While the company has said that it is definitely not pulling out of the broadcast and professional market, Sony Business Europe director of country operations Jeremy White, breaking a three-month company silence on the subject, told Broadcastthat 50 per cent of its sales and marketing force, that were detailed to cover the facilities market, have now been redeployed to sell the company's traditional acquisition and image manipulation equipment - plus its projectors and display technologies - to the corporate sector, the education market, medical firms and the retail industry.
White said: 'We are basically making less profit than we used to from the TV market. One of the down-sides of producing cheaper technology is that the margins are reduced accordingly. Sony has adapted to this by looking at different markets.'
Sixteen staff will now be deployed to sell to the new sectors with 10 people moving across from dealing with the facilities market- reducing the 'feet on the street' in places such as Soho by 50 per cent. As a result of the move, nine people have been made redundant and four new members of staff have been employed. Sales and support to major broadcasters will be unchanged.
White is confident that facility clients will not suffer as a result of the changes, although he did acknowledge that the changes could be felt. 'We will try to maintain relationships with the facilities, but I can't say that people won't see any difference.'
White cited several reasons as to why he believes broadcast is becoming an increasingly difficult market.
He said 'the facilities are generally spending less money' after a difficult 18 months. There is a continuing 'reduction in the cost of ownership' in this market, plus there has been saturation in areas such as editing and compositing.