Blockbuster Inks Marketing Pacts With Suddenlink, Mediacom

Blockbuster announced strategic alliances with Suddenlink Communications and Mediacom Communications, under which the two cable operators will offer video-on-demand services under the "Blockbuster" brand and will promote their services in the movie-rental chain's outlets.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The marketing alliances are scheduled to roll out in phases, beginning in September in Suddenlink's Charleston, W. Va., and Mediacom's Des Moines, Ia., service areas. Both cable companies will promote their suite of services to Blockbuster's customer base via in-store kiosks and in-store promotion. Suddenlink and Mediacom will further promote this cooperation with local broadcast advertising, direct mail and other marketing support.

In a later phase of cooperation, Blockbuster, Suddenlink and Mediacom -- in conjunction with the cable companies' VOD provider, Avail-TVN -- intend to add additional Blockbuster-specific features to their video-on-demand services. According to the companies, this is likely to include cooperation with Blockbuster's DVD-by-mail, vending, in-store and digital channels so that customers looking for a movie that may not be available on VOD can instead search among Blockbuster's entire Blu-ray and DVD library.

"Our consumers are asking us to help them make access to their entertainment more convenient, and our relationship with Suddenlink and Mediacom is designed to do just that," Blockbuster senior vice president of digital entertainment Kevin Lewis said in a statement. "This alliance highlights the power of the Blockbuster brand and further underscores our commitment to increase our multichannel presence through alliances that cross traditional boundaries."

Suddenlink chief marketing and sales officer Jerry Dow commented, "The Blockbuster brand should help them understand quickly that VOD offers them new entertainment options accessed easily and immediately with no new cost, equipment or hassles."

Last week Blockbuster said it may close as many as 960 stores by the end of 2010, which would leave the chain with about 20% fewer U.S. outlets.