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Sears Launches Digital Download Service

It’s official: after announcing six months ago that it had entered into a partnership with Sonic Solutions to offer a movie download service, Sears officially launched its Alphaline Entertainment VOD offering today.

The new service offers new release rentals for $3.99 for two-day rental periods, along with movie purchases for $19.99. Titles can be played on up to five different PCs and transferred to up to four RoxioNow-compatible devices. $1.99 downloads of individual TV show episodes are also available.

Karen Austin, president of consumer electronics for Sears and Kmart, offered the following on the new service:

“Collaborating with Sonic provides a great opportunity for Sears and Kmart to launch digital services for customers seeking even faster access to the latest in home entertainment experiences . . . We’ll continue to increase the reach and flexibility of the Alphaline Entertainment service by providing consumers on-demand access to the latest entertainment from a range of home and mobile electronics,”

BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield believes that fewer and fewer consumers will be interested in paying $20 for the privilege of owning a movie, whether it’s on a physical disc or not. Said Greenfield:

“With rental now so convenient between Netflix, Redbox and VOD, we believe consumers will simply stop buying movies, especially when it comes to digital content . . . With a poor consumer experience in digital, we suspect most consumers will gravitate toward lower-priced rental options .
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. . In turn, as digital adoption accelerates, overall movie industry profitability will fall.”

Over to you, Insiders. Will consumers be interested in yet another VOD service, especially one that charges $20 for a movie purchase? How many of you agree with Greenfield’s comments on the imminent demise of movie ownership?
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(via Home Media Magazine)

8 Responses to “Sears Launches Digital Download Service”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Cheezer [visitor]

    $3.99 for a 2 day rental? Sounds like BB…. $1.99 TV episodes? Sounds like iTunes….

    I’ll pass, thanks anyway.

  2. Member [Join Now]

    I’m with cheezer. They are trying something that is working for someone else. They refuse to change the business model. Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will here. Why would I pay $4 for a movie I could get for a buck.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    TardisCaptain [visitor]

    This pricing plan will not pull me away from Netflix and Redbox. For $20 I should get a disk with extra features. I’ll pass on this overpriced product.

  4. Member [Join Now]

    It sounds like they are just trying to get on the bandwagon without really thinking it through. A day late and a dollar short.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    UBM [visitor]

    Overpriced, limited to only Roxio devices, and how much you want to bet that
    the “Movie downloads to own for $20″ are going to be so DRM’d that
    it will either require a Roxio branded player to play them on, or
    your PC will have to be connected to the internet to validate
    the movie before playing?

    no thanks….”lower priced rental options”, as stated in the article is where I’ll be…

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jimbo [visitor]

    You have to love the competition. It is just a matter of time before streaming new movies will be 1 dollar.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    will [visitor]

    Sears and Kmart are in the retail business, not the movie rental business. As Kenneth Leonard points out, this is a distraction from the very real issues SHLD faces.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jack [visitor]

    $20.00 for a digital copy is simply not acceptable… and $3.99 for a “rental” is foolish. Most movies can be had for several dollars less than that on release day. What happens when sears decides it’s not profitable and shuts down the service. All those $20.00 “purchases” won’t play anymore. You know it will be heavily DRM’d and will probably require an internet connection every time you begin playing the movie.

    Think ahead folks – remember all those companies who sold tracks that decided to shut down their service? At least in some of those cases you usually could create an actual “CD”. Don’t think for a moment that they will allow you to create a DVD of the movie (not if, but WHEN) they change their minds about selling movies.