Sony’s (SNE) next big growth push, outlined by CEO Howard Stringer in Tokyo: Video downloads and Internet access on as many gadgets as possible, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sony will start with movies and other videos on its Playstation 3 video game consoles this summer — which we already knew was coming — and will expand the download service to its Internet-connected Bravia TVs, music players, computers, etc.
This isn’t a new idea, of course. A handful of companies are already offering Internet movie downloads and rentals, including Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), etc. But Sony has its advantages, including a movie studio — which will allow it to release some movies, like “Hancock,” as digital downloads before they’re available on DVD — and millions of PS3s already in peoples’ homes. (We’re not sure how many Sony Bravia TV owners already have the required Internet link, but that will be built in to future editions.)
The challenge: Making a buying/rental experience that’s easier/cheaper/better to use than the one already built in to your cable box. So far Apple TV + iTunes hasn’t really taken off, and we think a big reason is that on-demand cable movie rentals are just as easy as iTunes downloads, and look the same, if not better. It’s certainly not too late for Sony — this market is just getting started — but they’re not the only ones vying for your eyeballs.
Meanwhile, Stringer also vowed to make Sony’s TV and gaming businesses profitable this current fiscal year, ending March 2009, the WSJ says.
Photo: Asa Mathat, AllThingsD