Sony rolling out red carpet for Thai film studio unit
Sony Pictures Studio has launched a solely-owned affiliate film studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment in Thailand, in a bid to help generate higher income this year.
The affiliate's managing director, Rachot Diraputra, said the launch of the new company would help unlock film releases in a wider range of categories such as mass, alternative and animation.
"We can release more films to keep up with more audiences in the country as moviegoers have more movie choices, not just mainstream ones," said Mr Rachot.
Sony Pictures Studio, the world's leading film studio, had previously enjoyed a 20-plus-year strategic partnership with Walt Disney Studios.
"The launch of its own company with no strategic partnership is challenging. Although the company will have less bargaining power with cinema operators, mainly SF and Major Cineplex, we can launch movies at our own pace, expecting 20 films a year," he said.
Mr Rachot said Sony Pictures Entertainment has also established offices in two countries, Malaysia and Singapore, which, together with Thailand, have greater potential to attract moviegoers than other countries in the region.
He said that Thailand used to be the leader among those three countries, but today Malaysia dominates the market as it has been expanding its number of retail malls and department stores, with cinemas growing accordingly.
Mr Rachot said Thailand's movie industry over the last three years has heavily depended on the expansion of cinema outlets in the country from two major operators -- SF and Major Cineplex.
"I'm optimistic that if SF and Major Cineplex expand their cinema outlets nationwide, Thailand will surely beat Malaysia in terms of market domination," said Mr Rachot.
For 2016 and 2017, Thailand's overall movie market expenditure stands at 4.6 billion baht, while Malaysia's is 5-6 billion.
Mr Rachot said Thailand's movie industry growth has slowed to 2-3% a year over the past three years because of the tepid economy and emergence of online video on-demand and over-the-top platforms, which are cheaper and more convenient.