Sonic Acquiring DivX to Accelerate Over-the-Top Video Sales

Sonic Solutions has agreed to purchase DivX to help accelerate its rollout of over-the-top video services. By bringing DivX into the fold, Sonic will have access to a wider range of consumer electronic devices that can play back DivX-formatted video files, while enhancing its DRM protection.

Best Buy to Launch Movie Downloads

Best Buy customers can start downloading movies straight to their LG Blu-ray player soon, thanks to a new download service launched by the retailer later this month. The service will be called CinemaNow – a name that brings back memories for digital media insiders.

Video Interview: CinemaNow Could Look Beyond Sales, Subscriptions

Sonic Solutions CEO Dave Habiger thinks that consuming movies online is about to become mainstream any day now. Habiger, whose company bought the movie rental site CinemaNow in 2008, stopped by our office yesterday to tell us why he is optimistic about Internet-based movie delivery despite lackluster sales, and how he plans to take on big players like Amazon (s AMZN), Apple (s AAPL) and Wal-Mart (s WMT).
Not shares Habiger’s optimism. ScreenDigest estimates that the industry only made $291 million from download-to-own sales and Internet VOD in 2009, according to a report from Paidcontent. ScreenDigest also lowered its expectations for future online video growth, now forecasting that the industry will only make $943 million in 2014 from Internet VOD and download-to-own sales.
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Vid-Biz: Apple, Discovery, Comcast-NBCU

Apple in Push to Halve Cost of TV Shows; the company is pressing US television networks to reduce prices for TV shows offered on iTunes in order to help spur demand. (Financial Times)

Discovery Readies 3D Network for Launch this Year; Discovery says it will launch one of the first 3-D television networks later this year or in early 2011. (Beet.TV)

Comcast, NBCU File with Justice Department; the companies made a formal filing for review of their proposed merger to the the Justice Department. (Multichannel News)

Blu-ray Players to Dominate by 2013; In-Stat says significant price drops drove unit shipments of Blu-ray players to triple in North America in 2009, and predicts 80 million network-enabled Blu-ray players will ship worldwide by 2013. (Financial Times)

YouTube Distributes Lionsgate/Massify Shorts; the online video site will release film shorts jointly produced by Lionsgate and film collaboration web site Massify. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Cineplex Selects Sonic to Power Digital Movie Distribution; the Canadian theater chain has licensed Sonic’s Roxio CinemaNow platform to power a new movie streaming and download service at scheduled to launch in 2010. (press release)

Internap Provides CDN for Sundance Film Festival; Sundance will use Internap’s CDN during the festival and afterwards for creation, delivery and management of interactive web content. (press release)

Vidyo Introduces Personal Telepresence System; the VidyoRoom HD-220, the first telepresence room system based on the Intel Core i7 processing platform, is available for $6,995 and delivers support for two 1080p video streams at 30 frames per second for dual monitor support. (emailed release)

Vid-Biz: Avatar, CinemaNow, Redbox

Avatar Tops $1 Billion Worldwide; the film becomes the fourth highest grosser ever, behind Titanic ($1.8 billion), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.12 billion) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($1.07 billion). (Variety)

Sonic Solutions Updates CinemaNow Movie Service; the new Roxio CinemaNow service will have more interactivity, high-definition video support and 3-D viewing. (VentureBeat)

Redbox Rings in New Year with 2 Million Rentals; the company said it set a new one-day rental transaction record, topping the previous one-day record by 170,000 turns. (Video Business)

3-D Display Revenues Forecast to Reach $22B by 2018; DisplaySearch forecasts that the 3-D display market will grow from 0.7 million units and $902 million in revenues in 2008 to 196 million units and $22 billion in revenues in 2018. (press release)

Popbox Streams Web Content to the TV; a new wireless set-top box from Syabas that streams Netflix to TVs will be unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronics Show and will launch in stores this March for $129. (Video Business)

Theatrical Revenue Tops Movie Disc Sales in 2009; 2009 consumer spending on movie tickets exceeded the retail sales of movies on packaged video for the first time since the mid-’90s. (Video Business)

CinemaNow Taps DivX for Movie Downloads

Divx CinemaNow UPDATED Sonic Solutions (s SNIC), best known for its movie download platform Roxio CinemaNow, is partnering with DivX Inc. (s DIVX) to make its movie titles available in the DivX format. CinemaNow will launch a new web site dedicated to DivX downloads at tomorrow, with the goal of tapping into a potential market of 200 million DivX-certified devices. The partnership will also extend to download portals Sonic Solutions is operating for partners like Best Buy (s BBY) and Blockbuster (s BBI).

The deal is definitely good news for DivX, a company that has been struggling to keep up with the growing importance of Adobe’s (s ADBE) Flash. DivX laid off 10 percent of its staff a year ago, and its revenue has since been declining. DivX has been trying to turn its fate around with a number of licensing deals as well as the acquisition of Anysource Media, but it’s too early to tell whether these efforts will pay off.

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Vid-Biz: CBS, Vuguru, MGM HD

CBS Interactive Dumps Ad Networks; CBS will soon begin selling all inventory for, Gamespot, and CNET on its own, rather than use third-party ad networks. (AdAge)

Eisner’s Vuguru Hires Agility Studios’ Tanz As President; before running Agility, Tanz was president and CEO of LivePlanet, which he started with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. (paidContent)

MGM and BSkyB in Launch HD Movie Channel; MGM HD is a 50-50 joint venture between the movie studio and the broadcaster, and is the first branded channel for the studio in the UK (Broadband TV News)

Prices of Flat-Panel TVs Continue to Fall; the average price of a 32-inch LCD is $600, about half of what it was in 2006. (NY Times)

How Spike TV Is Driving Digital Revenue From the Video Game Awards; last year, 10 million people watched the awards, 2.3 million of them males 18-34. (paidContent)

Sonic Solutions Partners With verve-media for Interactive Video Commerce; will integrate the interactive commerce capabilities into its Roxio CinemaNow video service. (InteractiveTV Today)

TV Still Has a Hold on Teenagers; European teenagers spend an average of 10.3 hours a week watching television, compared with 9.1 hours on personal — rather than work- or school-related — use of the Internet. (NY Times)

CinemaNow to Power Best Buy Video Service

cinemanowBest Buy (s BBY) announced today that it will be licensing Sonic Solutions’ CinemaNow platform to power an over-the-top video delivery service for the electronics retailer. This agreement expands on the partnership the two companies entered into earlier this summer.
The multi-year deal will have Best Buy getting its CinemaNow-powered movie service embedded onto a number of connected consumer electronics devices from manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony (s SNE), Panasonic (s PC) and Best Buy’s own Insignia line of products. Movies rented or bought through the Best Buy service will be compatible across CinemaNow-enabled devices.
CinemaNow already powers the online video offerings of Blockbuster (s BBI), and is available on LG Blu-ray players, but this marks a pretty big retailer solidifying its position in the over-the-top delivery space. It also means that Best Buy will be able to push its own flavor of movie delivery through in-store promotion and education. A name for the new service will be announced in the coming weeks and the service itself will roll out over the next couple of quarters.
Last month, Best Buy entered into an agreement with Netflix (s NFLX) to put the subscription video service on its Insignia products.
CinemaNow offers 22,000 titles, and a rep for the company told us that 80 percent of its transactions are new release titles.