Last week, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment signed an agreement with rental company Rentrak to offer revenue sharing on Blu-ray titles. Some are calling this an aggressive move by Sony, bordering on on anti-competitive. But as far as I can tell, it's a fair play that's probably pretty smart.Rentrak is a go-between company for independent rental companies and movie studios. They allow rental companies to lease films instead of purchasing them, on the basis that a piece of every rental is shared with the studio (and of course, Rentrak). Many major movie studios already participate in the program—including Sony—but the difference at hand is that the titles now extend to Sony's Blu-ray offerings as well as their standard DVD offerings. That's it.
While Blu-ray's competitive practices have been questioned in Europe, and the specific details of Rentrak's Blu-ray profit sharing are undisclosed, to claim something newly evil has occurred is overstepping the bounds of our current knowledge. For now, Sony is playing a card that's been played in the past in order to subsidize otherwise expensive Blu-ray title adoption for rental houses. [Rentrak via engadgetHD]