In a sign of the looming decline for the traditional movie rental and music retail business, Blockbuster is merging with CD chain Sounds.
Icon Digital Entertainment – a new company owned by Blockbuster’s New Zealand master franchisee Steve Dods – has bought the local management of the Blockbuster brand, the 50-store Sounds music chain and specialist gaming retailer Games Plus.
The merger will see Blockbuster stores expand into new areas, including digital downloading and retailing DVDs, CDs and computer games.
Users can now download movies, music and mobile phone ring tones over the internet, posing a threat to the traditional movie rental store and music retailer.
Dods said downloading kiosks would ensure Blockbuster could claim some of that business and would be rolled out in stores from next month.
“If people are in the music downloading space, you’d think that we should be, because we are a music retailer … We need to take ownership of some of that space.