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Sony turns to video to boost music service

Connect to offer movies 'within a year'

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Sony will add video downloads to its Connect online music service, the head of the consumer electronics giant's Sony Pictures Entertainment has revealed.

"Sony Connect will not be just a music service but also a video business within the next year," said Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in an interview with the Financial Times today.

The announcement should come as no great surprise. Sony has had its eye on the delivering entertainment content via broadband links for some time. In the late 1990s, for instance, it even placed its movies, music and computer games divisions under an umbrella Sony Broadband operation.

In the shorter term, Sony also needs to provide improvements to help it compete more effectively with rivals Napster, Apple's iTunes Music Store and the upcoming Virgin Digital, which may also be looking beyond music to other forms of content it can sell.

Sony is already a partner in Movielink a US-only Internet distribution company, alongside studios Paramount, Universal, Warner Bros and MGM. Movielink could act as a source for Sony Connect's video offering.

Sony Connect launched in the US in May and in Europe in July. The service has been criticised for its explicit tie-in to Sony's MiniDisc players, which are incompatible with other audio formats. ®

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