Blockbuster Copies Netflix, Heads to TiVo

In its continuing struggle to remain relevant against the behemoth that which is Netflix, Blockbuster and TiVo today announced a partnership in the video-on-demand market. Blockbuster's addition to the melting pot will function like TiVo's already existent Netflix and Amazon Video On Demand streaming services, and will be available on TiVo's Series 2 and Series 3 DVRs during the second half of the 2009.

"We are excited to be teaming with TiVo, the company that created the DVR, to make Blockbuster's entertainment content readily available to their millions of subscribers," Jim Keyes, chief executive of Blockbuster, told The New York Times. "Ultimately, our vision is to work with TiVo so that their subscribers can access movies not only through our On Demand service but also from our stores and through our by-mail service as well."

The interesting aspect of Blockbuster's business model is that it plans to charge around $3.99 to rent new releases for a 24-hour period, which is the same price as Amazon Video On Demand. So why would you choose Blockbuster over Amazon when the content and selection are so similar, if not identical? It seems to me that in its attempt to become as ubiquitous as Netflix, Blockbuster may be putting its head in the guillotine by fighting in such a close proximity to its rivals.

Blockbuster also plans to sell TiVo devices in its retail stores, a move that speaks volumes about the colossal failure of its own instant streaming set-top box. If TiVo is now, technically, a competitor in terms of instant streaming hardware, why would Blockbuster shadow its own product unless it knew it had failed?

Blockbuster has also promised to spread its movies to "many digital devices," just like Netflix. But with bankruptcy rumors floating around, and Netflix's unerring ability to crush competition, the future of Blockbuster remains in doubt.

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