Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Scoop! Sony has no plans for an iTunes for Hollywood says senior exec

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 18, 2005

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

UPDATE: [Please see Sony clarifies online strategy]

A top executive at Sony America told SiliconValleyWatcher.com that it has no plans to create an "iTunes for Hollywood" saying that a senior Sony Pictures executive misspoke at a recent conference.

Steve Banfield, senior vice president at Sony Connect, the online music store, said that it had no plans to produce an online movie download store modeled along the lines of Apple Computer's iTunes digital music download store and software. He said that the Sony executive making the claim was not speaking about any Sony project in the works.

Less than three weeks ago, Michael Arrieta, senior vice president of Sony Pictures, said at the Digital Hollywood Conference that Sony had big plans for online movie sales. From the Cnet News.com story: Hollywood seeks iTunes for film.

"We want to set business models, pricing models, distribution models like (Apple Computer CEO Steve) Jobs did for music, but for the film industry," Michael Arrieta, senior vice president of Sony Pictures, said at the Digital Hollywood conference here. "I'm trying to create the new 'anti-Napster,'" he added.To that end, Arrieta said, his group plans to digitize Sony Pictures' top 500 films and make them available for the first time in various digital environments within the next year. He said the distribution for films like "Spider-Man 2" will go beyond just Movielink, the video-on-demand joint venture of Sony Pictures and several other major studios, which to date has hosted a limited library of Sony's movies.

Mr Banfield said Sony was digitizing its movies, and it would also allow some clips of its digital video to be used royalty-free for video mashup projects, in which music and video footage is remixed, sometimes in live performance.

But Sony was not concerned about creating an iTunes for Hollywood. He said that it did not matter to Sony, or other movie producers, who would sell digital movies online, and that it already had its own store, Sony Connect. He also said that Sony understood the online music market very well from its involvement in several high profile online music sites.

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