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Best Buy 'Blue Sky' Movie Service Launching Soon

4 Mar, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Best Buy’s anticipated digital-media store took another step forward with the consumer electronics retailer confirming that its nascent “Blue Sky Video by Best Buy” service would officially bow in the coming weeks.

New release rentals will be priced from $3.99, with movie purchases available from $19.99.

Upon launch, the service, which is powered by Roxio CinemaNow technology, will offer a free monthly download to Best Buy’s Reward Zone (loyalty program) members, according to a Dow Jones newswire report.

Revenue from Internet-based movie downloads and video-on-demand (VOD) is expected to top $5.3 billion by 2013, according to research firm In-Stat.

Best Buy earlier this year said it would rollout a digital media store that would include embedding movie and music downloading capabilities in select CE products.

The CE retailer earlier this year said it was testing digital store concepts at select brick-and-mortar locations in an effort to educate and gauge consumer reaction.

“The tests are in place to bring more experiential vignettes into our stores so customers can experience the digitally connected world,” said spokesperson Susan Busch-Nehring.

Ralph Schackart, digital media analyst with William Blair & Co. in Chicago, said Blue Sky (and free downloads) would not drive widespread consumer adoption of electronic sellthrough and rental movies “overnight” but does lay the foundation for future embedded devices.

“We expect these experiments to include initially free digital rentals to spur consumer adoption of digital, as well as potentially higher priced rentals before the DVD release or even late in the theatrical run,” Schackart wrote in a note to clients.

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