Sony’s PlayStation group is throwing in the towel on its digital movie and TV transactional VOD business.
As of Aug. 31, 2021, the PlayStation Store will stop offering movie and TV show purchases and rentals. Sony said it is exiting the transactional VOD business — after more than a decade — because it sees more PlayStation users adopting free and subscription streaming-video services.
“At SIE, we strive to provide the best entertainment experience for PlayStation fans, and that means evolving our offerings as customer needs change,” Vanessa Lee, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s head of video business, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “We’ve seen tremendous growth from PlayStation fans using subscription-based and ad-based entertainment streaming services on our consoles.”
Sony is shutting down its digital video store after double-digit growth in the sector in 2020 amid the pandemic. In the U.S. last year, electronic sell-through sales rose 16% to $3 billion and VOD rentals were up 18%, to $2.3 billion, according to trade group DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
But it’s a crowded space, with rivals including Apple’s iTunes, Amazon Video, Comcast-owned Fandango and Vudu, Google Play and Roku. Sony evidently concluded that incremental TVOD revenue generated via the PlayStation Store wouldn’t be worth the ongoing investment required to keep it going.
After PlayStation Store stops selling and renting VOD titles, customers will still be able to access movie and TV content they purchased through PlayStation Store for on-demand playback on PS4 and PS5 consoles and mobile devices.
Sony’s exit from the transactional VOD business comes after the company shuttered its virtual pay-TV service, PlayStation Vue, in January 2020, citing “expensive content and network deals.”
Sony first launched video rentals and sales in the PlayStation Store in July 2008, having inked distribution pacts with major studios.