RIM moves to sell movies, music to BlackBerry 10 users
RIM announced Monday that it will sell music and videos to consumers directly from its BlackBerry World app store. While many details remain unknown—and will hopefully become clearer, when RIM formally unveils BlackBerry 10 in New York City on Wednesday—this news underscores how seriously RIM is in trying to take on Apple and Google.
Previously, RIM simply partnered with an outside supplier to offer digital music and video. But that approach means RIM loses control of the direct relationship with user. From the user standpoint, you're dealing with a third-party that isn't RIM, and well, isn't an industry monolith like Apple's iTunes, Google's Play, or even Amazon's own music store.
Moving movie and music sales under BlackBerry World makes a lot of sense for RIM and for users of the new mobile operating system. Doing so can provide a competitive experience to Google's Play, for example, and introduces consumers to a unified, RIM-branded storefront that handles a wide range of content needs in this new BlackBerry era.
It also makes sense from a branding perspective: RIM recently renamed its BlackBerry App World store to simply BlackBerry World. The reason for doing so is now crystal clear.
The real trick here will lie in the details. Can RIM be competitive on price and selection? And how freely can you use the content beyond the confines of your BlackBerry?
BlackBerry World content
In Monday's announcement, RIM said BlackBerry World will have an “extensive catalog” of music, movies, and TV shows, complete with content from “all major studios, music labels and top local broadcast networks.” Available content will vary by market and will be available first in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Among the video download and rental participants in the store are 20thCentury Fox, Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros; and regional and independent studios like Entertainment One (eOne), National Film Board of Canada, Starz Digital Media, and StudioCanal.
For television, participants include ABC Studios, BBC Worldwide, CBC/Radio-Canada, CBS, DHX Media, ITV, National Geographic, Nelvana, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Starz Digital Media, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Univision Communications Inc, and Warner Bros.
While seeing some heavy hitters missing for the U.S. market (for example, Sony) doesn't seem too odd, it does seem strange that Universal Studios movies and NBCUniversal television will only be available in the United Kingdom.
The BlackBerry store will offer track previews and DRM-free music from major and independent labels including: 4AD Records, Domino Recording Company, finetunes, Matador Records, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, Rough Trade Records, Sony Music Entertainment, The Orchard, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, XL Recordings, and Zebralution.
The music section will initially be available in 18 countries: Canada, the United States, the U.K, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.
It all sounds like a promising start. Hopefully, we'll learn even more on Wednesday. Join us then for our live blog from the RIM BlackBerry 10 launch event.