Sony had recorded a 260 billion yen loss the previous fiscal year.
The latest results were better than the 520 billion yen ($6.5 billion) annual loss the Tokyo-based company had projected. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated a more optimistic 430 billion yen ($5.3 billion) loss.
Sony said sales improved in its film business, lifted by television and video-on-demand for the “Spider-Man” series, but profits fell slightly, despite the popularity of “The Smurfs” and “Bad Teacher,” offsetting the failure of “Arthur Christmas.”
Sales and profit both dropped in its music business. Best-sellers included Adele’s “21” and Beyonce’s “4.”
Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato said fixing the electronics business remains critical, as revenue improves in entertainment this year with “The Amazing Spider-Man,” ”Men in Black 3” and the new James Bond film “Skyfall,” and music downloads start to make up for dropping CD sales.
“This year remains crucial for a recovery in our electronics business,” Kato said, adding that the effort to reduce TV business losses was on track. “A fifth straight year of losses should never be tolerated.”
Analysts say it remains to be seen whether Hirai can steer Sony’s turnaround.
Prices come down so fast that the initial year or so — when an innovative product is taking off — is crucial. Sony fell behind when digital music players and flat TVs became hits.
Sony shares, which have lost about half their value over the past year, dipped 1.2 percent to 1,213 yen in Tokyo. Trading ended shortly before earnings were announced.
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