Comcast Sees More Videos On-Demand In NBC Universal
By Nat Worden Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Part of Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA) desire to take control of NBC Universal comes from its appetite for film content from Universal Studios to bolster its video on-demand offerings. By gaining control of the film library of a major Hollywood studio, the nation's largest cable services provider hopes to build VOD into a real growth engine for the entertainment business that could ultimately replace the DVD . Still, it's far from clear that the acquisition of Universal Studios would immediately help Comcast boost its VOD business. Just as the music business has suffered from the decline of CD sales and the publishing business has suffered from the decline of newspaper and magazine sales, the movie business is being squeezed in the digital age by a slowdown in its most profitable business: DVD retailing. Hollywood views VOD--movie rentals that cable subscribers can select on their TV without leaving their couch--as one potential savior. But studios have been slow to embrace the business for fear of adding to the decline in DVD sales and running afoul of key retailers , like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), which makes up nearly a third of all DVD retail sales in the U.S. and is known to be a demanding partner. As the cable industry's leader in VOD, Comcast sees an opportunity developing now to push studios into its corner. That's part of its motivation in negotiating with General Electric Corp. (GE) about taking a majority stake in NBC Universal, according to people familiar with the matter. A deal is expected in the coming days or weeks. "The margins that movie studios make on a rental from VOD are much better than the margins they make through" Blockbuster Inc. (BBI) or Netflix Inc. (NFLX), "so it has always been a riddle as to why the studios haven't been quicker to embrace it," said Craig Moffett, analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
SONIC SOLUTIONS (SNIC) OWNS Roxio CinemaNow. “NVIDIA has pushed technological and design boundaries to deliver an unrivaled 3D gaming experience,” said Ujesh Desai, vice president of GeForce business at NVIDIA. “Now, through our collaboration with Sonic and integrated support for Roxio CinemaNow content across our entire line of 3D Vision-capable GPUs, including the GeForce GTX 295, 285, and 275 processors, we hope to introduce millions of customers to the immersive world of 1080p 3D premium movies at home.”
3D movies from CinemaNow will be delivered via the PC, which will perform the necessary decoding to display them on both 3D-ready PC displays and 3D-ready digital TVs and projectors. Unlike older anaglyph (colored glasses) solutions, this solution provides a true and compelling 3D experience, much like that created by today’s digital-theater systems. Sonic is also collaborating with consumer electronics manufacturers in order to deliver 3D content directly to next-generation connected HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players.
“Technical advancements by industry leaders such as Mitsubishi Electric, NVIDIA and Samsung have created the necessary display and processing platforms to bring the 3D cinematic experience home,” said Dave Habiger, president and CEO, Sonic Solutions. “Now through Roxio CinemaNow we will enable consumers to conveniently access 3D entertainment instantly and enjoy its depth and impact on the small screen from the comfort of their couch.”
Sonic has relationships with more than 250 content providers and a content portfolio that includes entertainment from all major Hollywood studios and independent distributors. Roxio CinemaNow offers a massive selection of premium video entertainment for rental or purchase, including new releases from major Hollywood studios often on the same day the DVD is available in stores. CinemaNow’s cloud-based media services power devices from multiple manufacturers, forming a connected ecosystem that consumers can use to seamlessly choose, move and view video entertainment.
The CinemaNow ecosystem currently includes PCs, connected TVs, set top DVRs, Blu-ray Disc and mobile media players from leading manufacturers such as Archos, Dell, HP, LG, Microsoft, Nintendo, Pioneer, Samsung and TiVo. As well as being available on a range of consumer electronics, Roxio CinemaNow is currently powering internet movie stores for Lionsgate, Warner Bros. and Blockbuster, and is instantly accessible through Bestbuy.com.