Left To Its Devices, Sony Wants To Play The Game With Netflix And Amazon

Longtime content entertainment device maker Sony Corp. wants to finally get consumers into a better mindset concerning its digital devices connecting with entertainment content.

Sony wants to tie in premium TV content from Netflix or Amazon with the sale of a device, perhaps at a discount.

Reports suggest Sony would be willing to cut the price on tablets, other mobile devices, PlayStations and Blu-ray players f it could get the likes of p big cable programmers like Discovery, NBCUniversal and News Corp. to go along with the new video-on-demand service.

Much has been made about Sony perhaps wanting to take a shot at what other big media and technology companies always seem to be doing -- taking on the major cable system operators.

I doubt Sony wants to compete on that level. But it wouldn't mind being on the level of a Netflix or. In particular, Amazon, considering the latter’s just-launched Kindle Fire tablet.



Other device-focused companies like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung would also like to head in this direction. Consumers buying new devices don't want to be slowed down by not being able to access all the programming they are used to getting. Google has already misstepped here with Google TV (of which Sony is a partner) and to a lesser extent with Apple TV.

From a TV content provider’s point of view, the more access to devices the better. The biggest rub, of course, is to create a financial model that all TV producers, content providers and major entertainment device manufacturers can stomach. (Advertising share of revenues? License fees? User fees?) 

What will move consumers? In these iffy economic times, we all know their price. Any capitalist society believes – in theory -- that more competition will result in cheaper entertainment .

On one side, Sony has a couple of things going for it. It is sort of an outsider, since it does not own any established broadcast or cable network. That makes for less complicated financial partnerships. Also, Sony is primarily a maker of consumer entertainment equipment, not the owner of an existing big digital online entertainment service.

Sony can only hope that by growing consumer pricing at some decent level, it will create a viable financial model with a sustainable consumer scale -- kind of what the Walkman gave the company decades ago.

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