QuoteThe online retail giant had owned a minority stake in Lovefilm since 2008 when the latter bought Amazon's DVD rental business, which covered the U.K. and Germany. Fully acquiring Lovefilm is an interesting move for Amazon. The rental company is essentially Europe's answer to Netflix, offering DVD-by-mail rentals, as well as a streaming service available on PCs, the PlayStation 3, and some HDTVs. Lovefilm, which was founded in 2004, currently operates in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. The company states that it has over 70,000 titles available to its 1.6 million customers. Amazon didn't say what it has planned for Lovefilm, but the acquisition will expand Amazon's video on demand service, which offers streaming or downloading of films in the U.S. Greg Greeley, Amazon's vice president of European retail, did take note of Lovefilm's streaming service in particular in the acquisition announcement.
QuoteNPD Group says that for the first time, movie rentals from standalone kiosk have a larger market share in the United States than those from brick-and-mortar stores. "Netflix and other subscription services comprised 41 percent of video rental turns in the third quarter of 2010," NPD wrote, "followed by kiosk rentals at 31 percent, and in-store rentals at 27 percent." NPD, a research firm, said today that its study found the share of kiosk rentals grew 10 percent from the same quarter in 2009. The data only accounts for disc rentals and does not include movies streamed over the Web. The findings come four months after Blockbuster, the former No. 1 video rental outlet, filed for bankruptcy protection. The company is now pursuing its own kiosk strategy.