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Sony brings Screenblast to stores

The software programs, which let people edit, enhance and share digital videos, photos or music files, are making their first appearance on store shelves Wednesday.

Sony's Screenblast software programs, which let people edit, enhance and share digital videos, photos or music files, are making their first appearance on store shelves Wednesday, as the company tries to capture holiday shopping dollars.

The programs, from Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, have previously only been available through download. This week, however, the Culver City, Calif.-based company will start selling its Screenblast Movie Studio and Screenblast Music Studio in retail outlets nationwide, including Best Buy, CompUSA, Micro Center, Sony Style and Sony Gallery.

The programs will also be available online at Amazon.com. Amazon is currently taking orders for both packages, which sell for $69.95 each, and will start shipping the products Nov. 1, according to its Web site.

Sony launched the Screenblast products in September 2001, offering film and animation makers publishing tools to create video, animation and music and to share their work online. Earlier this year, the effort fell victim to the weak economy. In February, Sony laid off 30 percent of the staff working on the Screenblast site as the result of a prolonged downturn in advertising sales, the company said at the time. The site does not display advertising now, however.

With the in-store release of the programs, Sony is aiming to piggyback sales for the video-editing software on the demand for its brand of digital cameras and camcorders this holiday season.

The Consumer Electronics Association predicts that U.S. sales of analog and digital camcorders combined will reach about 5.8 million units this year, generating revenue of $2.3 billion. Of those camcorders, 2.34 million will be digital. For digital still cameras, the forecast is for 7.5 million units sold and revenue also around $2.3 billion.

"Screenblast leverages our legacy as an entertainment company, as well as Sony's leadership as a global electronics brand, to give consumers new context and relevancy for their digital devices," Patrick Kennedy, Sony Digital Entertainment executive vice president, said in a statement.

The film-editing software lets people pull up movie footage and visual effects created by Sony's Hollywood studio to improve their home videos. It also includes tutorials and graphics. The Screenblast Music Studio software lets people create their own music, make custom CDs or add soundtracks to videos.