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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 09, 2009

Blockbuster Open-minded About Partnerships with Telecoms

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

Somehow, it’s surprising that Blockbuster is still in business. With companies like Netflix and...(It’s really only that one company, isn’t it?) Blockbuster is struggling to keep up. Of course, they have their own version of the movie rental via mail system, Netfilx is a bit of a monopoly in their own right.
However, Blockbuster, which in fact is, the largest U.S. movie rental chain, has advertised that they are open to the idea of collaborating with telecom companies such as Verizon (News - Alert) and AT&T as it expands into the video-on-demand business, chief executive officer Jim Keyes said on Tuesday.
"As we move toward video-on-demand and pay-per-view, Blockbuster is well positioned not only to compete on our own, but also to partner with others," said Keyes to analysts at a Citigroup media conference.
In November, the company introduced a digital media player that allows customers to download high-definition quality movies to their TVs via broadband lines. Rival Netflix, released a similar service, the capability to watch movies over the Web, six months earlier.
Verizon and AT&T (News - Alert), trying to compete within the market, have begun offering packages of high-speed Internet and video along with phone services to help them compete better with cable service providers.
"We're very focused on providing a lot of video content for consumers who have an insatiable appetite for it, so speaking to companies that provide video content makes a great deal of sense and we should be speaking to companies like this," said Verizon spokesman Phil Santoro.
"We represent a good partner for other players as we evolve into the video on demand business, so perhaps it's Verizon or AT&T selecting a relationship with Blockbuster to compete against cable or satellite, or vice versa," said Keyes.
He continued by saying, "We will position ourselves to be a player on our own or to be a good collaboration partner with others leveraging the brand and the customer relationships that we have today."

Jessica Kostek is a channel editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Jessica’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek