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Sony Warns of Media Shortages

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Sony sent a letter to its broadcast and professional distributors earlier this week warning of upcoming shortages of physical media as a result of the recent magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan.

“The earthquake resulted in severe damage at one of Sony’s key production facilities very near the epicenter in Sendai, Japan. Almost all Sony Professional Media products are solely produced there. In addition, several other Sony facilities in Japan remain closed due to power outages in the region. There has not been any word on when these facilities are to go back on line, or details on the condition of the damaged facility in Sendai,” said the letter.

The port city of Sendai is located in one of the hardest hit areas of Japan, just over 50 miles from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant that is currently in a state of crisis.

The letter explained that “We do know that the following Sony formats are affected: HDCam SR, HDCam, DVCam, Betacam SP, Digital Betacam, Betacam IMX, Betacam SX, XDCam, SxS, DV and HDV. Some items are affected by being produced in a factory that is closed due to power outages, but the majority of the items are affected by being produced in the Sendai plant which was damaged. In addition, some other Sony items may be affected, because even though they are assembled in other parts of the world, components for these items are produced at an affected plant in Japan.”

“In some cases, a competing manufacturer such as Maxell or Fuji may have product that is interchangeable with an affected Sony item. However, these manufacturers are also undergoing a huge increase in demand, and we are certain to see resultant shortages occur as they ramp up production… We strongly suggest that you consider other brands, or other alternatives that we could suggest to you, depending upon your particular situation.”

The letter also stressed that the company is taking steps to prevent hoarding. “In all cases we will not fulfill large ‘load up’ orders or support any hoarding of product by any customer. We will not entertain requests from new customers for any large quantities of these products. In all cases we will conserve as much product possible for you and our other valued regular customers. We ask that you restrict your orders to the minimum of what product is needed at the present time, and we will do our part to keep as much product as possible available for everyone.”

In a related press release, the company announced that seven additional plants producing everything from lithium ion batteries to DVDs had ceased operations. In addition, three other plants had voluntarily suspended operations to help alleviate stress on the country’s strained power grid.

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