Can Sony Survive?

by Barry Andersson3 Comments

My first camcorder back in the late 1980's was a Sony camcorder. I have a soft place in my heart for Sony as I have owned numerous Sony products over the years.  They have long been innovators in a wide variety of electronics. Just to name a few of the highlights:

– Sony Walkman (yes before Guardians of the Galaxy they were all the rage 30 years ago)
– Sony Discman. Moved from the cassette tape world to that of the new CD's taking over the music business.
– Sony 4mm DAT (Digital Audio Tape). This moved in industry from older forms of audio recording such as the analog tape on a Nagra deck.
– Sony Playstation. If you haven't wasted a few hours of your life playing on one of these units then I have nothing to share with you.

The list goes on an on.

What has been interesting of late is the new push by Sony in the video camera market. Years ago Sony was one of THE brands in video cameras.  However, they lost ground over the last 5+ years and they are quickly taking that market share back. They have been having hit after hit with the Sony F55, F5, A7S, FS700 and the recently shipping FS7.

These cameras are amazing and they are quickly returning Sony to the top of the market which Canon has dominated the past few years.

The question I have is how much thought do you put into the actual company you buy your camera from? Are you ever worried about the overall health of the parent company that makes your camera of choice?  Many of the leading still and video companies have seen their overall sales plummeting.  Giants in the still world both Nikon and Canon have seen their sales slowing considerably.  Sony isn't immune to slowing sales either.

So my question is how worried are you in considering buying a camera from a company that has slowing overall sales as well as bad economic fundamentals for the parent company. The parent Sony Corp stock has been downgraded to “Junk” and they are estimated to lose over $2 Billion dollars this year alone.  That doesn't sound great even in a world that sees companies fortunes rise and fall to rise again.

My guess is with the shelf life of cameras being less than 3 years for most people this isn't an issue. But I would love to here from you. Does this concern you or does that not enter the equation. Let us know.

Happy shooting!

Can anything save Sony?

Via CNN:

Major rating agencies Fitch and Moody's have downgraded the company to “junk” status. Standard & Poor's has warned it could soon do the same. The company has announced plans to scale back its smartphone business.

On Friday, Sony reported a second quarter net loss of $1.2 billion, and the company confirmed it's on track to lose a staggering $2.1 billion this fiscal year.

Can anything save Sony

Since assuming Sony's top job in 2012, CEO Kazuo Hirai has spun off the company's television business, sold its Vaio PC operation and slashed thousands of jobs in a bid to rapidly restructure the company.

These are the kind of changes that investors have been calling for. But so far, the CEO has little to show for his efforts.

That stands in stark contrast to Sony's glory days. The Sony Walkman revolutionized the way people listen to music, and Sony's Chromatron and Trinitron lines brought color television to the masses.

But engineers across the company say they are not dwelling on the past. Instead, they are hard at work developing products that might revive the firm.

Read full article at “Can anything save Sony?”

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  1. Barry, while I see your point, and it is somewhat frightening… the same argument can be made against Nikon and Canon. At least in the camera space, sony seems to be innovating leaps and bounds above those two guys. They are playing it safe, not really trying anything new or advancing the space. Sony is trying new things to see what sticks. So maybe they aren’t a 50 year company, but when talking about a camera with a 5 year shelf life, max, I think consumers will be safe. Myself, I am a Nikon still shooter, and can’t wait for Sony’s next announcement on the mirrorless front to make the jump. 

    In a similar vain, look at Avid in the editing space. Their financials are, and have been, crap for the last several years but they are still a leader in both audio and video editing. Myself, I use Premiere and see more of a future there, but that doesn’t make avid a bad directions for companies to go into at this point.

  2. reToolednet You are right to a point.  The underlying financials of say Canon are way better than those of Sony.  

    Sony is doing a great job of delivering cameras with specs that people are asking for but is that enough to save the overall company (especially since they haven’t been making money in their electronics division for years)?

    The shelf lives of cameras are short enough you aren’t banking on the long term health of a company but some of Sony’s numbers made me think is this the time to consider?  

    Avid was dominate for years in the audio and NLE space but they have lost most of the ground that they once owned.  Avid if they can’t reinvent themselves they are not the Future.  You need to have great products and convince the market place to use their products. 

    I LOVE Sony’s XAVC codec and think it is a real competitor to Prores. However, there is a huge uphill battle in convincing companies to change their workflows.  That is why you can’t loose the market share in the first place.  Sony got dusted by Canon and they are doing a good job climbing back but Canon workflows and Prores are still the workflows of choice.  

    This is all interesting and who knows what the future holds.  I am a huge Sony fan so don’t read that I don’t like or use their products.  However, I stopped buying cameras a few years back because I have to shoot on too many different cameras so it is too hard to earn the cost back on different cameras.  I only own 2 cameras that work all the time. I am not in the business of staking my reputation trying to convince the people who want to hire me to use a camera I want to use.  It is my job to make it look nice.  And I can do that on more than one camera. 

    Thanks for your thoughts.  Cheers.

  3. barryandersson reToolednet Good points. Regarding Avid, even though I totally agree with you, I don’t think in the super high end space, they’ve lost much ground at all. Certainly, in the proTools front, that is pretty much the ONLY name in the game for high end sound rooms in NY and LA. As for editorial, I do think Premiere is hot on the heels of Media composer, but certainly MC has the largest use on feature films and even television still. 

    Back to cameras, I would venture to say that even if large divisions of Sony were to get closed down, the camera one, if proving profitable would survive. It seems to me to be the place where they are truly shining these days. For me, I’m not a shooter by trade, so I’m not in the market for a $10k camera or even a $5k camera, but the A7 line and A6000 lines seem very promising to me and I look forward to seeing where they go.

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