Redbox acquires NCR entertainment division, set to take over Blockbuster Express

Redbox already controls a large portion of the DVD rental kiosk market, but there grip on the sector is about to tighten even further. Blockbuster announced today that its parent company NCR Corporation has sold its entertainment division to Redbox, affectively signing over all Blockbuster Express DVD rental kiosks along with it.

The deal valued at up to $100 million will see all Blockbuster Express rental kiosks, DVD inventory, and a number of retail contracts transfered to Redbox. The total number of kiosks currently under Blockbuster Express’s label numbers around 9,000. The transfer of ownership is set to be completed by Q3 2012, until which time Blockbuster Express service will continue as normal.

This news follows recent rumors that Redbox is partnering with Verizon to introduce a Netflix competitor in the streaming market.

Here’s the official word from Blockbuster:

Dear Valued Customer,

NCR, which operates your Blockbuster Express kiosks, has entered into an agreement to sell its kiosks and other assets to Redbox. Until the transaction is completed (we anticipate in the third quarter of 2012), you will continue to enjoy the convenience, choice, and value you’re used to from BLOCKBUSTER Express. Until the sale is completed, we will continue to run the business as we have been, focused on bringing you the latest New Release movies with most titles only $2 for the first night. You’ll also notice that we’ve increased our In-Stock Guarantee value so you will now enjoy a movie night on us with a value of up to $3 if we don’t have the New Release movie you want in stock.

As a reminder, we still have 100s of great movies available at $1 and additional nights of all movies are still only $1, all part of preserving an exceptional value for an affordable night of entertainment.

We’ll continue to provide you with information on any changes that result from this recent announcement but for now we just wanted to say thanks for being our customer.

Sincerely,

Justin Hotard
General Manager

Source: Marketwire | Via: Engadget | Further reading: Reuters

Dish Network proposes T-Mobile partnership if AT&T merger fails

Dish Network has made some major moves in an increasingly progressive video content market with their Blockbuster-based streaming/mail service and their exclusivity on certain Fox television shows on Hulu for 8 days after airing. Clearly they have some greater ambitions, as CEO Joseph Clayton recently shared an interest in T-Mobile with Bloomburg. Apparently, they have interest in partnering up with the number four wireless carrier if their deal with AT&T falls through, which could allow them to share spectrum (Dish has some stockpiled which could be used for LTE or more HSPA+) and customers (with TV + Phone bundles).

This is in no way a formal offer, evidenced by the fact that Clayton suggested that they could even go with a company like Sprint/Clearwire or pick up divested spectrum if the AT&T/T-Mobile merger does go through. Either way, Dish Network has plenty of room to grow and seem to be taking a page out of Verizon’s playbook in cross-media investment.

Source: Bloomberg

Dish rumored to be launching Blockbuster-branded Netflix competitor

Bloomberg has reported on a rumor from “a person with direct knowledge” concerning Dish Network’s plans with the Blockbuster brand. After their acquisition of the bankrupt company last April, many were scratching their heads wondering why a satellite television company would have interest in a video rental service. This source suggests that Dish seeks to expand Blockbuster’s online on-demand offerings to support a subscription-based model much like Netflix’s Instant View or Amazon’s Prime Instant Video services.

This move would come in the wake of Netflix’s rising prices coming into effect this month and the recent news that Starz has let their contract with Netflix end due to unfulfilled demands for more licensing costs. With Blockbuster.com’s established presence in the on-demand market, the launch of a subscription arm seems a logical next step. To add insult to injury, Bloomberg’s source suggests that this new service will co-opt the scorned Starz catalog to bolster initial offerings. These two facts could make this Blockbuster not only a credible competitor to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu but also bring them into the market much more quickly than any other company might be able.

Source: Bloomberg