15 Jul WTN exclusive interview with Patrick Kennedy, exec. VP, Sony Pictures Digital
Sony’s Patrick Kennedy has focused his professional career on business strategy and corporate development issues in the telecom and entertainment fields. Currently, he oversees the day-to-day strategic operations of the Sony Digital Networks Division, an alignment of the studio’s online promotional arm SPiN, SoapCity, Screenblast, the company’s mobile content and Wireless Services Group, GoPlayTV and advanced platform service units. Mr. Kennedy also serves as the lead on cross-division strategic alliances for the company and as a member of Sony’s Global Leadership Forum, a core group of senior executives dedicated to leading Sony into the future.
We interviewed Patrick Kennedy at his LA office about his company’s pending acquisition of Sonic Foundry, the cultural impact of the purchase, Madison’s business climate, hot new technologies, and Kennedy’s roots in the Midwest.
WTN: What are some of the most exciting elements to you regarding the Sonic Foundry acquisition by Sony Pictures Digital?
PK: We are acquiring an organization with great products and talented people. They have cultivated a very strong customer base as well.
The purchase of the desktop software group of Sonic Foundry is essential for the on-going engineering efforts of our company. We are looking forward to having the Madison-based engineering team, work in sync with our LA-based engineering team. This acquisition will also allow us to better serve all of our customers and will impact how we grow and integrate all of the products and technologies with our online services.
WTN: How do you find the business climate in Madison for technology- based businesses?
PK: One of the most important aspects of our deal with Sonic Foundry is the commitment of the community to the development of a technology industry. This is exciting! There is a lot of raw talent in Madison and in Wisconsin. As we look to grow our company it will be important to recruit new talent from UW-Madison and The Milwaukee School of Engineering that will keep our technology fresh and thriving.
Wisconsin has done a terrific job of attracting and developing technology-based enterprises and we are very excited about the opportunities for us in Madison. Sony Pictures Digital understands and appreciates the quality of talent that exists in Madison and throughout Wisconsin and we are looking for forward to a bright future in the state.
WTN: How would you describe Sony Pictures Digital Networks culture to what you have seen at Sonic Foundry?
PK: This is one of the dynamic aspects of the deal with Sonic Foundry. Sony Pictures Digital Networks is an open, entrepreneurial division while at the same time, working as a part of a large company. We have a “go-getter” aggressive approach, but we like to have a lot of fun! From what I have seen, the culture at both companies is very similar. Building a business and getting the job done drive both groups of people. We both have a sense of pride of developing and building products and services that we are passionate about.
We have had a very good relationship with the team at Sonic Foundry for over three years. They know their market and have very talented people.
WTN: What are some of the most exciting technologies and services that Sony Pictures Digital Networks offers today?
PK: We are always interested in exploring and developing new technologies.
I am very enthusiastic about SoapCity (www.soapcity.com). The site has been evolving from a magazine style format on-line to a state of the art download destination where people interested in soap operas can download shows like Days of our Lives , The Young and The Restless and As the World Turns and watch them on their pc’s on a pay per view or subscription basis. (Editors note: Each episode is $1.99 OR $9.99 for a monthly subscription).
We plan to beef up and roll out more downloadable offerings and offer our online customers a wide selection of content that they have experienced before. We plan to offer more services on more types of Sony devices.
Today we are working on how we can augment our existing services for consumers so that they can enjoy them regardless of computing device.
We also have mobile services are now offered in more than 40 countries. We provide wireless downloads of ring tones, screensavers and our latest service, downloadable mobile game applications. We are excited about being a leader in mobile content development and distribution. We see this as an opportunity to grow this into a substantial business.
WTN: We understand that you are from the Midwest; can you please tell us about your roots?
PK: I was raised in Minnesota. Both of my parents and one grandmother went to UW Madison. I lived in Milwaukee for four years while I attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering. I feel a strong sense of familiarity with Wisconsin. My experiences there were instrumental in my personal and educational development. I am very pleased that I have been able to visit Sonic Foundry in Madison in the fall, winter and spring and am looking forward to my visit this summer.
WTN: Are you excited to be able to travel back to Wisconsin for work?
PK: I love Wisconsin! I wish I could spend more time there, but I work full time in LA.
Mike Klein is the Founder and Editorial Director of the Wisconsin Technology Network and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org