Sony Pictures Home Entertainment launches digital sell-through biz

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) today announced that the studio will launch its digital sell-through business on 3 April. Partnering with Movielink and CinemaNow, the service will allow broadband internet users in the US the opportunity to download-to-own for the very first time a wide range of entertainment content from the SPHE and MGM collective libraries.

The announcement was made by Worldwide Home Entertainment digital distribution and acquisitions president Benjamin S Feingold.

"This is a landmark development in the evolution of home entertainment. Allowing consumers to download and own movies digitally via their broadband internet connections gives them more power to be entertained when and how they choose," said Feingold.

SPHE's digital sell-through business will commence with an initial slate of 75 titles that will include such films as Memoirs of a Geisha, Spider-Man 2, Taxi Driver, Barbershop, and Hitch. Dirty will be SPHE's first day-and-date title when it debuts on 4 April. The hit comedy Fun With Dick and Jane will release day-and-date on 11 April.

In addition to offering new release titles day-and-date with DVD, SPHE will release additional titles from SPHE and MGM's library monthly. The combined Sony Pictures and MGM libraries of more than 7,500 titles are believed to be the largest, most digitized collection in the business.

Feingold added, "We at Sony Pictures have been a leader in providing entertainment to the public on the most cutting-edge digital delivery platforms including DVDs, UMDs, Digital Media Cards for mobile phones and digital distribution over the Internet. And we will soon be delivering movies to people on high definition Blu-ray Discs."

"Our goal is to continue to provide engaging entertainment content in the most innovative, convenient and secure manner possible. This partnership with Movielink and CinemaNow is just the first step in a bright future for digital delivery that will only serve to complement our packaged media sales business," Feingold said.

"We are pleased to offer consumers a new option in movie ownership. Together with day-and-date release along with DVDs, digital delivery provides the convenience, flexibility and quality that movie fans have been asking for. Movielink has carved out a position in the broadband market of being the place to come for high quality long form entertainment, and this new consumer option continues to differentiate our service from other forms of VOD," said Movielink CEO Jim Ramo.

"Launching our download-to-own business with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment marks the tipping point which we've been waiting for. CinemaNow has always believed that the ability to sell studio movies at the same time they are released for home video would be the catalyst for explosive growth in our industry. Now our customers can download and own the movies they want, when they want, with the convenience of on-demand access," said CinemaNow CEO Curt Marvis.

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