By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Best Buy has bolstered its online operation by launching two new Web sites that provide entertainment content and digital downloads. Both are linked to the company's online store, bestbuy.com.
The former, called Best Buy Entertainment (www.bbe.bestbuy.com), provides information on, and demos and media clips of, movies, music and games. Music content includes band biographies and interviews, tour schedules, music charts, digital sampler downloads and more than 20 Internet radio stations. The film section offers movie trailers, new release information, box office results, actor bios and DVD rentals, while the gaming area provides previews of new hardware and software, screenshots of upcoming releases and player hints.
Content partners include Billboard Online, The Hollywood Reporter, NetRadio Corp., RollingStone.com and GameSpy.com. Companies providing functionality include Akamai (streaming media and graphics); divine (site interface and infrastructure design); Liquid Audio (digital music downloads); and Video Pipeline (streaming video clips).
According to the company, the site was created to further fortify its multi-channel, click-and-mortar strategy by providing a "fun" format in which customers can make informed purchasing decisions — and ostensibly fulfill them through Best Buy's stores or Web site.
"Best Buy Entertainment is central to our strategy to offer Best Buy customers a complete entertainment experience combining a compelling online experience with our … retail operation," said Scott Young, VP/entertainment for Best Buy subsidiary BestBuy.com.
Planned enhancements include integrated subscription services, online game play and enhanced navigation.
Meanwhile, Best Buy's new digital download site, powered by RioPort and Liquid Audio, offers downloads from EMI, AOL Time Warner and BMG. The company says the site, which went live last month, positions it as the first traditional retailer with the ability to provide commercial downloads from all five major labels. It expects to add other major labels to the roster in the near future.
The site allows consumers to purchase popular music downloads regardless of format or digital rights management solution being used, and provides easy access to their online music account. Customers can also readily track their online purchases.
Said Young, "Our new digital download site will provide music customers compelling digital media offers from a broad group of label sources, and provides us with another tool to drive the market for new digital services as they develop." He added that Best Buy is committed to expanding its assortment of digital entertainment products and services.
The site is accessible through bestbuy.com, or at rioport.com/bestbuy and liquid.com/bestbuy.
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