PlayStation Network, NBC U pact

Sony to offer studio's movies, TV shows

Sony’s PlayStation Network has landed its last major: NBC Universal has agreed to offer movies and TV shows for download on the company’s PlayStation 3 and PSP devices.

As part of the deal, conglom will offer Universal and Focus Features movies and shows from NBC and Sci Fi Channel for rent and purchase starting today.

Titles include “Role Models,” “Wanted,” “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “The Big Lebowski,” as well as “The Office,” “Heroes,” “30 Rock,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Eureka.”

Episodes of TV shows will be made available 24 hours after they air on the networks.

NBC U’s movies and TV shows will be offered in both HD and standard-definition formats. Company plans to launch a joint campaign with PlayStation Network to hype the availability of its programming on the service.

Sony Computer Entertainment has been eyeing digital downloads as a way to make its PlayStation 3 and PSP handheld device more popular with consumers and broaden their capabilities beyond just serving as vidgame consoles — especially at a time when more consumers are turning to rentals as an inexpensive way to watch programming.

It launched its downloading service last July and has amassed a library of more than 1,300 movies and 4,500 TV episodes.

Overall, since late 2006, when it started charging for game downloads and other fare, PlayStation Network has collected $180 million in coin. (Microsoft’s Xbox Live, which also offers movies, TV shows and games for download, has earned more than $1 billion in more than five years.)

Both systems signal there is revenue to be made for both vidgame companies and Hollywood.

And that proved enticing as NBC U has been looking at more ways to increase the digital revenue generated by its properties. It already offers movies and TV shows through Hulu.com but generally offers programming for free.

Properties on PlayStation Network would be available through a different release window and for a fee that varies depending on whether it’s a movie or TV show as well as in what format it’s being viewed.

The growth of PlayStation Network to more than 9 million subscribers in the U.S. certainly encouraged NBC U to come aboard. Network has 20 million users worldwide.

“The home entertainment experience continues to evolve, and families are increasingly looking for activities within the home to power their leisure time,” said Craig Kornblau, prexy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms.

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