money last year despite being hit by the supply-side battering of the Japan tsunami and Thailand floods. According to its European

Vice President Naomi Climer, profits would have been higher still were they not battling the strong yen which erodes overseas earnings (some 70%) when repatriated to Japan. She says: “Sony Professional

is profitable. We sold everything we’ve got and we could have sold more. I’m pretty proud of that but we are now under pressure to grow the business further.”

“Sony’s mission is to connect things in ways that bring us together”

Climer is confident of

achieving this target saying she expects a significant growth in the business chiefly driven by demand for its products in digital 35mm, 4K and OLED as well as in the solutions business which manages systems integration and networked production. “We’re in the fortunate position of having some killer products so I do expect a pretty decent year ahead,” she says. “I don’t want to sound complacent, but given the doom-laden headlines it’s clear that from where I sit that there is growth in the market. When I

It has not been easy being Sony in the last year. How is the European Professional business faring now, and what are the drivers for the broadcast-related industry in 2012? Adrian Penningtontalks to European Vice President Naomi Climer about how TV technologies, business customers and home consumers interconnect

talk to customers it’s equally clear that they are demanding absolute value for money. They are finding it harder to get credit and they are under more pressure from the CFO. “I sense resources are being shifted from capex to opex and it feels like there’s more pressure for business modelling and ROI than before. That said, people are still buying. I wouldn’t say the industry is in massive explosive growth mode — but people are still buying.” Without revealing any figures, Climer says the 35mm market for Sony “has exploded, it’s buoyant and doing very well” primarily it would seem on the orders stacked up for its F65 CineAlta which only began shipping in January. Although the professional monitor market remains broadly flat, Sony claims to have doubled its share on the introduction of OLED units. “OLED was a technology that began life as a consumer activity but it has been adopted more readily in professional, first in viewfinders then as Grade 1 displays, and now it is a really strong proposition,” says Climer. She points out that Crystal

Naomi Climer: “Customers are finding it harder to get credit and they are under more pressure from the CFO”

LED, a prototype display technology that debuted at CES, emerged from the professional division’s R&D and that there are consumer and pro applications because larger displays can be manufactured with it than OLED. At CES Sony suggested that CLED might be a long term replacement for OLED but Climer cautions against this. “CLED is a long way from being productised so it’s wrong to write OLED off. We are pursuing strategies with both and you could see some professional applications for CLED.” The first tapeless workflow based on Sony’s asset management infrastructure Media Backbone has recently gone live at RSI in Switzerland, helping to boost the solutions division’s growth by 20%. “I set a massive growth budget for our solutions business for the year April 2012

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