×

Best Buy makes move into digital

Retailer to rely on CinemaNow movie service

Best Buy’s move into digital movies will closely hew to the paths broken by Netflix, Blockbuster and other competitors, using a branded movie service available through Web-connected Blu-ray players and other devices made by multiple manufacturers.

The retailer, which is now beginning to provide details of a partnership with Sonic Solutions that was announced in June, will rely on Sonic’s Roxio CinemaNow movie service to handle movie delivery and the technological backend for the service, saving Best Buy from having to create a digital movie service from scratch. The service will be branded under the Best Buy name, with the retailer handling all marketing and promotion.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sonic Solutions executive VP of strategy Mark Ely said Best Buy’s store reach and marketing power could help “take Internet video from an early adopter category to more of a mass market phenomenon.”

Ely said as part of the deal, Best Buy will train employees on digital movies and devote space to connected set-tops and accessories, and spend money to educate consumers and promote the digital movie service to encourage consumers to try it out.

Neither company said exactly when devices are expected in stores.

The partnership is similar to one Sonic struck with Blockbuster earlier this year, which has begun rolling out through devices and stores in the last month. Blockbuster’s movie service, the backend of which is run by CinemaNow, is now available on TiVos and Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players and set to debut on other devices in coming months.

Best Buy has been stepping up its digital commitment in recent months. Two weeks ago, it announced a partnership to bring Netflix’s streaming movie service to its Insignia Blu-ray players. In June, it first partnered with Sonic, linking to Sonic’s CinemaNow web site from Bestbuy.com for movie downloads. Ely called today’s announcement a “natural extension” of the partnership.

During the company’s second quarter earnings call Sept. 15, Best Buy chief executive officer Brian Dunn hinted at a major move into digital, saying, “We’ll see more digitally-connected services. Over time, you will see the center of our stores evolve to the manifestation of that.”

Sonic’s Ely said in coming months, the company will make it easier for consumers who buy a movie from any Roxio CinemaNow-powered movie service to watch it through any other service it powers. For example, a customer who buys a movie through Blockbuster.com on their TiVo would be able to watch it on their Insignia Blu-ray player through Best Buy’s movie service.

“The goal is to make it possible for devices sold from different retailers to be completely interoperable from a consumer standpoint,” Ely said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content