Samsung and Blockbuster are teaming up to develop a streaming video service to boost content for smartphones, tablets, and smart-TVs.
The service will launch in the U.S. and Europe in early 2012, followed by Australia in September.
“Smart” home entertainment systems are an up-and-coming trend in the tech industry. Apple is reportedly launching a voice-controlled iTV, and Google is developing an integrated digital home music system.
Both Apple and Google’s services will connect users to vast stores of content through iTunes and YouTube, respectively. Partnering with Blockbuster will add thousands of new movie titles to Samsung’s arsenal, placing them in a prime position to stay competitive and build an entertainment system through its offerings.
A key part of any new home entertainment system is access to media content consumers want. Sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet soared in large part because of the retailer’s massive hub of music, book, movie and television offerings, and studies show consumers place content options high on their priority list when choosing a new device.
Earlier this year, Samsung also added HBO Go to its smart TVs, highlighting the phone maker’s determination to ramp up media choices and draw new customers. Speculation over the Blockbuster pairing points to fully integrated content accessible across multiple Samsung devices, meaning users can start a movie at home and finish from their smartphone or tablet.
Still, Blockbuster is likely to benefit most from the partnership. The company lost significant ground to Netflix in recent years, closing many of its brick-and-mortar stores due to lagging DVD rentals. Dish Network last year acquired Blockbuster, which relaunched as a streaming and DVD-rental entity, similar to Netflix.
The company’s new partnership with Samsung and its popular Galaxy line of devices could propel the once dominant video mogul back to success, and Samsung will benefit from Blockbuster’s large DVD-by-mail subscriber base and key licensing deals with major movie studios.
Samsung is also reportedly developing a new global billing system so users can easily pay for media content directly from their devices, making content convenient and instantly accessible. Google, Facebook, and several other major companies are also developing mobile payment systems to make media available with one click, with the potential for big profits.
The partnership is mutually beneficial, bringing Blockbuster back from the brink and adding a major content boost for Samsung. The collaboration may lend Samsung the fuel the company needs to go head-to-head with Apple and Google in the emerging battlefield of home entertainment.