On November 6, 2007, Sony Ericsson revealed a first glimpse of its new PlayNow™ arena. This marks the latest evolution of the PlayNow experience, Sony Ericsson's popular over-the-air (OTA) download service available directly from the phone menu featuring games, ringtones and full-track music. The new PlayNow arena provides end-users with an expanded content catalog, accessible via both the phone and computer, and uniquely integrates the TrackID™ music recognition service. Introduction of the enhanced PlayNow service starts in selected markets from Q2 2008 with continuous roll-out during the year.
Sony Ericsson introduced PlayNow in February 2004 as an easy way to pre-listen and then purchase polyphonic ringtones directly on the phone. The service has proved to be a hit with end-users and is now available in 32 countries around the world, with annual downloads of over 200 million through the PlayNow and Fun & Downloads channels. Since launch, the scope of the service has expanded to mirror the functionality of Sony Ericsson's phones to include mastertones (MP3 ringtones), games, full-track music, themes and wallpapers.
PlayNow arena, what's new
The new PlayNow arena will allow end-users to access a greatly expanded range of content via their mobile phone or computer, enabling OTA downloads to the phone or side-loading from a computer using Sony Ericsson's Media Manager content transfer software.
The current PlayNow catalog will be expanded to offer a wider range of premium and free content including hundreds of games from leading publishers, themes and wallpapers, in addition to millions of music tracks and thousands of mastertones from both major and independent labels. Mobile gaming will be a key area for the PlayNow arena. Statistics from M:Metrics reveal that Sony Ericsson end-users in European markets download more games to their mobile phones than users of other manufacturer's handsets.
The PlayNow arena is browser-based, requiring no new software in the phone and will be available on most Sony Ericsson phones. It will also support MP3 and Windows Media DRM-enabled devices, regardless of manufacturer, and a large proportion of the music catalog will be offered in DRM-free formats.
Focusing on the user experience, the PlayNow arena will offer end-users an interesting way to search for, discover and own content. The PlayNow catalog will be combined with Sony Ericsson's TrackID™ music recognition application (powered by Gracenote). TrackID has already attracted millions of consumers around the world, and is currently recording more than 125,000 hits a day on a wide variety of Sony Ericsson mobile phones. End-users will be able to move from TrackID to the PlayNow arena with just one click, offering an instant way to first hear a track and then download it to the phone.