Would you watch a movie on your cell phone?

Blockbuster will enter the narrow field next month with T-Mobile movie player, competing with mSpot.

By TheWrap Feb 23, 2010 4:19PM
With profits down and stores closing, Blockbuster (BBI) is pinning part of its survival strategy on cell phones, a space that already has one small player up and running -- and thus far has no interest whatsoever from rival Netflix (NFLX).

T-Mobile HTC-HD2Hoping more people will have occasion to watch big-screen hits on the tiny screen, Blockbuster has partnered with T-Mobile for an OnDemand movie download service, available on the new HTC HD2 smart phones (pictured).


The phone is due to hit stores March 24, and Blockbuster plans to offer a similar service through Motorola (MOT) smart phones by the end of the year.

"It's a matter of consumer convenience. However consumers want to watch a movie is where we will position ourselves," Michelle Metzger, a spokeswoman for Blockbuster, told TheWrap.


While watching downloaded movies on iPhones and other smart phones is nothing new, movie rentals via cell phones are something of a frontier.


First on the block was mSpot, which kicked off its service last fall and used its head start to sign deals with some of the major studios, including Universal, Paramount and the Weinstein Co., to stream movies over smart phones for a rental fee of $4.99. It expects other studios to sign up in the near future.


MSpot now boasts a catalog of 600 movies, including recent releases such as "Paranormal Activity," "Inglorious Basterds" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."


While Blockbuster will be available only through a few Motorola and T-Mobile devices, mSpot's service runs on multiple carriers including AT&T, Alltel, Boost, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. Its service is available on dozens of handsets including iPhones, BlackBerrys and Androids.


"We're not looking at mobile phones as replacing 46-inch plasma TVs,"  said Daren Tsui, CEO and co-founder of the small, 67-staffer mSpot. "But we do see this complementing the big- and home-screen experience."

Read more at TheWrap.

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