Blockbuster bags Movielink

10 08 2007

Blockbuster has acuired Movielink LLC, the online movie downloads service established by five major Hollywood studios in 2002. Terms were not disclosed.

The Wall Street Journal claims a source familiar with the deal put the acquisition price tag at “less than $20 million”. paidContent puts it lower still: “we do know that there is a surprisingly low cash amount involved (much lower than WSJ’s)” 

Update 15 Aug 07: According to a filing yesterday with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, Blockbuster paid just $6.6 million in an all-cash deal.

Studio founders including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. are believed to have lavished $100 million on the service, which failed to capture public imagination as a consequence of its owners’ failure to back it up with significant marketing effort.

The acquisition bolsters Blockbuster’s online video services and will likely put troubled competitor Netflix under even greater pressure.

What the studios say, what the studios are doing

31 07 2007

Sometimes a job title catches your eye, and it was just that when I was at a recent industry event in Hollywood. The scheduled (but no-show) speaker from Sony Pictures Entertainment was purportedly VP of the mysteriously-named ‘Digital Media Initiative’.

I’ve watched with interest Microsoft’s convergent play with its Xbox Live Marketplace VOD service, so when’s Sony going to join the party? PS3 is, after all, a superior platform (technically speaking).

Perhaps further clues lie in this report from Broadcasting & Cable which suggests a strong contingent from SPE at next January’s consumer electronics bun fest, CES.

Let’s hope they get it right this time. Despite Sir Howard Stringer’s insistence that the company will be more joined-up, its squandering of opportunity across the digital media space, given its disparate interests across content and devices, is nothing short of scandalous.

Watch this space.

Update: 1 Aug 7

Mention and the internet delivers. The blogosphere is rife with rumours, centring on a tuner/DVR-enabled PS3 (predicted some years back). Can’t wait to see what the online VOD offer is like…