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SONY to launch Broadband entertainment site


LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Sony is launching a high-speed Internet entertainment service it hopes will succeed where similar attempts to feature original content on the Web have failed.

Sony Screenblast will combine elements of other online entertainment sites that have tried to replicate a movie studio or a music recording studio on the Web. The service is aimed at 18- to 24-year-old ``early adopters'' of high-speed, or broadband, Internet access and people comfortable using video and audio editing tools such as Apple Computer's Final Cut.

Sony also hopes Screenblast will boost its line of digital cameras, handheld computers, portable music players and other hardware.

But Screenblast faces enormous challenges, not the least of which is that Web sites that have either offered original content or have showcased original film and animation have failed and those sites that survive are fighting to attract an audience and turn a profit.

``Everybody's assuming that as you move into the digital age and more pictures are online that everyone is going to want to play photo editor and as more music is available online everyone wants to play DJ,'' said P.J. McNealy, senior research analyst at Gartner Dataquest.

That hasn't worked for such sites as the defunct Icebox, which featured animation produced by seasoned television writers, or AtomShockwave, which is struggling to stay afloat by offering short films and animation produced by amateurs.

``Sony formed Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment to try and begin building a bridge between Sony Pictures content and Sony devices,'' said Yair Landau, president of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.

The Web site, which launches this fall, offers an introductory level of Internet-based editing tools and clips from Sony movies, such as ``Men in Black'' and tracks from Sony recording artists. Users can remix the audio from a song, removing the bass line or enhancing a vocal track, for instance, and play their new creation.

On the movie side, users will be able to mix and match certain scenes from movies, add basic visual effects such as fade-in, select from soundtrack options, then play back their own versions.
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