Sears rolls out its answer to Netflix

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Dec. 28, 2010 at 7:34 a.m.

Sears Holdings Corp. has launched its online movie download service, Alphaline Entertainment, allowing Sears and K-Mart customers to download movies the day they are released on DVD.

The service runs on Sonic Solutions’ RoxioNow platform, and the companies are working to make the services available on portable media players, mobile phones and high-definition televisions under a multi-year agreement. Plans for the service were first announced in June.

Sonic, which agreed last week to be acquired by Rovi Corp. in a deal worth about $720 million, has invested heavily in the last few years to build its infrastructure, software and device support, resulting in a string of losses. This year, it acquired digital-compression software maker DivX Inc. to enhance its online video offerings. Sonic is a top seller of online movies through CinemaNow, a collaboration with Best Buy Co.

Sears, whose results have been mixed lately, is the latest retailer to enter the online video arena. Heavyweights such as Netflix Inc., Google Inc. and Inc. dominate the digital delivery of TV shows and films.

Shares of Sears and Sonic closed Monday at $68.42 and $14.78, respectively. They were inactive premarket.

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  1. HeyNow Dec. 28, 2010 at 8:20 a.m.

    Sears would be better served putting their money into cleaning up their retail stores. They usually are dumps and their selection is sub-par, which is why they cannot consistently produce solid same-store-sales improvements. I don’t see how online movie downloads makes any strategic sense for this company. Who in their right mind says “I want to see a movie tonight…oh yeah, I’ll go to Sears!”

  2. hmmm Dec. 28, 2010 at 8:41 a.m.

    Hmmm, so where Amazon, Walmart, Blockbuster failed to make a dent to Netflix Sears, which seems to be only copying what others do and not coming up with anything new to innovate, seems to think they can make this work? I give it 12 months tops.

  3. Greg Dec. 28, 2010 at 9:16 a.m.

    Seriously. SEARS? When I think of movies, I certainly don’t think of Sears. This is a failing business from the start. The only reason why it will last as long as it does is because the company will just sink money into it in a vain attempt to prove that it is successful.

  4. bob Dec. 28, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.

    This is doomed for failure. Kmart? Sears?–Both are sub- par dumps. Sears can’t even manage the business they run now.

  5. Ian Dec. 28, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.

    Sears offering movies online?! Is it April Fool’s Day already? This is the funniest story I’ve read in a long, long time.

  6. Jason Dec. 28, 2010 at 10:17 a.m.

    Sears has been mismanaged for years. It’s an old dinosaur waiting to die.
    The sooner, the better …

  7. Scrumble Dec. 28, 2010 at 11:47 a.m.

    It’s OK with me as long as it exerts some pressure on Netflix to keep their prices down.

  8. Joe D Dec. 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    So once again Eddie Lampert shows that he is a great investor, but not an innovator. Copying Amazon with the Sears marketplace, and now Netflix? What’s next? Maybe a Greyhound bus competitor? Look out Megabus, here comes Sears!

  9. Jim Dec. 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Give it a shot. Why not. There’s an awful lot of snotty elitist reading this paper.

  10. John Dec. 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I agree competition is good. Plus, more video streaming sites out there will make Comcast look bad if they intend on piping those streaming sites on the slow lane. People won’t put up with Comcast.

  11. geno Dec. 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    sears should sell there kenmore brands at other stores like kmart and there tools and close all the sears stores

  12. AnneW Dec. 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I fail to see the major monetary investment here. If it works, and Sears earns increased revenues from renatl fees, then it seems like a no brainer. If it doesn’t work or has mixed results, the monetary investment appears to be minimal. Why so much harsh criticism of this retail giant anyway?

  13. mdee Dec. 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    “Sears Has Everything.” They had to do it. Next….?

  14. iPhoned Jan. 1 at 7:49 a.m.

    “What are you watching?”

    “Sears Streaming baby!”

    “WOW! I heard about that new technology. I was just playing with my old VOOM Satellite Receiver I bought from Sears a few years back. I know the service went bankrupt long ago, and I couldn’t take it back for a refund like I did the defunct MPEG2 DiSH receivers I bought at Costco. I’m still trying to hack it to use the ATSC tuner with the DVR. Know anything I can do with my old DiVX Disc player I bought from Circuit City? Guess I’m just a sucker for new technology, too bad I keep betting wrong.”

    Ahh, the consumer electronic format Dart Board. Everyone wants to throw their own darts at the same board…