Blockbuster made a quantum leap into the video downloading business Wednesday by acquiring Movielink.
“Clearly, our customers have responded favorably to having other convenient ways to access movies and entertainment,” Blockbuster chieftain James Keyes told the New York Times.
Keyes told the AP that Blockbuster could make additional acquisitions in the download business.
Blockbuster plans to run the Movielink service as a standalone and to “eventually make elements of the service available through blockbuster.com,” it said in a statement.
Blockbuster straggled into the online movie-rental business last year, going up against rent-by-mail innovator Netflix. The Movielink buy is a bid to counter Netflix’s download service.
“We have taken an important step toward being able to make movie downloading conveniently available to computers, portable devices and ultimately to the television at home,” Keyes said in the one-size-fits-all press statement.
Blockbuster also is an investor in MovieLink’s better-stocked competitor CinemaNow. The MovieLink deal comes with rights to films from the download site’s creators, the Hollywood studios Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount.
Also Wednesday, the News Corp.-NBC Universal online video venture picked up a cool $100 million from the media investors Providence Equity Partners. The so-far non-existent web site will be a home for video from Fox, NBC and the other broadcasters owned by the media companies. It also plans to host user content.