Sony Experimenting With Early Digital Sales To Tempt People To Buy Rather Than Rent Movies

1 min read

Sony Bad TeacherWhat do you do when you see everyone renting your movies rather than buying them? Why, you offer buyers an advantage of renters. And some people with money burning a hole in their pockets will likely fall for it. Kerching!

Renting Vs. Buying

Hollywood knows the world, and the way the world consumes content, is changing. It also knows it is going to have to change with it if it’s going to not just survive in this new world order but actually flourish. Even though the actions of its lapdog the MPAA sometimes suggests otherwise.

Many of the biggest movie studios are actively seeking ways to get their content into the hands of consumers in new ways, and the digitization of Hollywood is under way. But that doesn’t mean the Hollywood giants of old haven’t got a few tricks up their sleeve to ensure they squeeze maximum profits out of us.

One way they can achieve this is by tempting us to buy rather than rent.

Sony Experiments

The fact is people are much more likely to rent than buy these days. Content isn’t treated with the same high regard it was once, and if something can be rented, then watched, played, or listened to in a short space of time without any loss in user experience then that is many people’s first choice.

Sony is experimenting with offering movies for sale through digital outlets such as iTunes and Amazon before they become available for rent. So far Bad Teacher and 30 Minutes Or Less have been given the treatment, with one more, as-yet-unnamed title being added to the list before the end of 2011.

The hope is that by offering movies up for sale weeks in advance of them being up for rent, some people will be tempted into spending the extra money. And it’s apparently working, with digital unit sales up by 60 percent, digital revenue by 24 percent.


There’s nothing wrong with this experiment, of course. But it does feel like the studios are fighting a losing battle on this one. I’d argue that in the coming decades the idea of ownership of content will fundamentally change. So this is a temporary measure at best. Still, if it makes Sony feel better, and makes a little more revenue in the meantime, then so be it.

[Via All Things D]

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