Sony Testing New PlayStation Video Streaming Service
Sony has confirmed reports that it is in the midst of rolling out a one year free trial of an experimental service called PlayStation Plus Video Pass. The trial is currently only available in Poland and the service will allow subscribers access to streaming content like movies and TV shows as Sony looks for ways to boost subscriptions to PlayStation Plus.
Sony Interactive Entertainment’s global services VP Nick Maguire said that the new service would be a free app available to PS4 and PS5 owners who currently have an active PlayStation Plus subscription. Interestingly, the service will also include 15 movies and 6 TV shows owned by Sony Pictures.
Sony’s biggest competition in this field is Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, an online roster of games that Xbox users can download and play. Adding a streaming component to PlayStation Plus would allow Sony to increase the value of its service compared to its competitor. The right content could also potentially attract viewers who aren’t primarily gamers, a coveted demographic.
It’s not their first effort. Sony’s abandonment of their live TV streaming service PlayStation Vue last year saw the company stating at the time that it intended to focus on its “core gaming business.” Confusion over the name, which implied that it required a PlayStation console and was not available anywhere else (it eventually was!), may have been a contributing factor to its failure. While it’s unclear if this new PlayStation Plus Video Pass will be limited to console owners, Sony might do well to reconsider the name this time around if they plan to roll it out to other outlets.
Sony’s musical chairs approach to finding a home for its library amidst a maze of contractual obligations and intellectual property holdings has been an issue that has not gone unnoticed. Spider-Man’s absence from the otherwise almost complete library of films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe available on Disney+ has been a glaring omission that a fresh deal between the entertainment giants looks to remedy. A new agreement has been forged that will put Sony’s web slinger back into the Disney+ mix along with the rest of their 2022-2026 roster after fulfilling their 18 month obligation on Netflix. This is sure to put yet another chip in the streaming giant’s armor as it sees competitors continue to nibble away at its status.
Netflix has reason to sweat. Aside from dipping into its film legacy, Sony is poised to be a heavy hitter when it comes to new anime programming with its ownership of both Funimation and Crunchyroll. The stage is set for battle as Netflix has set up shop in Korea and Japan to pour money into its own original anime content.
With Sony playing the field with regard to its movies and the company’s testing of their own proprietary streaming service, it’s plain to see that they’re exploring all options when it comes to maximizing profit and looking to the future of their entertainment brands.