Studio joining Culture club

TOKYO — Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan) along with other software producers will enter the digital videodisc rental market in Japan at about 100 stores in the country, a Japanese financial daily reported on Tuesday.

Sony Pictures, which has about 30 titles available on DVD in the country, and the other companies are aiming for a 500 yen ($3.50) rental fee, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.

Sony Pictures Japan said a formal announcement is expected on Thursday on the DVD rental move and would not confirm the details of the article.

Japan’s largest video rental chain, Culture Convenience Club, along with electronics company Toshiba Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. have already created Japan’s first nationwide digital videodisc rental market.

About 200 to 300 titles from various studios are available at the 940 stores in the Culture Convenience chain.

Industry analysts said the DVD rental systems are an essential part of establishing a consumer market for DVD hardware sales.

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