Blockbuster, Enron break up VOD deal

Blockbuster and Enron Corp. ended their exclusive 20-year pact to put video-on-demand in consumers' homes through Enron's fiber optics network.

The two companies pulled the plug on the deal late last week only eight months after striking and hyping it, blaming each other for its termination. Enron reportedly said Blockbuster was slow in making content deals; it had struck distribution deals with Vivnedi Universal and MGM. Blockbuster was unhappy about consumer complaints of problems with Enron's delivery system in pilot programs in Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City and New York. "We lacked confidence in Enron," a Blockbuster spokeswoman said.

In a statement Monday, Blockbuster declared it will persist in pursuing creation of VOD services through multiple technology schemes. "We continue to believe VOD will eventually become a commercial reality and that Blockbuster will have a formidable presence in this arena. However, we also believe there will be multiple technologies that make this service available in the home," said John Antioco, Blockbuster Chairman and CEO.

Current trials with Enron will run their course, with three wrapping up this month. No word on any future trials or deployments with other technology partners.
- Richard Tedesco