In its latest refusal to go quietly into the night, Blockbuster has announced a partnership with wireless carrier T-Mobile for an OnDemand movie download service. The first device the service will be available on will be the HTC HD2 smart phone, which hits stores on March 24. Additional phones from Motorola are also expected to offer the service by year’s end.
Blockbuster’s new mobile OnDemand service will offer a catalog of 10,000 titles, with pricing set at $1.99 for older films and $4.99 for new releases. Titles will also be offered for sale at between $10 and $20.
Michelle Metzger, a spokeswoman for Blockbuster consulted by TheWrap, said that her company’s motivation behind the new service is to put movie rentals wherever customers want them. Said Metzger:
“It’s a matter of consumer convenience, however consumers want to watch a movie is where we will position ourselves,”
Blockbuster will already have a rival for its new service in mSpot, which has been in operation since last fall and has already signed licensing agreements with several major studios. An advantage held by mSpot over Blockbuster is that the former’s service runs on multiple carriers and dozens of devices, including the extremely popular iPhone, Blackberry and Android smart phones. mSpot’s catalog, though featuring popular newer films such as Inglourious Basterds and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, is far smaller than Blockbuster’s at about 600 titles.
Long-time BB rival Netflix has thus far declined to enter the mobile phone space with its streaming service. Company spokesperson Steve Swasey says that one major reason for this is the tiny screen size of mobile devices. Said Swasey:
“Right now, our members can watch trailers and preview movies on phones, but we just think that people prefer bigger screens, even if we’re talking about laptops . . . We want to be ubiquitous across all platforms, but we think whether its watching long-form content or even TV episodes, people just prefer the big screen.”
Does renting and watching movies at $2 to $5 a pop on your cell phone sound like a good idea to you, Insiders? Have any of you used mSpot’s service, and if so, what were your impressions? Hit the comments and give us your opinion.