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Blockbuster in On Demand Deal With Motorola

18 Aug, 2009 By: Stephanie Prange

Blockbuster Inc. Aug. 18 said it would include its OnDemand movie download service in select Motorola mobile phones and smartphones. The unknown models would include a Blockbuster OnDemand application.

The agreement is part of Blockbuster’s multi-channel vision to enable customers to access movie rentals and electronic sellthrough across multiple platforms and devices.

The OnDemand app is designed to search Blockbuster’s entire catalog of entertainment content and download available titles for rent or purchase, schedule movies for mail delivery, or reserve titles for pick-up at participating stores or at Blockbuster’s nascent Express rental kiosks.

The announcement offered scant details, prices or release dates related to phone use.

The mobile video space remains a work in progress despite the presence of YouTube, iTunes, AT&T’s Cellular Video and Verizon Wireless V Cast. The market is expected to experience growth over the next few years as networks and phones improve and business models emerge.

Blockbuster OnDemand is currently available in select broadband-enabled TiVo digital video recorders, Samsung home theater systems and Blu-ray Disc players, online and via a $99 set-top box made by 2Wire MediaPoint that includes 25 movie rentals. Titles thereafter rent for $1.99 each.

“People are increasingly relying on their mobile phones to stay connected to the things they love the most, including their favorite movies and TV shows,” said Kevin Lewis, SVP of digital entertainment for Blockbuster. “The integration of our Blockbuster OnDemand service into Motorola’s mobile phones will provide access to thousands of movies from the moment someone initiates their service.”

Christy Wyatt, VP of software platforms, applications and ecosystem, Motorola Mobile Devices, said the partnership intended to deliver an “unparalleled portable movie experience” on its next-generation handsets.

Edward Woo, research analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles, said the announcement was largely inconsequential considering the lack of “traction” for Blockbuster OnDemand and downloading movies to cell phones in general.

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” Woo said.

Indeed, Richard Doherty, independent technology analyst with The Envisioneering Group in Seaford, N.Y., said the number of people who download movies to their cell phone is fractional at best. He said the announcement amounted to long-term wishful thinking by Blockbuster and Motorola.

Doherty said you could probably count on one hand the number of people able to download a feature film onto a cell phone by midnight.

‘”Unless Motorola announces some new Wi-Fi partnerships or a side-load option (whereby movies are downloaded to a PC and then to a portable device), there aren’t very options available to download movies to a Motorola phone,” Doherty said.



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