After months of rumors and false alarms, Blockbuster has announced the acquisition of Movielink:
With thousands of movies and television shows available in its digital library for downloading, Movielink offers customers the ability to legally download entertainment content for rental (VOD) and for purchase (EST). The acquisition of Movielink, which has VOD and EST license agreements with the five founding studios, as well as more than 30 other studios, television-content distributors, and foreign and independent content providers, enables Blockbuster to offer consumers downloadable entertainment content via their PCs, portable devices, television-connected home networks and approved set-top boxes.
Since we talked about this back in March, I’ll just go ahead and quote myself:
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.
It’ll be interesting to see if Blockbuster changes the pricing structure and offers their current mail-order customers some sort of “free” or discounted downloads as Netflix does. And what are these “approved set-top boxes” ? Are we talking existing AT&T Homezone and Xbox 360, or do they have something else in mind…