According to the Wall Street Journal (via non-subscription sites), Blockbuster is in “advanced talks” to pick up Movlielink for under $50 million. Movielink, of course, is an online movie download service (using Microsoft’s video format and content protection, like rival CinemaNow). They were a pioneer in this space (long before iTunes and Netflix showed up) and were actually created by the studios, which most folks either don’t know or seem to have forgotten:
Movielink is owned by a joint venture of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.
The purchase strikes me as a positive move for both companies… assuming they can pull it off. Movielink gets an audience (they’re pretty much unknown outside my geeky circle) and Blockbuster gets an immediate online download presence to compete with Netflix.
Unlike Netflix Watch Now, Movielink movies don’t require an Internet connection to watch — useful for the business traveler in the air (I’ve rented movies from them for this purpose in the past). Movielink also allows purchases, in addition to rentals, and I’m assuming their current catalog is much larger (and current) than Netflix’s.