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April 2012

TVBEurope 27 The Business Case

ahead and we’ve already secured more than 50% of that,” she says. “So we’re very bullish.”

The user experience 4K has also shown “significant growth,” she says of a field in which Sony has product in high-end acquisition (F65), theatrical presentation (4K Digital Cinema Projector) and a new home cinema projector which “has far exceeded our expectations. It’s the only way to watch 4K in the home at the moment.” Indeed few companies can

match Sony’s breadth, ranging from TV and film production to presentation. Outgoing CEO Sir Howard Stringer attempted to make the most of some obvious synergies under the ‘Sony United’ theme. Sony

seamless experience between the hardware,” says Climer. “It’s a very connected message. Rather than concerning one piece of technology, Sony’s mission is to connect things in ways that bring us together.” Can Sony’s knowledge of how consumers work with connected devices be fed back to the professional broadcast side? “There is a real strategic intent to connect all of Sony together,” she says. “Instead of just talking in isolated terms about the next camera we talk to all parts of Sony about the business and where it might go. We continually talk to customers — and we talk to those who don’t buy from us as well — and when all this is in the mix we have a pretty good understanding of what they want and how we can respond.

Indeed, Climer is on the hunt

for more purchase opportunities. “I’ve been given the green light and we’re talking to two companies,” she says. “We’re scanning the market for the right acquisition and it needs to be a strategic fit to help us to get to where we want to be. The equation has to be 1+1 = 3.” As for 3D, which Sony more

than any other company has stamped on every part of its product portfolio, there appears a bit of hiatus until the market builds itself naturally to an addressable mass. “Our expectation is of a long

game,” she says. “There are lots of examples of indie producers experimenting with it, a number of operators are wholeheartedly embracing it as a key differentiator while others are not

“We run training in professional 3D production and these courses are continually booked. 3D is growing steadily and will go mainstream when it becomes the de facto standard of new TVs”

Pictures Entertainment, for example, is ensuring that flagship movies like this summer’s The Amazing Spider- Man and the next Bond film, Skyfall, are released in 4K. Sony’s fourth year of losses

stem from its giant consumer division, partly a result of globally flat TV sales that have also left Panasonic and Sharp facing dives into the red. Competition is intense too, notably from Samsung and Apple – who have to an extent stolen the lead in consumer product innovation from the Japanese. “At CES I noticed that although we have all this fantastic hardware from games machines to smartphones (with Sony Ericsson fully acquired), the message was about the user experience and the

“The economy is tough, so

for suppliers it’s about finding the right business model for the customers and making the right argument from the CTO to the CFO.”

The 1+1 = 3 equation Climer can take credit for making the internal business case for the acquisition during 2011 of analytics technology Hawkeye, whose engineers and IP were brought under Sony’s sports division. Aside from the famous ball tracking technology, what appears to have intrigued Sony Professional just as much is software that delivers realtime graphical representations of sports statistics, called Pulse.

Sony OLED professional monitor: ‘“CLED is a long way from being productised so it’s wrong to write OLED off”

thinking about it at all just now. We run training in professional 3D production in LA and Basingstoke and these courses are continually booked. 3D is growing steadily and will go mainstream when it becomes the de facto standard of new TVs.” Climer joined Sony in 2004

having been controller of Technology for BBC News and director of Technical Operations at ITVdigital. She has long

championed gender diversity in the workplace and is to become deputy president of the IET (beginning September) — the first time in the trade body’s 140-year history that a woman has filled the role. “We must demystify the world

of engineering, to demonstrate to bright young women that it’s not just about codecs and technology geeks,” she says. “At Sony, we’ve been working with schools to showcase the exciting career possibilities available in the technology sector. One aspect is to make the recruitment process more inviting to female candidates, for example by reconsidering the ways we describe and advertise new roles. We also need to ensure that work environments are designed to inspire and develop both sexes. “Sony, like the rest of the industry, is very male dominated but they have taken gender diversity

seriously in Tokyo,” Climer

adds. “Indeed it has been named as one of their priorities because they

F65 CineAlta: Launched in January but orders are stacking up and demand is “buoyant”, says Climer


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realise it is an important business driver. I do think you get a degree of creativity and innovation if you have a diverse team. If we overlook the female perspective, we all risk being blindsided by our competition.”


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