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Blockbuster Adds VOD Movies to CE Devices

22 Sep, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Inc.’s goal to provide its multi-channel brand of movie access took another step.

Sonic Solutions is incorporating software into a variety of third-party consumer electronics devices to help facilitate Blockbuster On Demand movies.

Novato, Calif.-based Sonic’s Roxio CinemaNow software, which enables distribution of digital video content, is being included in TiVo digital video recorders, Samsung high-definition televisions, home theater systems, Blu-ray Disc players and select Motorola mobile phones.

Dallas-based Blockbuster and Sonic earlier this year announced a strategic alliance aimed at furthering their brands in the CE industry. Sonic acquired Web-based movie download pioneer CinemaNow last November for $3 million in cash.

“We will continue to work together to form relationships with more top-tier device manufacturers and expand our reach to more home and mobile electronics,” Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes said in a statement.

Indeed, the No. 1 DVD rental chain yesterday said it had entered into a pact with cable operators Suddenlink, Mediacom and Avail-TVN to broaden the appeal of each company’s video-on-demand service via in-store kiosks and in-store promotions. The deal would also re-brand select VOD services under the Blockbuster label, in addition to educating cable subscribers looking for a movie not available on VOD about locating a it at Blockbuster by-mail, kiosk, in-store or electronically.

In July, Sonic said it had developed a Yahoo widget for its Roxio CinemaNow movie service, allowing those with Internet-connected HDTVs to rent and buy movies.

Separately, social network site Facebook agreed to shutter a controversial marketing program that tracked consumer habits and resulted in a lawsuit filed against it and other companies that used the software, including Blockbuster.

Specific to Blockbuster, litigants complained that movie rental selections were made public on Facebook without their consent.

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