Everyone else is doing it, so why not Sears? The discount department store chain has just launched its own branded movie download service. The back end of the service will be completely powered by RoxioNow, a digital download platform from Sonic Solutions that has already been used by Best Buy and Blockbuster.
The Sears platform, which will also be marketed as a Kmart product, won't bring a whole lot new to the table. Prices are widely expected to be exactly what other services charge.
The market of movie downloads is split into two categories - subscription services and the more conventional pay-per-view. In the former, Netflix is the undisputed leader.
When it comes to pay-per-movie content, advantages to consumers are that they don't have to pay a monthly fee, can pay different rates based on what kind of video definition they want, and have access to the latest movies. Netflix doesn't get movies until at least 30 days after they're released on home video.
Other services like Amazon's video on demand, Walmart's Vudu, and Best Buy's CinemaNow are already earning recognition and loyalty from customers. Game consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360 also have their own digital download platforms.
So it's a very competitive market for Sears to enter at this relatively late point in the game. Sears also isn't exactly known for its place in the technology sector, so this move is a puzzling one at best.
Nevertheless, Sears and Kmart have millions of loyal customers, and if they can attract just a small percentage of them to come over to the digital download world, it may be a profitable venture.