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Sony continues quarterly losing streak

Hit by weakness across most of its divisions, Sony reports net loss of 26.3 billion yen for its fiscal second quarter, its fourth straight quarterly loss.

Continuing its string of quarterly losses, Sony suffered a net loss of 26.3 billion yen ($292 million) for its second quarter, reported the company on Friday.

Compared with a profit of 20.8 billion yen a year ago, this marked Sony's fourth straight quarterly downturn.

Sales for the quarter that ended September 30 also took a spill, dropping 19.8 percent to 1.66 trillion yen ($18.26 billion) from 2.07 trillion yen in the year-ago quarter.

Recent cost cuts and hot sales of the PlayStation 3 game console both provided a shot in the arm.

Sony's 2009 second quarter results
Sony's 2009 second quarter results Sony

But Sony was hurt by a downturn in sales for the venerable PlayStation 2 despite its recent claim that the PS2 was "showing no signs of slowing down." Weak demand for the Vaio line of PCs also dragged down the quarter.

As a result, revenue in the Networked Product and Services division, which includes Sony Computer Entertainment, fell 24.2 percent to 352.6 billion yen from 465.2 billion yen in the year-ago quarter.

Other segments also upset the bottom line.

The Consumer Products and Devices business, which includes TVs and cameras, watched its sales plummet 36.5 percent to 799.9 billion yen from 1.25 trillion yen a year ago. Sales were down for Sony's Bravia HDTVs due to intense price competition and the higher value of the yen. The company's Cybershot digital cameras also were impacted by a decline in unit sales and the appreciation of the yen.

Lower sales both in the theater and at home hurt Sony's Entertainment division, with revenue down 30.4 percent to 136.4 billion yen from 196.1 billion yen in 2008's second quarter.

Sony Ericsson also affected the quarter with sales of 1.6 million euros ($2.36 million), a 42 percent decline from 2.8 million euros in the year-ago quarter. An ongoing drag on Sony's earnings, the cell phone maker has struggled to turn a profit in recent years.

One bright spot was Sony's music business, which enjoyed a 147 percent boost in revenue to 124.5 billion yen, stemming in part from sales of Michael Jackson's product catalog, following the entertainer's death in June.

Despite the quarterly loss, results narrowly surpassed expectations, prompting Sony to boost its forecast for the full fiscal year. The company now is eyeing a loss of 95 billion yen for fiscal 2009 versus its prior forecast of a 120 billion yen deficit. Sony lost 98.9 billion yen in fiscal 2008.

Sony recently announced that the PlayStation 3 will offer Netflix streaming, a move it hopes will bump sales of the game console even higher.