×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CES: Sony Network Entertainment expands reach

Platform upgrades quality, adds territories

While music streaming service Spotify commands the spotlight for its growth over the years, a giant looms in its shadow: Sony.

As Sony rebrands its online offerings, Sony Network Entertainment could prove an important platform for delivering music to consumers through a host of devices.

Music Unlimited, the Sony Network Entertainment arm that directly competes against other streaming services, takes a different approach than its competitors, concentrating initially on the living room rather than mobile devices. While some have criticized the company for this direction, Sony’s big footprint of electronics in the home made the choice a logical one.

The company is also pursuing a measured global expansion. Music Unlimited launched in Japan last year and has proven successful. This year, the division will add another two to four countries, according to Shawn Layden, chief operating officer of SNE. Also in the works is an upgrade to the quality of the music. Key tracks will be streamed at 320kbps within the next month and the company is raising the baseline of other tracks to 64kbps.

Layden says he’s not worried about being outshined in the short term.

Spotify boasts 20 million accounts worldwide, but Sony’s service has 100 million accounts — and has a broader focus. Beyond music, Sony Network Entertainment offers a deep catalog of video content and oversees the sales branch of the PlayStation Network, a leader in the videogame industry’s digital distribution arena.

“We do play the long game,” Layden said. “What we’re really concerned about is every step forward we make, hold that position and sustain, then take another step. What you sacrifice in velocity, you make up for in totality.”

While there’s a definite focus on music, it’s videogames that make up the majority of sales for the unit, due to the huge installed base of the PlayStation 3. Users and game publishers are becoming increasingly comfortable with digital purchases of major games on the same day as their brick and mortar release, and while Layden shied away from any direct discussion of the pending PlayStation 4, he did hint that Sony Network Entertainment would play a big part in it.

“The Sony Entertainment Network is a very large church and we have a lot of aspects to it,” he said. “The rock it was established upon was the PlayStation Network and the PlayStation user base. And as that platform expands, and different devices and businesses come to Sony via the PlayStation, I think Sony Entertainment Network will be a key partner.”

The company is already letting PlayStation users purchase games via the Web from their browser while at work or when mobile, which are then ready to be downloaded when they get home. But it won’t be long, says Layden, before the experience is smoother.

Perhaps not coincidentally, developers who are familiar with Sony’s next generation plans have said the system will have a constant live connection to the Internet.

“The end state is on your break time, you download the game and when you get home, it’s available to play,” Layden said.

More Digital

  • Singapore's Mediacorp Unveils Trip of Content

    APOS: Singapore's Mediacorp Unveils Wattpad, Vice Media Deals

    Singapore’s state-backed Mediacorp has struck a trio of new content production deals. They span partnerships with new tech incubators and producers Wattpad and Vice Media, and a series production deal with Spackman Entertainment. Mediacorp says that the trio of moves reflect an initiative to broaden its content ecosystem, explore fresh ideas and new approaches to [...]

  • APOS: Applause Sets up India Adaptation of

    APOS: Applause Sets up India Adaptation of BBC's 'Luther' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Indian content studio Applause Entertainment will produce a local version of hit BBC crime drama “Luther.” With “Luther,” Applause will continue its business model of assuming the risk of producing shows, and later offering them to OTT platforms as finished works. Starring Idris Elba, “Luther” is now five seasons old. The Indian adaptation will be [...]

  • Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania,

    APOS: Online Video Headed for 15% Annual Growth, Disrupting Asia Markets

    A blistering 15% annual growth of online video will give the Asian video industry (TV, pay-TV, home entertainment and streaming) a growth rate nearly double that of North America for the next five years. According to a new report from Media Partners Asia, published on the eve of the APOS conference in Indonesia, Asia’s online [...]

  • philo

    Philo Is Discontinuing Its Cheaper Internet-TV Skinny Bundle for New Customers

    The skinniest virtual pay-TV offering available is going by the wayside. Philo, the over-the-top TV company backed by four cable programmers, is eliminating its super-skinny bundle that offered more than 40 channels for just $16 per month for new customers. It’s more evidence that OTT players are being forced to adjust their pricing and packaging [...]

  • Samsung's Galaxy Fold Launch Delayed After

    Samsung Officially Delays Galaxy Fold Launch

    Samsung has officially delayed the launch of its much-anticipated foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, after multiple reviewers experienced issues with the device’s screen. The company said in a statement that it would announce a new release data for the device “in the coming weeks.” The Galaxy Fold had first been unveiled at a press event [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Cord Cutting Will Accelerate in 2019, Skinny Bundles Poised to Fail (Report)

    The pace of cord cutting is continuing to accelerate this year, according to a new Convergence Research Group report, with 4.56 million TV households opting to ditch pay TV. By the end of the year, 34% of U.S. households won’t have a traditional TV subscription, according to the research company’s latest “Battle for the American [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content