Blockbuster CEO Says Packaged Media Will Stick Around

Blockbuster , the largest chain of video rental outlets in the U.S., is looking to partner up in a movie download service that includes HD content, which it contends will not seriously affect its mortar-store rental or sale of Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. Blockbuster CEO John Antioco this week told the Reuters Media Sum
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Blockbuster, the largest chain of video rental outlets in the U.S., is looking to partner up in a movie download service that includes HD content, which it contends will not seriously affect its mortar-store rental or sale of Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.

Blockbuster CEO John Antioco this week told the Reuters Media Summit in New York City that packaged media will remain around "for a long time," according to Reuters. He predicted sales of motion picture downloads to home computers, DVRs, and whatever else may be around in a couple of years, will reach about $1 billion by 2009 (or less than 0.5 percent of overall film industry revenue).

Antioco said he wouldn't be surprised to see his company unveil its own film download service by next year--either by going in with an existing download company, or in partnership with a cable or DBS firm. But he warned it will be difficult for consumers to develop libraries of downloaded HD movies for the foreseeable future, partly because studios are already bound by lucrative, long-term contracts that restrict when films can appear on PPV, VOD, cable, broadcast networks, and DVD (SD and HD).

Netflix, Blockbuster's competitor for DVD disc mail delivery services, now boasts about 5.7 million subs, while Blockbuster is trying to reach its 2 million goal by year's end. Netflix has said it will release details of its own download movie service (to include HD content) in early 2007.