Video retailer gets exclusive deal on films

Blockbuster and IFC Films have set a two-year deal that will see the vidtailer serve as the exclusive renter of IFC titles.

As it continues its makeover under chief exec Jim Keyes, who came aboard last July, Blockbuster is seeking to redefine the store experience. To that end, the company has installed special sections devoted to indie film in 1,000 of its 6,000 stores worldwide.

Under the pact with IFC, Blockbuster will share rental revenues from IFC titles with the Cablevision subsid. Blockbuster will have an exclusive 60-day rental window, including both the physical and digital rental distribution channels, for each title as it becomes available. During this period, no title will be available on a retail basis in any format.

Once those 60 days are up, the IFC titles will be available on a non-exclusive basis both for retail and digital distribution. However, Blockbuster will retain the exclusive physical rental distribution rights for IFC titles for three years after each street date.

Blockbuster also plans to highlight IFC titles on Blockbuster.com and Movielink.

IFC execs cheered the pact as a means to carry out IFC’s mission of exposing indie pics to the widest possible aud. “It gives millions of customers increased access to our movies,” said Lisa Schwartz, senior VP of sales and business development.

The first titles under the arrangement will include Cannes pickups “Paranoid Park” and “Savage Grace,” French-language “Dans Paris” and mumblecore pic “Hannah Takes the Stairs.”

Blockbuster is set to announce results today for the fourth quarter. Its stock is languishing near all-time lows, closing Wednesday at $3.04.

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