Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sears, Kmart will sell downloadable movies

SAN FRANCISCO — Sears Holdings Corp., owner of the Sears and Kmart retail chains, will start an online store to compete with Apple Inc. and Best Buy Co. in selling downloads of movies and TV shows as Web-connected devices become more common.
The digital store will use an online service and technology operated by Sonic Solutions Inc., the companies said Tuesday in a statement. Sonic's RoxioNow system will be installed on televisions, computers, Blu-ray disc players, set-top boxes and mobile phones sold by the biggest U.S. department store chain.

With Sonic, the retailer will be able to offer a Sears-branded digital storefront and promote special programming and services across devices starting later this year. Best Buy already licenses Sonic software for the online movie store it operates, while Apple uses its own iTunes system.

"Teaming up with Sonic is a great opportunity for Sears and Kmart to quickly establish a position in digital video entertainment," Karen Austin, president of home electronics for Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears, said.

Sears joins a growing list of companies licensing Sonic technology, which lets users rent or buy films and TV shows for viewing on a number of products. Digital downloads are expected to eclipse packaged DVD and Blu-ray disc sales after 2015, said Bo Andersen, president of the Entertainment Merchants Association in Encino, Calif.

Jim Wright is Nashville Chamber’s Partnership 2010 co-chairmanDebt Management for Homeownership