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Blockbuster aims for increased sales with mobile movie rentals

February 18, 2010

blockbusterBlockbuster is letting select T-Mobile subscribers buy and watch the latest movie releases right from their mobile phones.

Blockbuster On Demand lets T-Mobile subscribers download movies onto the upcoming HTC HD2 smartphone. Blockbuster will announce partnerships with different manufacturers and carriers later in the year.

“We want to provide access to entertainment for our customers wherever, whenever and however our customers want to access it,” said Bruce Anderson, senior vice president of Blockbuster On Demand, Dallas.   

Multichannel delivery
The collaboration with T-Mobile is part of Blockbuster’s multichannel delivery platform which includes stores, vending kiosks, by-mail subscriptions and the Blockbuster On Demand digital delivery system.

Customers are able to find a movie at a nearby store, reserve it at a kiosk or have it added to their by-mail subscription queue, all in the palms of their hands.

All new Blockbuster releases are available digitally the day of their DVD release.

Consumers will be able to download movies, television shows and games straight to their phones with more than 100,000 choices. Customers can buy or rent movies digitally and download them directly to their devices via Wi-Fi.

This is Blockbuster’s first download and multi-screen mobile movie application, which lets customers access the store inventory as well as update their mail queues.

Customers can pay for the titles they want as they consume them and there is no monthly subscription.

“Once an account is set up in the system, a customer never has to enter their payment information again,” Mr. Anderson said. “When a customer orders a new movie through Blockbuster On Demand, we notify them of the charge that will appear on their credit card and all the devices are hooked together with access to a single Blockbuster account.”

The application supports the entire Blockbuster digital library and can be seen on the HTC HD2 smartphone’s multi-screen phone.

Users are also able to watch their purchases on a Blockbuster On Demand-enabled TV set or a Blu-ray disc player.

T-Mobile’s slim and sleek HTC HD2 smartphone operates at 1 GHz, which the carrier claims is the fastest processor speed currently on the market. The phone will be available this spring.

This is not Blockbuster’s first foray into the mobile channel. The company already has a mobile site in place that lets consumers browse its library of movies. The site at is optimized for all Web-enabled phones.

Competitive landscape
Blockbuster is not the only movie and game rental giant that is using the mobile channel to provide a better experience for customers.

Movie Gallery Inc.-owned Hollywood Video unveiled an application for Apple’s iPhone and two new Web sites. The mobile properties let consumers receive personalized movie recommendations and get up-to-the-minute information on all things movies, bringing the in-store experience to customers via their iPhone (see story).

“We announced a similar partnership with Motorola last year, and those handsets should be on the street soon too,” Mr. Anderson said. “We also have an iPhone application, which lets users find movies around them and add to their by-mail subscription queue.

“We also have a mobile-optimized Web site that is designed for these types of devices,” he said. “We’re looking at extending to more devices and experiences throughout the year.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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