Blockbuster will attempt to do what the major studios could not: make downloading movies appealing to consumers. On Wednesday the video-rental company announced that it had bought the online movie service Movielink, which was originally launched in 2002 by five studios: MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. with the hope that it would become an attractive alternative to pirate websites. But the service never appeared to fulfill its founders' expectations -- largely due, it was said, to prices that corresponded to those for DVDs (although many "extras" were missing) the slow downloading time, the inability to burn the movies to discs, and the difficulty of showing the downloaded films on TV sets. Although the five studios reportedly poured more than $100 million into the service, the Wall Street Journal said today that Blockbuster paid less than $20 million for it. Several analysts suggested that the figure may have been much less than that amount.




09/08/2007