Blockbuster and TiVo announced a deal Wednesday that will make between 5,000 and 10,000 films available to TiVo users. Customers will be able to rent ($4) or buy ($20) films, including current major titles. It's about time: Netflix and Amazon's on-demand services are already available on TiVo. Netflix offers approximately 12,000 older and less compelling titles on the box, but Netflix users don't need to pay anything beyond their monthly fee to access movies on the DVR. Those who want to use Amazon's service, which already offers most of the films Blockbuster will stream, pay about the same rental fees as Blockbuster will charge.
I've called Blockbuster to task on its late release of contemporary technology, but I wanted to give the company a chance to respond, so I discussed what I consider Blockbuster's shortcomings with its newly installed senior vice president of digital entertainment, Kevin Lewis.
Lewis contends that his company is more than just a movie rental chain. He says Blockbuster is an entertainment retailer, which is why it wanted to make its service available to TiVo users.
"We are the only entertainment retailer with the ability to serve you a movie where you want, when you want it, how you want," Lewis said. "Whether it's at one of our stores, through virtual kiosks, or via downloads on a box like the TiVo, we can provide you with the most robust service." He told me that unlike Netflix, Amazon, and any other competitor, Blockbuster has the opportunity to service its customers across multiple channels, making its deal with TiVo all the more compelling.
"We recognize that our consumers don't act the same way every time because their needs are different," Lewis said. "Because of that, we plan to go wherever the consumer goes. And although Netflix and Amazon are already on the TiVo box, when we get there, users will know that we're the only company of the three that can offer them a movie no matter how they want it. Our competitors don't have that multi-channel capability. It's our special sauce."… Read more