Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Inc.
Industry DVD
Founded November 1979 (November 1979)
Headquarters 10202 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California, United States
Area served
Key people
Man Jit Singh
Owner Sony Pictures
Parent Sony
Subsidiaries Sony Wonder
Website SPHE website

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the home video distribution division of Sony Pictures, a subsidiary of Japanese company Sony Corporation.


SPHE is responsible for the distribution of the Sony Pictures library for home entertainment, mainly releases from the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group (Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, and Screen Gems) as well as releases from Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (Triumph Films, Destination Films, Stage 6 Films, and Affirm Films). SPHE also releases products from Revolution Studios. Since June 20, 2007, SPHE now handles its former Sony BMG kids label, Sony Wonder.[1]

They are also responsible for their television shows from the Sony Pictures Television library from Screen Gems, Columbia Pictures Television, TriStar Television, Tandem Productions, TOY Productions, ELP Communications (shows include from T.A.T. Communications to ELP Communications), Four D Productions, Columbia TriStar Television and Sony Pictures Television. On some occasions, they have distributed television titles not owned by Sony, such as the Animorphs series from Scholastic Productions, and Rovio Entertainment's Angry Birds Toons, Angry Birds Stella and Piggy Tales.

In Canada, Columbia TriStar Home Video helped distribute tapes from Astral Video in the 1990s. It also has an Australian deal with Hoyts.


It was established in November 1979 as Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment, releasing 20 titles:[2] The Anderson Tapes, Bell, Book and Candle, Born Free, Breakout, Buck and the Preacher, The Deep, Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River, Emmanuelle, Eyes of Laura Mars, Fun with Dick and Jane, The Harder They Fall, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, A Man for All Seasons, Midnight Express, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mysterious Island, The New Centurions, Shamus, The Taming of the Shrew, You Light Up My Life, Taxi Driver and When a Stranger Calls.

In June 1981, Columbia Pictures established a joint venture with RCA, RCA/Columbia Pictures International Video, to distribute tapes in overseas markets. The partnership expanded to North America as RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video the following year.[3] The venture distributed NBC titles, as it was a subsidiary of RCA at the time.

In March 1990, NBC filed a lawsuit against Columbia and its then-new parent company Sony under the perception that the latter two parties were violating their joint pact. Columbia purchased the foreign video rights to Orion Pictures titles a month earlier. NBC alleged that they were unaware of this transaction and had become convinced that Columbia was forming their own video unit in strict defiance of the joint venture, which was set to expire in 1992. Sony/Columbia denied NBC's claims.[4] As the lawsuit continued into 1991, General Electric, the parent of NBC and RCA, announced that it was divesting its interest in RCA/Columbia.[5] In August 1991, General Electric sold its 50% share of the company to Sony Corporation, and the litigation officially ended with Sony renaming the company as Columbia TriStar Home Video.[6] It was named Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment from 2001 until a name change to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in late 2004.[7]

As RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video and as Columbia TriStar Home Video, the company also distributed many films from New Line Cinema and a number from CineTel Films as well as Miramax films on VHS. Columbia TriStar Home Video also distributed tapes from Turner Home Entertainment in the UK from 1994-1997.

SPHE has a three-year deal with Starz's Anchor Bay Entertainment for worldwide DVD releases, with the exceptions of North America, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.[8]

On February 21, 2010, The Weinstein Company made a home video distribution deal with SPHE through Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.[9] On August 31, 2010, SPHE partnered with Image Entertainment in a multi-year agreement, marketing and distributing DVDs and Blu-rays by Image. Image retains its own sales and marketing.[10]

On April 23, 2012, Mill Creek announced that they had signed a home video distribution deal with SPHE, acquiring the rights to distribute 250 films from the Sony Pictures catalog on DVD and Blu-ray.[11]

On February 18, 2013, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Australian joint venture with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will license anime television series in Australia in early 2013 with its initial titles: A Certain Magical Index, Shakugan no Shana, and Armitage III, scheduled for release on April 24, 2013.[12] On August 27, 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment signed a deal with SPHE to distribute 665 SPE films and 54 television series on DVD.[13] On December 18, 2013, SPHE president David Bishop announced he will leave when his contract expires in March 2014. David Bishop was president of SPHE since 2006 after leaving MGM Home Entertainment.[14]

On January 6, 2014, it was announced that Man Jit Singh will replace Bishop after his contract expires in March. Man Jit Singh was the CEO of SPT's Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd., who was overseeing SPT's Indian Networks. Singh however, will not leave then Indian market, as he has been overseeing SPT's Indian TV market since 2009.[15]

On July 22, 2015, SPHE and Transmission Films has reached a multi-year distribution pact to release the Transmission Films library in Australia (through Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia Pty Limited) and in New Zealand. It began on October 1.[16]

Australian subsidiary

The Australian operations was a joint venture between RCA/Columbia Pictures Video and local cinema company Hoyts. It was known as RCA-Columbia Pictures-Hoyts Video, and released many local films (mainly those distributed by Hoyts, as well as Cannon Films) in addition to Columbia Pictures titles. Prior to this, some releases were handled through CEL. In the early 1990s, the company was renamed Columbia TriStar Hoyts Home Video, before Hoyts dropped out of the partnership.


During this time, the company also has and had some sub-labels, including:

International sub-labels

During the time that Consolidated Press Holdings, and later Publishing and Broadcasting Limited and West Australian Newspapers owned Hoyts, they re-established the Hoyts Distribution arm of the company. SPHE Australia releases Hoyts titles, including the recent hit, Twilight. They also released the handful of films from the Nine Network's film arm, Nine Films and Television.

SPHE also handles the Australian DVD distribution of Lionsgate titles (via Hoyts), after that company was unsuccessful in purchasing Magna Pacific, and the subsequent collapse of the successful bidder, Destra Entertainment.


In 2005, when Sony and four partners acquired MGM from Kirk Kerkorian, SPHE held the domestic home entertainment rights to MGM's 4,000 film and 10,400 TV episode library, although those releases are still being distributed under the MGM DVD label. On May 31, 2006, MGM ended distribution deal with SPHE and transferred most of its output to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Sony owned 20% of MGM, but 20th had no controlling interest in MGM. In 2006, long time SPHE president Ben Feingold left the company and was replaced by MGM Home Entertainment executive Dave Bishop, who brought along numerous MGM employees to replace Sony staffers.[18] However, in February 2011, Sony regains full distribution rights to MGM Home Entertainment library under a deal that pays SPHE 8% in distribution fees (industry norm is 10%). Fox's deal distributing the MGM library worldwide was set to expire in September 2011, but it was extended for five more years on April 14, 2011.[19]

SPHE also distributes Blood and Chocolate on DVD despite the fact that MGM distributed the film on its own in selected theaters. This is because MGM had the distribution rights for it before MGM was bought.



  1. "Sony Home Ent. Takes Over Sony Wonder | Animation World Network". 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  2. Archived August 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Billboard (30 October 1982, p. 4).
  4. LIPPMAN, JOHN (1990-03-16). "NBC Sues Sony/Columbia in Video 'Plot'". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  5. Fabrikant, Geraldine (1991-05-30). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS - G.E. Sells Its 50% Stake In Video Unit". Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  6. Staff, From Times; Reports, Wire (1991-08-24). "Entertainment". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  7. "Sony Pictures Renames Columbia TriStar". Billboard. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  8. Kay, Jeremy (2008-04-03). "Sony to distribute Anchor Bay's library on DVD around the world | News | Screen". Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  9. Fleming, Mike (2010-02-21). "Weinstein Company Seals Sony DVD Deal". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  10. "BusinessWire" Image Entertainment Partners with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Archived April 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved on January 9, 2013
  11. "Mill Creek Entertainment: News - Mill Creek Entertainment Signs Home Video Distribution Deal With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment". 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  12. "Universal Sony Home Pictures to Release Anime in Australia - News". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  13. "Site News DVD news: Mill Creek Licenses 52 TV Shows from Sony for Low-Cost DVD Release". 2013-08-27. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  14. "Deadline" Sony Pictures Home Ent. Boss David Bishop Departing Archived March 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved on December 19, 2013
  15. Patten, Dominic (2014-01-06). "Sony Pictures Names Man Jit Singh CEO Home Entertainment". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  16. "CULVER CITY, CA (July 22, 2015) – TRANSMISSION FILMS AND SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT PARTNER IN MULTI-YEAR DISTRIBUTION DEAL | Press Release". Sony Pictures. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  17. Archived August 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. Thu Sep 14, 2006 at 03:13 PM PDT (2006-09-14). "Sony Home Video Chief Feingold Exits; MGM Vet Steps In". High-Def Digest. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  19. Archived February 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. Archived November 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. "Married... with Children DVD news: What's going on with season 3?". Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  22. "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - Volume 1 : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  23. Patten, Dominic (2013-09-24). "Apple 'Breaking Bad' Lawsuit — Angry Fan Sues Over iTunes Season Pass". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-07-29.

External links

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