Feeds

Blockbuster reels in MovieLink

Incurable NetFlix envy

Remote control for virtualized desktops

In its ongoing tit-for-tat battle with online movie-rental pioneer NetFlix, Blockbuster has acquired MovieLink, the web-based download service founded by the big-name Hollywood studios in 2002.

Following several months of negotiation, the worldwide rental chain snapped up the service for less than $20m, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"Blockbuster is committed to keeping pace with the changing needs of customers by offering them an expanding array of convenient ways to access entertainment content," said Blockbuster chairman and CEO Jim Keyes. "Our acquisition of Movielink, with its associated digital content, is the next logical step in our planned transformation of Blockbuster." MovieLink draws its online flicks from the libraries of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney Pictures, and more.

Since it opened for business in 1998, the plucky NetFlix has dealt a serious blow to Blockbuster's brick-and-mortar rental stores, perfecting the art of taking rental orders over the web and shipping flicks through the mail. Blockbuster recently followed suit with its own discs-through-the-mail service, Total Access, which allows customers to rent through the company's retail stores as well as online, but NetFlix still dominates the web market, boasting nearly 4 million more customers.

Meanwhile, after pulling down nearly $1bn revenues in 2006, the Silicon Valley company launched its own video-on-demand service, Watch Now, in January of this year, letting users stream flicks straight from the web. With MovieLink, Blockbuster hopes to compete on this front as well.

The Journal reports that the big studios spent more than a $100m building MovieLink's download service, and with scant funds left over for marketing, the site has failed to reach a wide audience. According to the latest numbers from research firm NPD Group, which predate the debut of the NetFlix streaming service, Apple's iTunes dominates the paid downloads market with a 90 per cent share, compared with MovieLink's 3 per cent.

"The studios' goal with the Movielink service has always been to make digital entertainment content more conveniently, more widely and more securely available to consumers. This acquisition should further that goal," said MovieLink CEO Jim Ramo. "With Blockbuster's ability to leverage its store network, online assets, and marketing expertise, Blockbuster should be able to grow the market for digitally-delivered entertainment content, and we believe that's good news for consumers and content providers alike." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.