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Sony To Focus More on Direct-to-Consumer Services To “Fill the World With Emotion”

Sony recently elaborated the importance of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) services to fulfil the company's purpose in a recorded talk with its corporate communications team.

Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony's Chief Executive Officer, wanted the company to continue working towards the company's purpose of "filling the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology", as he defined in 2019.

According to Sony's corporate communications team, Sony has connected with 160 million people in the world due to their desire to consume entertainment - a number Yoshida wants to increase to one billion. To do so, Yoshida expressed the need to collaborate with distribution partners of the company's DTC services during the company's corporate strategy meeting on 26 May 2021.

"Sony cannot fill the world with [emotion] on its own, and ultimately we need to collaborate with [the company's] distribution partners," Yoshida said in his talk with Yasukouchi Yoko from Sony's Corporate Communications Department.

He also added that his vision of providing entertainment to 1 billion people cannot be achieved by Sony alone, explaining: "It is about fostering the types of 'communities of interest' that we have cultivated until now, and doing what we can ourselves as Sony, within this broader landscape."

This focus on DTC services, collaboration with Sony's distribution partners and the drive to increase the number of people consuming entertainment through Sony can be clearly seen in the company's corporate strategy meeting slides. A quick scan of them shows that Sony intends to spread emotion to people through strategic investments in its intellectual properties and DTC services, technology and share repurchases, with DTC services being at the forefront of its strategic investments.

Credit: Netflix/

As for distribution partners, the company highlighted in its slides new distribution agreements with some of the world's top streaming services: Netflix, Disney and Hulu. Yoshida also mentioned the company's acquisition of AWAL, a music company providing distribution and other services to indie artists as an addition to the company's list of distributors.

Sony is expecting the most from the PlayStation Network, or more specifically, PlayStation Plus. According to the slides, the number of PlayStation Plus members had steadily increased between 14 September 2020 and 21 March 2021. This was partly due to the PlayStation 5's release, an event in which the number of PlayStation Plus members increased almost tenfold. Yoshida expressed his desire to improve the community the PlayStation Network has created through the enhancement of the social experience for users through video games, the PlayStation Network service and mobile applications.

One such enhancement is through the revival of the company's PlayStation Mobile Division, which could be developing mobile games based on popular characters from various PlayStation exclusive franchises.

Other franchises or "communities of interest" that show great potential in Yoshida's opinion is Funimation, which will be combined with the newly acquired streaming company, Crunchyroll, to further broaden distribution for their content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers.

Fate Grand Order, a mobile game based on Type Moon's Fate franchise, is said to be a promising service due to Sony's collaboration with Bilibili, a Chinese online entertainment services provider. Lastly, SonyLIV, a DTC streaming service rooted in Indian culture, was considered a promising franchise because of the increase of paying subscribers to approximately 5.6 million since 2020.

Tom Holland will play as Nathan Drake in the upcoming Uncharted Film. Credit: Sony

Yoshida also touched on other topics aside from DTC services, such as his desire to drive the company's diverse businesses to collaborate to create value. An example of this is the company's current efforts to turn game titles into movies or TV shows. For instance, Uncharted, a PlayStation's game franchise, is being made into a film. Another game, The Last of Us, is being made into a TV show that will be released through HBO Max. Both of these efforts are made through collaborations between Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions.

Sony's VISION-S concept car was also discussed during the talk, specifically the collaboration between Sony and Vodafone, a German technology communications company, to verify the viability of 5G communications while driving. Automated driving was also briefly discussed as it will present opportunities for 360 Reality Audio and Remote Play for PlayStation.

Lastly, Yoshida discussed Sony's contributions to the area of sustainability, such as the establishment of SynecO - a company dedicated to environmental technologies related to augmented ecosystems through Synecoculture and decentralising sensing technologies. These efforts are part of Sony's overall goal of fulfilling its responsibility of reducing its environmental impact on the Earth.


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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