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Blockbuster Runs Hail Mary, Quarterbacks TiVo

by March 25, 2009

As the weather gets warmer we may be more willing to go outside. But fewer of us are going outside to rent movies. That’s been the source of Blockbuster’s woes since it’s heyday in 2002 when it was the undisputed king of home video. Now the company is faced with certain death if it stays the course in the movie rental biz. If you can’t beat the in-home streaming content and DVR system – join it! TiVo has been quietly adding content partners and a Blockbuster partnership seems to be a no-brainer for both parties. 

“We are excited to be teaming with TiVo, the company that created the DVR, to make Blockbuster’s entertainment content readily available to their millions of subscribers.” So says Jim Keyes, chief executive of Blockbuster. “Ultimately our vision is to work with TiVo so that their subscribers can access movies not only through our On Demand service but also from our stores and through our by-mail service as well.” 

Blockbuster’s On Demand service will be available to TiVo subscribers with a broadband connection to their Series2, Series3, HD and HD XL set-top-boxes. As an added retail bonus for TiVo you’ll also be able to pick up its set-top-boxes at your local Blockbuster store. Although the TiVo/’Buster deal doesn’t involve a monetary exchange, TiVo units sold at any of the 4,000 Blockbuster stores will earn the video store a standard retailer’s cut. 

TiVo is a true free-agent in the streaming content battle involving Blockbuster and its competitors. TiVo has struck similar deals with Amazon and even Netflix, the company whose business model holds the formula for Blockbuster’s eventual demise. Sure there are other players in streaming content. But let’s put it this way – there are probably a lot of Netflix posters on dart boards in Blockbuster board rooms.

Blockbuster to Bust Netflix

Blockbuster hopes to strike back at its rival Netflix by offering a less-is-more approach. While Netflix offers a library of 12,000 movies online to its subscribers Blockbuster will offer far fewer. Most Netflix offerings are older movies. Blockbuster wants to make a smaller more elite library of between 5,000 to 10,000 newer films available to its customers. It’s already setting a price of $3.99 for an online rental of recent major releases like The Dark Knight. Rentals will range from $2 to $5 but you’ll be able to purchase movies online from Blockbuster for about $10. 

Blockbuster hopes the TiVo team-up will compliment Movielink, the company it purchased back in 2007 from a group of film studios. It also provides another outlet for the service delivered by its own set-to-box MediaPoint. By providing more outlets for its movie rentals it’s definitely a win-win situation for both Blockbuster and TiVo. 

Don’t expect Blockbuster to stop. There are already whispers that the movie rental company wants to make its difference on other online platforms as well. Blockbuster’s VP of digital Entertainment Kevin Lewis told Reuters it plans to provide its rentals through Apple hardware in the near future. 

“We need to be in the normal places that consumers want to wach movies.” Lewis said.

About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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Recent Forum Posts:

alexsabree posts on March 26, 2009 17:42
IndoSlim, post: 543525
They might have a pretty good thing going with this partnership with Tivo, but I'm still not going to pay $2 to $5 to rent a movie (especially given the quality of the stream!) when I already pay a monthly fee of more than $20 to get 3 movies mailed to my house at a time, of which I can exchange for 3 more free movies in the store! I don't mind going to the store that much–it is right around the corner from my house! If they offered these movies for free (like Netflix) as long as you're a member, I might be tempted. Until then, you can forget it. I'm not excited. The only reason I haven't switched to Netflix is the quality of the movies. It's as bad as trying to watch a youtube video on a 52in screen.

Even if you were able to get high quality video.. It would take days to download all that.
IndoSlim posts on March 26, 2009 15:48
It's still a “no-go” for me.

They might have a pretty good thing going with this partnership with Tivo, but I'm still not going to pay $2 to $5 to rent a movie (especially given the quality of the stream!) when I already pay a monthly fee of more than $20 to get 3 movies mailed to my house at a time, of which I can exchange for 3 more free movies in the store! I don't mind going to the store that much–it is right around the corner from my house! If they offered these movies for free (like Netflix) as long as you're a member, I might be tempted. Until then, you can forget it. I'm not excited. The only reason I haven't switched to Netflix is the quality of the movies. It's as bad as trying to watch a youtube video on a 52in screen.
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