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Sony's gaming and music struggles see sentiment take a nosedive

Sentiment towards Sony has taken a nosedive during the first quarter of 2020, with ongoing struggles in its music and gaming behind the decline. 

According to data and analyst firm GlobalData, erosion of margins due to lockdowns, production halts and procurement struggles have resulted in a decline in Sony's sentiments in Q1, ended 31 March,

According to GlobalData's Filing Analytics Platform, Sony's earnings transcript sentiment score declined by more than 50% in Q1 2020 compared to the fourth (Q4) quarter of 2019.

Sony's sentiments were hit due to net income decline, supply chain disruptions, and store closures, the analyst firm says. In Q1 2020, the company's revenue fell by more than 25% compared to the previous quarter, while net income plunged by more than 90%.

Margins were affected due to revenue drops in the gaming, music, and electronics product segments. Interestingly, during the quarter, the gaming segment was affected by a decline in Playstation4 (PS4) hardware and game software sales despite COVID-19 lockdowns causing a surge in gaming. The company faced supply chain issues for PS4 components during the quarter. Yet, its inventory was able to meet the short-term demand. According to Sony, the lack of new titles also caused slump in the gaming segment.

"Rising competition has forced Sony to be innovative in the gaming industry by developing Playstation5. Despite facing challenges from the contagion, the company expects to launch its next-gen console by the 2020 holiday season," says Rinaldo Pereira, senior analyst at GlobalData.

The report shows component shortages also affected Sony's consumer electronics business. Lower inventories forced the company to shut down its factories in mid-March 2020. Currently, the factories have resumed partial operations but are unable to meet the overall demand. The company also expects more losses in the electronics segment during the year, GlobalData says.

The music segment was also drastically affected by lockdown driven impact on recording and licensing activities, CD sales, ticketing, and merchandising revenues, according to the report. Sony has seen a minimal impact of the COVID-19 on the US music segment due to moderately imposed lockdowns. In Germany and Japan, stringent lockdowns caused greater slump in the music segment.

"Volatile exchange rates affected Sony's gaming and electronics segments," says Pereira.

"However, its healthy balance sheet will help it stay strong during the rest of 2020, as the management emphasised on strategic investments and acquisitions."

GlobalData's Company Filing Analytics platform scans filing documents and earning transcripts of companies to find crucial trends/themes and provides meaningful insights. It also provides sentiment analysis across sectors and companies by analysing analyst and management sentiments; and generates sentiment score by tagging words (or a combination of words) in the documents as positive or negative.