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Sony follows Warner Bros.' aggressive new pursuit of digital market

Following Warner Bros.' declaration yesterday that its digital-distribution arm would release movies via Facebook, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced today that its home-entertainment brand is introducing new features "on select digital movie purchases." It's one more indication that Hollywood's major studios -- when they approach home entertainment -- are focusing intensely, if not exclusively, on digital services.

Films containing SPHE's "enhanced digital movie features" are available on iTunes. The iTunes versions of "Burlesque" and "The Other Guys" enable viewers to use (1) an "Enhanced Search" that jumps "to exact spots in the movie where [a] keyword appears; (2) a "Clip & Share" function that allows them "to choose among a selection of film clips that can be shared instantly on Facebook and Twitter"; and (3) an 'Interactive Music Playlist" that connects them "to the exact scene where a song is featured in a film" and to "the iTunes Music Store for easy purchase of soundtrack albums and select songs."

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A Sony release also states, "Available on iTunes March 22, 'The Tourist' will offer 'Clip & Share' and 'Enhanced Search.' On the same day, 'How Do You Know' will offer 'Clip & Share.' "

Is there a game of catch-up going on here? Sony is offering "film clips that can be shared instantly on Facebook and Twitter," while Warner Bros. is already putting out all of "Dark Knight" via Facebook.

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