Sonic Solutions will be delivering movies and TV episodes on demand for Sears and Kmart, the company announced. The deal will give consumers easy access to Hollywood entertainment on Internet-connected devices including TVs, Blu-ray players, and mobile phones. As part of the multi-year agreement, Sears has licensed Sonic Solutions' RoxioNow platform. Service is expected to launch later this year and be broadly promoted at retail stores nationwide.
"This is a feather in our cap. Sears and Kmart combined have more store fronts out there than Walmart (the No. 1 TV retailer in the world)," said Mark Ely, Sonic Solutions' EVP of strategy. "Getting retailers involved is the next step in this transition to over-the-top delivery, it really requires the participation of the retailers to get consumers educated and get them aboard and understanding what's possible."
The services will offer a range of regularly updated movies and TV shows for rent or purchase, including new releases often on the same day DVDs become available at retail stores. Sonic and Sears will team to embed the services on a growing network of devices.
"Consumers are looking for more ways to access video and connected TVs," Ely said. "We saw this transition really accelerate last year as all the TV manufacturers essentially figured out that what consumers were looking for were more ways to access video, not just what was available over the air, or available from a cable service, but with things like Pandora music, or Netflix subscription services and now video on demand."
"There really is a land rush to add OTT services to consumer devices and more and more manufacturers are adding those services."
In May, Sonic Solutions and Best Buy announced an expanded CinemaNow VoD service, and the company recently announced it had hooked up with software web-to-TV platform Boxee as well.
Ely said the company is simply looking to get its product in front of as many consumers as possible.
"We want to be on as many devices as possible, beyond TV and Blu-ray players into DVRs, and video adapters and mobile phones--which is going to be a big one for us," he said. "We want to make it really easy for consumers to rent a movie in their living room and then watch it on their cell phone, or rent a movie on their laptop and have it show up on any device that they have that's connected."
The company already has its software on Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players, LG Blu-ray players and TVs, on Vizio with the Blockbuster service, TiVo and phones from HTC and Motorola.
"We're going to be rolling out on more devices in the next couple of months as we lead up to back-to-school and the holiday season," Ely said. "We'll be on more devices, and not just in the U.S., but internationally as well."
That increase in availability sets up Sonic Solutions with a problem it sees more as an opportunity.
"Each device we roll out on takes time, and we need to make sure each platform is tuned up, that we're executing well, that our partners are happy, and that the consumer gets the best video experience they can so they come back and rent more movies and buy more movies through the RoxioNow platform."
- see this release
Boxee stalls on STB; hooks up with Sonic Solutions for premium service
Sonic strikes deal to acquire DivX, strengthens OTT play
Best Buy goes live with CinemaNow video on demand service