Barnes & Noble's Nook line faces an uncertain future, but at least one part of it is expanding. The company has announced a long list of new partners for Nook Video, a streaming and download service announced in fall of 2012. Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Relativity Media, National Geographic, Little Pim, and Film Buff have all signed on to deliver movies and TV shows to Nook Video users, albeit presumably only those in the US. Disney, Warner Bros., Viacom, and others were part of the initial launch, and this expansion fills out some notable gaps in the catalog, adding relatively new releases like Skyfall and a list of other big-name titles.
Unlike competitor Amazon, Barnes & Noble doesn't include an all-you-can-eat subscription model. Instead, movies or shows are offered for rental and purchase, with the option to stream or download them in high or standard definition to the Nook HD and HD+. It's also more strongly tied to the physical media market: Nook Video prominently supports UltraViolet, which lets people who buy DVDs or Blu-ray discs and redeem an online copy.
The seven-distributor deal is part of Barnes & Noble's attempt to turn around Nook losses
After posting poor earnings and meager Nook sales for the 2012 holiday season, Barnes & Noble announced it would reexamine its Nook plan, saying users were more interested in multi-use tablets than e-readers — though it didn't make any hard statements about the future of the line beyond reiterating it was still "committed" to the Nook. Expanding video fits with a more generally media-focused strategy, and growing digital sales are about the only bright spot in the Nook segment, but Barnes & Noble faces bigger challenges ahead.