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Blockbuster Pushes Digital at Comic-Con

24 Jul, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The CEO of Warner Home Video's parent company, Time Warner Inc., has publicly dissed DVD rental in favor of sellthrough and cable video-on-demand, but that didn't stop Blockbuster Inc. July 24 from co-opting a strong presence at Warner's booth at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The Dallas-based DVD rental chain displayed previously announced prototype digital file kiosks whereby consumers could rent, download and purchase movies.

The kiosks, which are being tested in select Blockbuster stores in the Dallas area, allow consumers to download movies to portable devices in less than two minutes. Currently, downloads work only with Archos portable media devices. However, Blockbuster is aiming to have its kiosks eventually download to most portable media devices. The company hopes to roll out the kiosks to all stores within three years.

“Comic-Con is a great venue to reach a tech-savvy, entertainment-focused audience,” said Blockbuster spokesperson Karen Raskopf. “It's the perfect venue for us to spread the word that … we're the new Blockbuster and we're reaching out to consumers in new ways.”

Separately, Blockbuster is quietly beta testing its Movielink download service, which will be incorporated into a revamped Blockbuster Web site to be launched later this summer.

The new site will offer more than 85,000 DVD titles for rent by mail, including Blockbuster's all-in-one Total Access program; 30,000 new and previously viewed titles for purchase; more than 4,500 downloadable digital titles for purchase and 2,000 digital titles for rent.

Top rental files include Cleaner, Jumper, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Batman Begins, The Bucket List, Fool's Gold, 10,000 B.C., Witless Protection, Serenity and The Take.

Top-selling digital movies include The Bank Job; Hellboy; Shutter (unrated); Stop-Loss; Definitely, Maybe; Batman: Gotham Knight; Underworld: Evolution; Dexter: It's Alive: Season 2, Episode 1; The Invincible Iron Man; and Underworld.

Subscriptions for downloads are not required. Individual movie rental files start from $1.99; $7.99 for a movie purchase and $1.99 for TV program purchase, payable by credit card.

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