Promoting young, Australian talent on a global stage
Sony has significant and diverse interests in Australia. Over the past 40-plus years, the company has brought generations of consumer electronics to the country, taken the bright young stars of Australia’s entertainment industry to a global audience, and invested in award-winning Australian television production companies. Sony is also a local manufacturer, financial services provider and philanthropist.
Helping Australia take its entertainers to the world
Sony Music is one of the world’s top four record companies and a major promoter of Australian music. Having signed local bands such as Justice Crew, The Veronicas, Timomatic, Hi-5 – and more recently Lulu Raes and the Strangers – Sony Music is instrumental in bringing Australian artists before a worldwide audience. Direct access to the global stage delivers a multi-layered boost to the industry: besides raising the profile of Australian music, it inspires young musicians to dream big.
In recent years, Sony companies have looked beyond music to Australia’s vibrant TV production industry. In December 2014, Sony Pictures Television purchased Playmaker Media, an independent, scripted-television production company. Founded in 2009, Playmaker Media is a major player in prime-time television. The company created Logie-award-winning Love Child and political drama, The Code, which is now broadcast in Canada, the UK and the US.
‘The team at Sony Pictures Television presents new opportunities to increase the quality and reach of our content both locally and in the international marketplace,’ says David Maher, co-founder of Playmaker Media, after the December 2014 deal.
Fresh take on life insurance
Sony is also injecting vitality into Australia’s life insurance industry. Sony Life is a household name in Japan and one of the country’s largest financial services companies. In October 2016, it purchased a 14.9 per cent share in Australian life insurance company, Clearview, for A$145 million. The deal marked the first venture by Sony Life into foreign financial markets, and the two companies are now exchanging personnel to examine opportunities for collaboration.
Besides importing consumer and professional goods, Sony in Australia also manufactures them locally. Sony Digital Audio Disk Corporate (DADC) produces CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs at a manufacturing facility in Huntingwood, New South Wales, from which it also provides a range of services that include disc authoring and mastering, packaging, artwork and print.
Referring to Sony Australia’s commercial success, Managing Director Hidekazu Matsuura recently commended ‘… Australia’s stable economy, high quality of labour and cultural fit with Japan’s values.’
Electronics that shape Australian lives
Sony Australia entered Australia in 1974 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation. Based in the technology hub of North Sydney, the company has supplied Australians with every generation of consumer electronics, from the legendary Sony Walkman to today’s noise-cancelling headphones, interchangeable-lens cameras and LED/LCD and OLED televisions.
Two Japan-based Sony companies play major roles in Australia’s entertainment industry. As one of the world’s top six production companies, Sony Pictures distributes approximately 20 films each year in Australia and manages a back catalogue of more than 4,000 titles. Sony Interactive Entertainment distributes the PlayStation console, one of the world’s best-selling computer entertainment systems.
From youth culture to youth care
Sony Foundation maintains one of the biggest corporate and social responsibility (CSR) funds in Australia. Conscious of its young audience, the foundation makes children and teenagers the prime beneficiaries of its programs. Sony Foundation has raised A$28 million for various Australian charities that invest in targeted programs.
One beneficiary is the Australian grassroots charity, Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). This organisation helps young people in challenging circumstances to transform their lives through music. Sony Foundation part-funds MMAD’s ‘Catch A Falling STAR Program’ – a music and mentoring program that assists people aged 15–21, who face challenges of homelessness, abuse, and drug and alcohol dependency. Sony Music hosted Catch A
Falling STAR participants at its head office in Sydney, and invited one of its major bands, Justice Crew, to record songs with participants.
Sony Foundation also helps young people with cancer. In 2010, it set up the You Can program to fund specialist youth cancer centres across Australia for people aged 15–25. In addition to providing psychological and social support, the program facilitates clinical trials to improve long-term survival rates.
To date, Sony Foundation has invested A$5 million in You Can and opened support centres in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. In June 2017, it extended the program to young people in rural and remote Australia. In partnership with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Sony Foundation launched the You Can Network, which provides an online forum where young connect, share stories and provide mutual support.