Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (abbreviated as SPHE) is the home video distribution division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Sony Corporation.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Inc.
IndustryHome entertainment
FoundedJune 1978 (1978-06)
Headquarters10202 West Washington Blvd., ,
Area served
Key people
Keith LeGoy (President)
ProductsDVD, Blu-ray, EST, VOD
ParentSony Pictures Entertainment
(Sony Entertainment)
SubsidiariesSony Wonder
Genius Brands (equity stake)
WebsiteSPHE website


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 has handled distribution of children's content formerly handled by Sony BMG's Sony Wonder label.[1]

SPHE is also responsible for distribution of television shows from the Sony Pictures Television library, including those produced by 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, the company has 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.

Even though Sony Pictures Television acquired a 95% stake in Funimation back in 2017, SPHE will not distribute any anime films or television shows or live-action Japanese/Asian films licensed by Funimation until Funimation's current multi-year home video distribution service deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (which was formed two years prior[2]) expires.[3]

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


Early history

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment was established in June 1978 as Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment, and released 20 titles in November 1979.[4]

In March 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.[5] The venture distributed NBC titles, as it was a subsidiary of RCA at the time. When Tri-Star Pictures was formed in 1984, R/CPHV became one of the three primary distributors of Tri-Star product for home video (the other two being CBS/Fox Video and Thorn-EMI/HBO Video {later renamed to HBO/Cannon Video and then simply HBO Video}, as CBS and HBO originally held stakes in Tri-Star), and fully assumed distribution of TriStar titles in the early 1990s. They also distributed titles from various other film companies unrelated to Columbia, including most of New Line Cinema's theatrical releases (though not all, as Media Home Entertainment and Family Home Entertainment distributed several NLC films during the Columbia deal). New Line formed their own video label in 1990 (the result of acquiring Nelson Entertainment, which had previously been Embassy Home Entertainment, ironic considering EHE had been owned by Columbia for a brief period of time before being spun off), but continued to go through RCA/Columbia Pictures (as well as SVS-Triumph and then Columbia TriStar Home Video) for distribution until 1994, when Turner Broadcasting acquired NLC and Turner Home Entertainment assumed distribution functions.

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.[6] As the lawsuit continued into 1991, General Electric, the parent of NBC and RCA, announced that it was divesting its interest in RCA/Columbia.[7] 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.[8] It was named Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment from April 2001 until a name change to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in November 2004.[9]

SPHE had 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.[10]


In 2005, when Sony and four partners acquired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from Kirk Kerkorian, SPHE held the domestic home entertainment rights to MGM's 4,000 film and 10,400 TV episode library, though the releases used the MGM DVD label. On May 31, 2006, MGM ended its distribution deal with SPHE and transferred most of its output to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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.[11]

In February 2011, Sony regained full distribution rights to MGM Home Entertainment library under a deal that pays SPHE 8% in distribution fees (industry norm is 10%).[12]

Recent history

On February 21, 2010, The Weinstein Company made a home video distribution deal with SPHE through Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] On August 27, 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment signed a deal with SPHE to distribute 665 SPE films and 54 television series on DVD.[16]

Anime News Network reported in February 2013 that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Australian joint venture with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment licensed anime television series from NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan for distribution in Australia, with its initial titles, A Certain Magical Index, Shakugan no Shana and Armitage III, scheduled for release on April 24, 2013.[17] From 2017 to 2018, Funimation began directly distributing a select number of its anime titles in Australia and New Zealand through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Australian joint venture with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. In September 2018, Funimation transferred distribution to Madman Entertainment, with Madman handling distribution and classification within the region.[18][19]

On December 18, 2013, SPHE president David Bishop, who had served since 2006, announced he would leave when his contract expired in March 2014.[20] It was announced that Man Jit Singh would replace Bishop.[21]

On July 22, 2015, SPHE and Transmission Films 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.[22] On November 20, 2015, SPHE announced that it would release Ultra HD Blu-ray releases.[23]

On March 15, 2016, SPHE partnered with eOne to distribute films Momentum Pictures across the globe except for Canada on physical and digital home entertainment platforms.[24] In January 2017, SPHE expanded its distribution deal with Genius Brands to include all properties and acquired an equity stake in company.[25]

On February 6, 2018, Man Jit Singh stepped down as president of SPHE and was replaced by Keith LeGoy.[26]


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

  • Magic Window - Children's titles (including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and The Real Ghostbusters, as well as classic Columbia/UPA cartoons).
  • RCA-Columbia Pictures International Video - International films (some of these were released by CEL in Australia).
  • SVS-Triumph - Some low-profile Columbia, TriStar, New Line, CineTel Films and Epic Productions releases, and releases from Triumph Films (it was founded in 1979 as Sony Video Services and was renamed after the formation of Sony Pictures Entertainment, to be used briefly in-between the ending of the RCA joint venture and the formation of Columbia-TriStar).
  • Musicvision - A short-lived music video division of RCA/Columbia Pictures HV in the mid-1980s.
  • Columbia Classics - A label releasing classic films on DVD by Columbia Pictures; it was previously used for VHS and LaserDisc releases as well.
  • Screen Classics by Request- A service available on the web, where classic films are pressed and ordered directly from Sony, similar to Warner Bros.' "Warner Archive" brand. A similar service called "Choice Collection" also exists, but is pressed and ordered directly from Warner, via the systems used for the "Warner Archive" titles.[27]
  • Superbit

International sub-labels

  • Gaumont-Columbia-RCA Video - A French home video label that released films by Gaumont, Columbia Pictures, TriStar, and Triumph Films originally formed in 1982. It was later renamed as Gaumont/RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video in 1986 and Gaumont-Columbia TriStar Home Video in 1992.
  • RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts Video Pty. Ltd. - An Australian home video label that released films by Hoyts Distribution, Cannon Films, Columbia Pictures, TriStar and Triumph Films originally formed in 1984.
    • First Release Home Entertainment - A mixture of B-movies, Magic Window, music videos, TriStar, top TV shows, re-releases, Thames Video and some mainstream Hoyts/Columbia/Cannon/Triumph/other film releases in Australia and The Netherlands.
    • Video Box Office - a mixture of B-movies, HBO and some mainstream releases in Australia.
  • 20/20 Vision - A British rental home video label that released films by TriStar Pictures, Goldcrest Films International, New Line Cinema, Triumph Films and Columbia Pictures.
  • VideoServis - A Russian home video label with Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment that released films by Columbia Pictures, Monumental Pictures, TriStar and Screen Gems, created in 1994.[28] After VideoServis sold Sony to CP Distribution (through Warner Home Video) in August 2014.
  • France Télévisions Home Entertainment - A french joint-venture with France Télévisions, made for distribute DVD releases from France TV channels shows and movies, since when was named Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, Sony distributes France TV DVDs.
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Distribution UK Ltd. - A British home video label that distributes Fox Pathé Home Entertainment (including MGM Home Entertainment releases) and Universal Studios Home Entertainment (including DreamWorks Home Entertainment and PolyGram Video releases).
  • Delta Pictures is an Italian Home video distributor

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 box-office 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.


  1. DeMott, Rick (2007-06-21). "Sony Home Ent. Takes Over Sony Wonder". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  2. "Funimation and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Enter Into Multi-Year Distribution Agreement". PR Newswire. June 22, 2015. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  4. Archived August 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Billboard (30 October 1982, p. 4).
  6. Lippman, John (1990-03-16). "NBC Sues Sony/Columbia in Video 'Plot'". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  7. Fabrikant, Geraldine (1991-05-30). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS - G.E. Sells Its 50% Stake In Video Unit". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  8. "Entertainment". Los Angeles Times. 1991-08-24. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  9. "Sony Pictures Renames Columbia TriStar". Billboard. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  10. Kay, Jeremy (2008-04-03). "Sony to distribute Anchor Bay's library on DVD around the world". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  11. "Sony Home Video Chief Feingold Exits; MGM Vet Steps In". High-Def Digest. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  12. Fritz, Ben (2011-02-08). "Sony finalizing distribution and co-financing deal with MGM, including next two 'Bond' films". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2011-02-16.
  13. Fleming, Mike (2010-02-21). "Weinstein Company Seals Sony DVD Deal". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  14. "BusinessWire" Image Entertainment Partners with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Archived April 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved on January 9, 2013
  15. "Mill Creek Entertainment: News - Mill Creek Entertainment Signs Home Video Distribution Deal With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment". 2012-04-23. Archived from the original on 2015-08-16. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  16. "Site News DVD news: Mill Creek Licenses 52 TV Shows from Sony for Low-Cost DVD Release". 2013-08-27. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  17. "Universal Sony Home Pictures to Release Anime in Australia - News". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  18. Slykura (December 14, 2018). "Some insights". Madboards. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  19. Slykura (January 7, 2019). "In short, we have a new distribution agreement with Funimation which means that we are their local distributors NOT licensee, but distributor for their products". Madboards. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  20. Patten, Dominic (2013-12-18). "Sony Pictures Home Ent. Boss David Bishop Departing". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2014-03-21. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  21. Patten, Dominic (2014-01-06). "Sony Pictures Names Man Jit Singh CEO Home Entertainment". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  22. "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.
  23. Arnold, Thomas K. (2015-11-10). "Sony Pictures Becomes Second Studio to Announce Ultra HD Films on Disc". Variety. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  25. McNary, Dave (2017-01-18). "Sony Takes Stake in Genius Brands International". Variety. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  26. Sony Pictures Shakes Up TV, Home Entertainment for Digital Age Anousha Sakoui February 6, 2018, Retrieved on February 28, 2018
  27. Barr, Jason (2010-09-13). "Sony Unveils "Screen Classics by Request"". Collider. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  28. Archived August 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
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