Sears Goes High Tech With Video Streaming


One imagines the person above represents the typical Sears customer… Will this news lure the person below?


As reported by Gary Kim on TMCnet, Sears is now launching a new streaming video service under its Alphaline brand which is expected to provide a full line of consumer electronic products.Unlike subscription based competitors you do not need any sort of long-term commitment to use the service which prices new releases frequently at $3.99 per rental while TV episodes are priced at $1.99 per rental.

Powered by Sonic’s RoxioNow backend, just like Best Buy and Blockbuster, the service will be embedded in a variety of connected Blu-ray players, mobile devices and TVs.

A few thoughts come to mind… It seems television episodes are priced high when compared to movie releases. I wonder if $0.99 or $1.29 isn’t a more reasonable episode price.

Moreover, with so much competition in the space and the ability for new retailers to easily come to the market via the use of Sonic’s RoxioNow backend, we can expect there to be a race to zero in content distribution. Obviously content providers will always have some pricing power so we can’t get to zero unless sponsorships and/or ads make up the cost.

Speaking of racing to zero, Tom Keating just reported on his TMCnet blog that Axvoice is pursuing this race with its unlimited VoIP service for just $99 per year. He points out the cost is under the important psychological barrier which would be $100.

In a way, Sonic’s service reminds me of Level 3 in the early days of VoIP service. The carrier’s carrier dealt with much of the backend for retail IP communications providers and helped get a great deal of companies into the space more quickly

And just like VoIP in fact, movie distribution will become a more competitive business as Best Buy, Blockbuster, Sears and others take share from Netflix, cable and IPTV companies. The question is how much traction will these companies ultimately gain and will they scale large enough to make the video endeavor worthwhile?

And for Sears, a company with a stodgy brand, this move could possibly make it a little more hip which may even help its sales in other areas.

See Also from TMCnet’s Telecommunications community:

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