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Man Jit Singh is prez of Sony Pictures’ home entertainment biz

MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media (MSM) chief executive officer Man Jit Singh is up for a bigger role in parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).

Responsible for turning around MSM, he will replace David Bishop as president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. He will report to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal.

ManJit Singh“Man Jit is a savvy global executive with a long track record of success at Sony Pictures, having built our Indian TV channels into high-performance, high-margin businesses,” Lynton said. “I am confident in his vision for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and his ability to provide strong leadership for the division as the marketplace continues to evolve.”

The home entertainment market, which has undergone turbulent times since 2006, had seen a slump in the US in 2012. However, with the advent of Blu-ray and increasing sales of HDTV, the business is once again growing.

“As the ways in which consumers experience our content continue to change and multiply, our organisation and its strategy for delivering content must evolve to meet the demands of the market. I look forward to building on the foundation of innovation and operational discipline at SPHE to position this business for future growth,” Singh said.

Singh moves into his new role at a time when Sony has made several changes at the film and television studio. 2013 has been a tough year for Sony Pictures globally. While  films like ‘After Earth’ and ‘White House Down’ did not perform on the box office, its activist shareholder Daniel Loeb was putting the company under pressure criticising the group for being poorly managed. Loeb, via his hedge fund Third Point, owns about 7 per cent of Sony.

In November, Sony said it will cut budgets by $250 million and also hired consultancy Bain & Co. to further find out how it could save another $100 million.

The company told its investors that it will significantly shift from movies to the “higher margin” television business. Pascal was quoted in media saying the studio will put out 18 movies per year moving forward, in contrast to a typical 23 movie release annually in the past.

In December, Sony said that it would not renew Bishop’s contract, which ends in March. Bishop was at the helm of the home entertainment division since 2006, guiding it through a rough period as video-on-demand services caught on.

Singh has a strong background in technology, entertainment, and consumer products, with over 20 years of experience in global operations. Starting his career with Nestle India, he has also worked in general management consulting, and held senior positions at firms including Sibson & Co., LLP in Los Angeles, The Cast Group AG in Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, and Cresap in Los Angeles. He has worked in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Singh was heading the India operations as MSM CEO since 2009. On Friday, he passed the baton to the then COO NP Singh. He will, however, continue as Non-Executive Chairman at MSM while transitioning from his role in the television division to his new position in home entertainment.

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