As part of a strategic initiative to “restore the rental DVD business,” Blockbuster has signed a pilot test with self-service and assisted technology company NCR Corporation to test digital download kiosks designed to enable consumers to download full-length movies to portable devices.
The kiosk, developed by NCR Corporation, can deliver movies to portable devices in about two minutes—a wait Blockbuster anticipates reducing to 30 seconds, aiming for an ATM-like experience. With the new kiosk, consumers insert a portable media player into a slot on the front of the kiosk, which then downloads the selected movies directly to the player’s hard drive or solid-state memory device.
For now, the kiosks only work with the Archos Generation 5 portable media player, which Blockbuster will begin selling in-store. However, Blockbuster plans to enable nearly any type of portable media player or storage device to be able to plug-in and accept movies from the kiosks.
“We call it a test but it’s really a beta,” Blockbuster CEO James W. Keyes told reporters following the company’s annual shareholder meeting on May 28. “The goal is to bring all the pieces together—the content, the aggregation, the device—to try to demonstrate consumer acceptance. Once we do that, we’ll be able to think about a broader test.”
The kiosk stands about seven-feet high and features a touch-enabled display screen for showing trailers, key art, reviews and other graphic material.
“Whether in store, by mail, vending, kiosk, digital download, our goal is to be the most convenient source for media entertainment with the reinvigoration of our core rental business, the expansion of our retail offerings, and our new digital initiatives, we are more confident than ever that we are headed in the right direction and our strategy is, in fact, working” Keyes explained during the earnings conference call.