The rivarly between two popular online movie rental businesses, Netflix and Blockbuster's Total Access, is about to heat up; Total Access, although reportedly adding subscribers faster than Netflix, lagged behind in one area: on demand movie and TV show downloads. Until now. Blockbuster announced this Wednesday that it is buying the digital movie-download service Movielink, giving the company a stronger online foothold to compete with its rival. Movielink will continue to operate as a stand-alone service, but Blockbuster plans to eventually make elements of Movielink available through it's own online-ordering, mail-delivery service.
Blockbuster was in already advanced talks to buy Movielink in Febuary of this year but backed off, renewing the talks in July, about the time that it named a new chief executive, James Keyes. "Many of our stores still say 'Blockbuster Video,"' Keyes said in an interview. "We're taking a fresh look at the future of Blockbuster. The popularity of (online rentals) convinced us that customers are ready for more convenient forms of digital delivery that we think Blockbuster can successfully enter." The deal, whose terms have not yet been released, gives Blockbuster access to Movielink's large catalog and, for the first time, gives its customers the ability to download movies.