Sony's sorry quarter: Loss suggests owning a movie studio makes little sense

Sony (SNE) posted its fourth consecutive quarterly loss on Friday, as the Japanese consumer electronics giant, known for its upmarket televisions, laptops and game consoles, was dragged down by the recession and competition from other Asian manufacturers. The crummy quarter again raises the question: why does the company continue to hold onto its Sony Pictures movie studio, which lost money in the quarter?

Overall, the company showed a $292 million net deficit on revenue of $18.5 billion, a nearly 20 percent drop. Sony's TV and camera division reported a 37 percent slide in revenue to $8.9 billion, barely breaking even. Long-term, the unit may continue to have trouble even if the economy recovers. Chinese and South Korean firms will continue to challenge margins, experts say.