Sony to offer film on internet television



It is the latest experiment in Hollywood’s effort to find a way to compensate for the steep decline in profits from home entertainment.

The move is significant because it represents the latest tinkering with the movie industry’s release windows, something Hollywood has long been reluctant to do out of fear of upsetting the profitability of DVD sales and angering its most important retailer, Wal-Mart.

But with the decline in DVD sales, off as much as 25 percent at some studios, finding new ways to distribute movies has become a necessity. The price of the film, $24.95, is high enough not to alienate retailers, Sony said.

“We don’t need a war with Wal-Mart or any other organization, and I don’t think they’re hostile to this,” said Howard Stringer, the chief executive of Sony. “It will make televisions more valuable, and that’s a good thing.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment, the only Hollywood studio tethered to a major hardware manufacturer, is in a unique position to experiment with selling movies directly to consumers through television sets, in this case Sony’s Bravia Internet-enabled sets.  As part of this experiment, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” will also be available through Sony’s networked Blu-ray Disc players, which came on the market last month.

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