Blockbuster to Get VOD via Movielink?


Blockbuster is again in talks to acquire studio-owned online movie service Movielink for less than $50 million in cash and stock, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Blockbuster, having worked its tail off to compete with Netflix in the mail-order DVD business, is looking for a quick and cheap way to get into video on demand. Netflix, of course, started rolling out its own digital movie rental service in January, and it’s certainly not the only player in the space. By the end of this year Netflix will have spent about $50 million of its own money on its internally built service.

Movielink launched in 2002 with $150 million from the founding studios, and when in talks with Blockbuster last year had been valued at about $70 million, according to BusinessWeek. Movielink is currently owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios. Its service, which includes both movie rentals and downloads, only supports Windows users in the United States.

paidContent’s Rafat Ali notes other potential Movielink acquirers have included Comcast, AT&T, private investors, and SanDisk at one time or another over the last two years.

Earlier this week Blockbuster reported its fourth-quarter earnings were down 28 percent, and said it has a payment dispute with its own CEO.

See this great article in Variety from earlier this month for background on the trials and tribulations of the online movie business through the years.

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