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Blockbuster Ups Blu-ray Presence

11 Apr, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Inc. said it would begin installing nearly 5,000 kiosks in corporate stores selling and renting Blu-ray movies.

The Dallas-based No. 1 rental company last year committed itself to the format early when it made Blu-ray rentals exclusively available at 1,700 of its company-owned locations.

The Blu-ray kiosks feature a 42-inch high-definition television playing movies via a Sony PlayStation 3 game console.

Spokesperson Randy Hargrove said the kiosk initiative is being done in association with multiple studio support.

“We're installing them to further highlight the availability of Blu-ray in our stores and let customers experience the movie-viewing advantages of this high-definition technology,” Hargrove said. “It also will drive home that point that PS3 consoles double as Blu-ray players.”

Since becoming CEO, Jim Keyes has reiterated a desire to re-position Blockbuster as both a rental and retail movie convenience store.

In analyst calls, he has also mentioned interest in pursuing rental kiosks and digital distribution, the latter through its Movielink service and/or portable flash drives.

Blockbuster also activated a Blu-ray link for online subscribers so they can indicate automatically whether they would like to receive rentals in the format.

“With this national rollout, we believe Blockbuster is perfectly positioned to drive consumer adoption of this next generation DVD format and to become the customer's headquarters when it comes to renting or buying Blu-ray movies, whether in-store or online,” said David Podeschi, SVP, merchandising, distribution and logistics at Blockbuster.

Blockbuster operates more than 7,800 stores globally.

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