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Blockbuster Online Joins With Napster for Download Card

23 Nov, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

Blockbuster has upped the online rental ante with a Napster partnership offering a “Digital Duo” card that lets users download music and rent DVDs online for $20 a month.

“We believe people who like the convenience of going online for their music are going to like being able to do the same for their movies, especially when they can get great value and selection in the process,” said Blockbuster Online director of acquisition marketing and business development Ben Cooper. “Together, with the Digital Duo card, Blockbuster Online and Napster can deliver the ultimate in online entertainment.”

The deal sweetens the pot in an online rental price war launched when Netflix circled its wagons and shaved $4 off its subscription price, settling at $17.99 a month for a three-out plan. Blockbuster countered with a $17.49 monthly price that includes two free in-store movie or game rentals. Now for $3.50 more, users get access to Napster's online library and may download two songs.

While online rental pioneer Netflix offers DVD rentals only, competitor Wal-Mart offers a three-out DVD rental program for $17.36 a month and a la carte music downloads for 88 cents apiece. Wal-Mart claims a library of more than 400,000 songs, while Napster claims 1 million.

The Digital Duo cards, valued at $29.42, will be distributed exclusively through the more than 5,000 RadioShack stores in the United States. RadioShack already offers Napster prepaid cards, including a $14.85 15-song download card and will also carry Napster's $49.40 60-song music download card.

“Blockbuster Online has the instant brand recognition and massive catalog that make it the natural partner for Napster, and we're excited to be introducing the Digital Duo card together,” said Napster SVP of business development Larry Linietsky.” Aligning the complementary subscription services to offer consumers a better value is a win-win for everyone. Now you can listen to music from Napster while you browse for DVD titles on Blockbuster Online. We expect this to be an extremely popular gift item during the holidays at RadioShack.”

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