Blockbuster announced that they have signed a 2 year exclusive with IFC Entertainment. Blockbuster will have an exclusive 60-day rental window for physical and digital rentals, with distribution rights for 3-years. Blockbuster will also install special independent film sections in 1,000 stores, including films from IFC and other distributors.
"We're delighted to join with BLOCKBUSTER as we continue our mission of making independent film available to the widest possible audience," said Lisa Schwartz, IFC's senior vice president of sales and business development. "Blockbuster's national store network combined with its by-mail and downloading services, made this a particularly appealing agreement for us because it gives millions of customers increased access to our movies."
Blockbuster signed an exclusive deal with Weinstein Company in 2006, but Netflix managed to get copies of the movies (Costco?), hence the 60-day exclusive window on all forms of distribution in this deal.
This is a smart move for Blockbuster, but is it a smart move for IFC? Blockbuster is only one distribution channel, so is it wise to limit releases to one company when Apple, Netflix, Microsoft (Xbox), Vudu, and Joost are becoming serious digital download distribution channels?
Exclusives like this, while strategic for companies and distributors, only hurt the consumers who will have to subscribe to multiple services to have access to exclusive content.