In an effort to keep up with competition, Blockbuster announced an alliance with Sonic Solutions that will provide consumers with instant access to the using a variety of home and portable devices. Through the partnership, Blockbuster hopes to become an ever-present competitor in the digital world:
"We are excited to be partnering with Sonic, the industry's leading entertainment delivery and technology provider, to make Blockbuster's digital entertainment service easily and instantly available to consumers through the widest range of devices available in the marketplace," said Jim Keyes, Blockbuster Chairman and CEO. "Blockbuster is a ubiquitous entertainment presence in the physical world. Through this alliance with Sonic, we plan to become a ubiquitous presence in the digital world as well. Our goal is to offer consumers the most digital content, the most accessibility, via the most devices, both in- and out of home."
Together, the companies are working with a number of consumer electronics manufacturers, including Sonic’s CinemaNow providers, to expand the number of devices offering the Blockbuster service. Compatible devices will include PCs, portable media players, Blu-ray Disc players, personal video recorders, set-top boxes, mobile phones, and Web-connected TVs.
The two companies will offer their digital libraries under the Blockbuster brand, giving consumers access to video on demand and electronic sell-through offerings. Under the multi-year agreement, Blockbuster will supply the branded consumer interfaces while Sonic will power content delivery across various PC and consumer electronic devices.
The partnership is Blockbuster’s latest attempt to compete with rival Netflix, who recently expanded its offerings to include a movie streaming service on Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console, Blu-ray players, and TiVo digital video recorders. This Web-streaming service is available to all customers who are signed up for a monthly subscription that costs at least $8.99.
Through the Blockbuster and Sonic Solutions alliance, numerous devices will have access to more than 10,000 movies for rent or sale. Initially, Blockbuster plans to sell or rent videos on a pay-per-view basis, but the company is also considering offering a subscription plan for unlimited access to the library. At the time of the announcement, neither company gave a timeframe for when they expect to see the partnership bear fruit.