Projects will incorporate music acts.

Sony BMG is getting into the film and television business, CEO Andrew Lack told attendees of the daylong Billboard Music & Money Symposium today (March 3) in New York.

In a keynote Q&A session with Loeb & Loeb co-chairman John Frankenheimer, Lack said the company is looking to branch into visual entertainment opportunities in an effort to diversify its revenue streams.

"I don't think adding tour, merchandizing and artist management is the answer," Lack said. "I do think that with our artists, producing films, making TV programs and creating programming online is an opportunity."

He said Sony BMG in the next quarter will launch a dedicated unit of a dozen staffers to produce film and TV programming that incorporates the company's music acts.

Four projects are currently in development. He declined to disclose the nature of the projects, or artists associated with them.

Lack pointed to Viacom's MTV Films unit as a comparable analogy for Sony BMG's new effort. The unit will look to leverage relationships with Bertelsmann's European TV arm RTL and Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures, Lack says.

"One of the great blessings of this [Sony BMG] merger is that we have the resources and the talent and the artist roster to go after interesting ideas for television or for film that employ our artists."

Driving Sony BMG's interest in film and TV is the company's bearish outlook on near-term growth aspects for the industry. Lack said the industry will not be able to drive growth until it can effectively protect its content both in the P2P realm and through CD copy protection. He says the development and deployment of a winning copy-protection solution is still 2-3 years away.