Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Movielink + Blockbuster = Still-Not-Netflix

Sure, they can copy all they want from online video-rental upstart Netflix, but the purchase of video-download service Movielink by video-rental retail giant Blockbuster feels to me like a sad, little move, signifying nothing.


Getting a reported price of under $20 million, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, will hardly cover costs of upward of $100 million–even “Ishtar” didn’t do that badly.

The compromised Movielink, the bastard child created five years ago by movie studios (Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros.) with too-onerous digital rights management claws, lackluster marketing and high prices, has been widely mocked even by execs at the studios themselves.

When I recently brought it up during a visit to one studio, in fact, an executive there did a most excellent rolling of his eyes that needed no further explanation.

But now it is Blockbuster’s problem to correct, which is mainly how to battle online rivals like Netflix and others chipping away at its business either via mail-order rentals or video-on-demand services.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work