Sony Launching New Movie Service in Early 2007

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games

ClickSony Pictures Home Entertainment is reportedly spearheading a new online movie service for PlayStation 3 and PSP, according to the Financial Times. The report says Sony is talking to companies like Amazon.com, MovieLink and Cinemanow for this service. The service is expected to launch in Q1 2007 and allow gamers to download movies to PCs and then to PSP memory sticks. A 4GB Sony memory stick can store about 10 movies. This is in line with what Phil Harrison spoke about at Sony's PlayStation 3 launch event in October. It's also similar to what Peter Dille, evp of marketing, told me at that event--only it will likely be bigger than just PSP.

Dille talked about PS3 and said that movies, TV shows and movies would be added to the digital distribution network called PlayStation Store in 2007. He talked about how PSP's Remote Access will allow gamers with a Wi-Fi home to stream content from a PS3 hard drive to a PSP. This would work with movies as well as music.

While the PC is fine for die hard techies, the mass market audience is not going to want to download a movie to a PC, import it to a memory stick and then watch it on PSP. Downloading it once to PS3 and then being able to stream it to PSP, or watch it on PS3, is a whole different story. Also, Sony will launch a new Remote Access technology later in 2007 that will allow gamers to stream content from the PS3 hard drive via wireless hot spots to their PSPs anywhere in the world. That takes this concept to a whole different level.

Also, it's worth noting that a previous blog of mine broke the news that Sony was developing two new PSP devices. One of these devices could include a hard drive, which would allow movies and music to be stored directly on a PSP. Videogame analyst PJ McNealy, who also correctly predicted that Sony would introduce a limited edition PS2 for Christmas, expects these new PSPs to hit stores in Q1 2007--which would put them in line with the potential launch of the new service.

While Microsoft is ahead of the game, for now, both in Xbox 360 home penetration and the launching of movie and TV shows through Xbox Live; Sony does have advantages because it owns movies and TV shows. Those advantages allowed UMD to launch with success, but that has since slowed down considerably. Although Dille said that business is anything but dead.

Beyond movies, Sony can also go after Apple with music via PS3, PSP and its new Walkman devices that are coming next year. I expect Microsoft to go after Apple in this department as well with its future Zune devices, which will likely play games as well as music.

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PS3 Froum

Sony are desperate to give their next gen console a differnet sales pitch, the harsh reality is that Microsoft have blown them out of the water and they have limited ammo to retaliate.

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