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Blockbuster Denies Reported VOD Launch Abroad

15 Sep, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Inc.'s move toward offering video-on-demand content in Europe would appear to be premature, according to a company spokesperson.

The No. 1 video rental company's London-based Blockbuster Digital Entertainment (BDE) subsidiary earlier this month at a trade show in Amsterdam collaborated with ADB, a Swiss set-top-box manufacturer; BitBand, a Milpitas, Calif.-based Internet video content distributor; and London-based digital pay TV supplier NDS to showcase a VOD service set to launch in 2006.

Steve Middleton, European director of new media for BDE, reportedly said the company had dedicated a team of 12 staffers to market and support the service.

“We want to be a big player in this market,” Middleton told New Media Age. “We have an awful lot of experience here that I'd like to capitalize on.”

Blockbuster corporate spokesperson Karen Raskopf denied the existence of a pending VOD service or dedicated staff in England, saying the company uses a support system staff that looks at VOD while working at Blockbuster Online in the United Kingdom.

“I'm assuming our employee was misquoted,” Raskopf said.

She said while Blockbuster continues to “look and explore” VOD, she believed the news story was the result of a press release that was sent out Sept. 8 about a trade show in Amsterdam and Blockbuster's involvement with a company to look at the on-demand platform.

“There is no new program here,” Raskopf said. “There is no test to announce. We have continued to study and explore the VOD space, and we believe the company is well positioned to be a force in the VOD arena if and when a viable economic model emerges.”

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