In yet another example of media convergence, Suddenlink and Mediacom have announced a strategic alliance with Blockbuster.

Initially, the alliance will focus on marketing. Blockbuster will install kiosks in its stores in Suddenlink’s Charleston, West Virginia, and Mediacom’s Des Moines, Iowa, service areas. Phase one involves some simple steps.

 “We will expose our customer groups to each other,” said Jerry Dow, Suddenlink’s chief marketing and sales officer. At Blockbuster’s five retail stores in Charleston, the Suddenlink kiosks will have information about the MSO and a telephone that rings into its West Virginia call center. “It’s as much about collecting information as making sales,” said Dow.

While Blockbuster has made a variety of moves to try and stay alive in a shifting video environment, the alliance with Suddenlink and Mediacom is its first deal with cable operators. But the company has a history of striking (sometimes odd) partnerships – like its short-lived alliance with Enron from the height of the tech bubble in 2000.

More recently, the beleaguered video rental company has rolled out an online movie service to compete against Netflix and announced strategic alliances with CE manufacturers, including Samsung and TiVo. (For more, click here and here).

The company has shown amazing staying power. Perhaps partnering with cable will be another demonstration of its resilience.

VOD Cooperation?

The second phase of the MSO-Blockbuster partnership is expected to pertain to the operators’ video-on-demand offerings, but the details have yet to be worked out.

Dow said that Suddenlink would be working with its VOD provider Avail-TVN and Blockbuster “to see how we might create a relationship between the three."

“This is likely to include cooperation with Blockbuster’s by-mail, vending, in-store and digital channels so that consumers looking for a movie that may not be available on demand can instead search among Blockbuster’s entire Blu-ray and DVD library,” according to the announcement.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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