Home » EnTech Fest: Sony’s Keith LeGoy Enjoys Being ‘Switzerland’ of Content – Media Play News

EnTech Fest: Sony’s Keith LeGoy Enjoys Being ‘Switzerland’ of Content – Media Play News

EnTech Fest: Sony’s Keith LeGoy Enjoys Being ‘Switzerland’ of Content – Media Play News

Sony’s Keith LeGoy (left) with Crunchyroll’s Gita Rebbapragada

While other studios launched streaming services at the prodding of Wall Street, Sony Pictures Entertainment opted out.

“We had a huge decision to make — to stream or not to stream,” said Keith LeGoy, chairman, worldwide distribution and networks, during a keynote Feb. 7 at EnTech Fest, presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group in Los Angeles. “We zigged when everyone else zagged. And for a while, that felt like a pretty uncomfortable place to be.”

The feeling of being what pundits thought was “a dinosaur in a world of mammals” wouldn’t last, he predicted, as “we are going to find ourselves in a unique position, which is to be a sort of Switzerland of content.”

“We had iconic brands that were incredibly valuable to streaming,” he said, and staying out of the fray of branded streaming services was an advantage.

In fact, in part via a deal with Netflix, Sony’s content is thriving in the streaming marketplace.

“Our movies on Netflix do incredibly well for them,” he said. He also called out the Sony series “The Night Agent,” which has been a hit for Netflix.

LeGoy downplayed the disadvantages of not having direct-to-consumer contact. “We actually do get a lot of data from the partners that we work with,” he said.

While Sony doesn’t have a branded studio streamer, it does offer the genre-based anime service Crunchyroll, which has 13 million subscribers. LeGoy praised Crunchyroll’s ability to “superserve” that passionate audience. Moderator Gita Rebbapragada, the service’s chief operating officer, noted it is “trying to be everything to someone as opposed to everything to everyone.”

Meanwhile, Sony hasn’t abandoned the idea of distribution windows as new direct-to-consumer digital avenues opened up.

“We love windows. We think windows are great. We think windows are important,” he said. “We think it’s important for movies to get a strong theatrical release. We think it’s important to have a very strong home entertainment release. And we think both of those things amplify their value when they come to streaming.”

It’s about finding the right home for content and maximizing its audience and revenue, he said.

In addition to Crunchyroll, one of the growth areas for Sony and the industry is premium VOD, according to LeGoy.

“That’s a growing part of the business because it’s a new window,” he said.

One example of the importance of content is the burgeoning market for catalog, such as “Suits,” Rebbapragada noted. Catalog content is big on Crunchyroll, she said.

“I think library content has always played a role in our strategy,” LeGoy said, referencing the success of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” on Netflix.

With all the troubles in the world, there’s “also a bit of nostalgia at the moment,” he noted.

“I think that is driving an enormous desire to discover or rediscover things that were huge hits [in a simpler time],” he said, adding if consumers haven’t seen it it’s “new to them.”

For instance, the 1990s hit “Seinfeld,” which Sony owns, is still relevent, he said. “It is a timeless, classic show,” he said.

“We are optimists,” LeGoy said. “People love content. People love great content [wherever they get it].”

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