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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik