News

Sony to launch 2 movie channels

Meg James
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

Responding to the changing revenue picture for movies, Sony Pictures Television plans to launch two movie channels this year to capitalize on the studio's extensive film library.

Sony Pictures Movies HD would be Sony's first wholly owned cable channel in the U.S. In recent years, the Japanese-owned studio has focused on international markets, building a portfolio of 122 channel feeds that are available in 140 countries at a time when rival entertainment firms aimed primarily at domestic audiences.

"That's where the growth was, and most people hadn't been there yet," Andy Kaplan, networks president for Sony Pictures Television, said Tuesday of the company's overseas strategy.

Now Sony is looking to tap the lucrative, but crowded, U.S. cable-TV market as other segments of the business dry up.

"They have been very successful internationally with their channels, but in the U.S. they have not had the leverage of the other media conglomerates, which have a bunch of different cable channels," said Derek Baine, television analyst for consulting firm SNL Kagan. "Perhaps they are doing this because the market to sell movies to broadcast and cable networks has been so bad."

The channel, scheduled to launch Oct. 1, is designed to exploit Sony's large film library, which includes such older titles as "Philadelphia" and "Taxi Driver," and to offer cable and satellite TV operators another high-definition channel to market as part of their HD packages.

The Sony movie channel would not be a premium pay service that offers costly original programming to compete against the likes of HBO, Starz or Showtime — or an upstart like Epix, a joint venture of Viacom's Paramount Pictures, Lions Gate Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Instead, Sony's venture is expected to be less ambitious in scope, akin to the Universal HD and the MGM HD channels that primarily play older titles from those studios' film libraries.

Sony will continue to funnel its recent movie releases to Starz.

Sony owns a stake in the Game Show Network, and it has been experimenting with an advertising-supported online video service, Crackle, which allows people to watch movies and TV shows, as well as series "webisodes." Some short-form content from Crackle could find its way to the movie channel, Kaplan said.

The studio also is seeking to upgrade horror-movie outlet FearNet into a full-fledged cable network from its current status as an online service and video-on-demand channel. FearNet is a joint venture among Sony, Lions Gate and cable operator Comcast Corp.

Sony and Lions Gate also are aiming for an Oct. 1 launch for the FearNet movie channel.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.