Blockbuster Moves Into Online Streaming Rentals

Aiming to better compete with Netflix, Blockbuster said Thursday that it had acquired Movielink, a provider of downloadable movie and television content.

Blockbuster has seen increasing success in its battle with the Netflix, adding customers to its online rental service at a faster rate than its competitor. However, Netflix until now was the only one of the two companies to offer an online download component.

That will change with the purchase of Movielink. While the service will still be operated independently, elements will be incorporated into Blockbuster's online offering.

"Blockbuster is committed to keeping pace with the changing needs of customers by offering them an expanding array of convenient ways to access entertainment content," new Blockbuster chairman and CEO Jim Keyes said in a statement. "Our acquisition of Movielink, with its associated digital content, is the next logical step in our planned transformation of Blockbuster."

Keyes succeeded John Antioco, who left the company several months ago amid tightening revenues due to increased competition with Netflix.

Netflix and Blockbuster's online rental offerings are about the same: Movielink offers about 3,300 titles to customers, while Netflix's online component is said to provide around 4,000 movies.

Movielink was founded in 2002 as a joint venture between MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and Universal Studios.

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