Sony Set to Sell Across Platforms

Dec 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Sony Pictures Entertainment is creating a multiplatform advertising and marketing division that, unlike such divisions at other media conglomerates, will incorporate nontraditional areas such as music and gaming, according to media executives.

The group, to be called Sony Pictures Advertising Solutions, will be headed by Executive VP Barbara “Bo” Argentino, who from 1998 until October was senior VP of advertising sales for Sony Pictures Television, selling the studio’s syndicated TV shows. Amy Carney took over that position.

A Sony Pictures spokesman had no comment.

Big media organizations have had cross-selling advertising-marketing divisions for years through which marketers in one deal can buy commercial or marketing messages across a number of platforms: broadcast, cable, local TV, radio, film, print and the Internet.

Sony is one of the last major media companies to enter this arena. That could be because Sony doesn’t have the same breadth of TV, radio and print assets as does its media conglomerate competitors. However, Sony does have nontraditional assets that are increasingly becoming desired by marketers, such as its big Sony Music division, as well as Sony Electronics, with its Walkman line of products, and Sony PlayStation.

More marketers are looking at nontraditional media as a place to put their messaging and commercials. In particular, the music business, which has been underserved, is in hot demand by consumer products companies. For example, a company could use a Sony Music artist to co-brand a consumer product. Messaging or branding deals could also occur with Sony Electronics’ Walkman devices and Sony PlayStation gaming systems.

Sony’s big TV assets are its syndication, network and cable shows such as “Seinfeld,” “Just Shoot Me” and “Judge Hatchett” in syndication; “King of Queens” and “Joan of Arcadia” on the CBS network; and “The Shield” and “Rescue Me” on the FX cable network. Also in cable, Sony owns GSN and has an equity interest in SoapNet.

Though it doesn’t own the commercial time in its cable and networks shows, Sony Pictures Television is the producer and can weave in product integration, a new marketing tool TV advertisers desire in conjunction with their media buys. Sony’s other traditional media include theatrical and online platforms. Sony is also acquiring rights to MGM’s TV assets.

Viacom’s Viacom Plus sales group writes up about $600 million a year in overall ad revenue. A large part of that comes from a $360 million deal with Procter & Gamble that is renewed annually.

The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Unlimited services a number of corporate clients, including McDonald’s Corp. and Visa International. ABC. Other cross-platform groups include Time Warner’s Time Warner Global Marketing.