For Sony music and video, PlayStation is now the name of the game
By bringing gaming, music and video under the Playstation brand, Sony positions itself to compete with streaming services like Netflix and Google Play.
Ben Fox RubinFormer senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The name "PlayStation" has suddenly become an even more significant part of Sony's future.
The Japanese media and electronics conglomerate said Thursday it is bringing the Sony Entertainment Network digital video and music services under the PlayStation Network brand and renaming them PlayStation Video and PlayStation Music, respectively.
While the PlayStation Network was created as a hub for online gaming and other digital content, Sony said it now wants to expand the network business to include all forms of digital media, including movies, TV and music.
The overhaul of the Sony Entertainment Network comes just after Sony and Spotify announced Wednesday that they are teaming up to create PlayStation Music and that Sony would end its on-demand digital music service, Music Unlimited.
By creating a one-stop-shop for gaming, music and video, Sony may be able to compete better against popular streaming services like Netflix and digital media stores, like Google Play, while also helping it bring together its disparate services under one roof. Also, the rebranding could help bolster Sony's financial picture by tying more services to the popular PlayStation name. While Sony's mobile division has been a major drag on business, the gaming and network services segment has posted strong results, thanks in part to sales of the new PlayStation 4 gaming console.
The Video Unlimited service, to be rebranded PlayStation Video, offers movies and TV shows for purchase or rental, but it is different than Sony's streaming-video service, Crackle, which offers more content for free. The PlayStation Video service essentially will be the same as its predecessor, offering more than 200,000 movies and TV shows on PlayStation gaming consoles, Sony devices and PCs.
Additionally, Sony will be rolling out a new live and on-demand streaming-video service, called PlayStation Vue, during the first quarter. PlayStation Vue was first introduced in November and is now being tested in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
The new music service will become available this spring, rolling out at first to PlayStation consoles and Sony's Xperia smartphones and tablets. The name changes will be phased in gradually, starting next month, Sony said.
Sony said Thursday that its PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network have more than 64 million active monthly users, as of December.