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Blockbuster Offers 25% Discount on First Download

5 May, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Online through May 22 is offering users of Blockbuster OnDemand (previously Movielink) 25% off their first movie or TV show rental download, according to an e-mail sent to members.

The Dallas-based No. 1 DVD rental service offers digital rentals from $2.99 per title.

Current titles include Marley & Me, Slumdog Millionaire, Elegy, Bride Wars, Quantum of Solace and Yes Man, among others.

"As digital delivery continues to take shape, we believe we can drive awareness and usage and establish Blockbuster as a leading provider of digital content across multiple platforms, expanding our brand, our leadership position in media entertainment and relationships with our customers as a trusted entertainment provider,” said Bruce Anderson, SVP and general manager, Blockbuster OnDemand.

Blockbuster last November unveiled a broadband set-top box that allows users to watch video-on-demand (VOD) movies from the Internet on the television. The MediaPoint player, manufactured by 2Wire, is available for free with the advance rental of 25 first-run movies and TV shows for $99.

Perceived as operating a store-centric packaged media business model in an emerging digital era, Blockbuster earlier this year struck streaming deals with TiVo and Sonic Solution, owners of download service CinemaNow.

“Blockbuster is trying to stay relevant,” said independent analyst Rob Enderle, a proponent of electronic distribution of entertainment.

He said Blockbuster would have to subsidize streaming to subscribers if it hopes to bridge the digital divide with rival Netflix.

Edward Woo, analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities, which covers Blockbuster, said the download promotion indicates Blockbuster OnDemand isn’t getting much traction due to limited awareness by consumers and the incomplete success of other download services from Amazon and Apple.

Giving digital content away isn’t much of an option either.

“Blockbuster can't afford to give it [away] as their content is newer and more expensive than the older and cheaper [streaming] content on Netflix,” Woo said.

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