Blockbuster in handset maker talks

NEW YORK Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:35pm EST

James Keyes, chairman and CEO of Blockbuster Inc., speaks at the Reuters Media Summit in New York, November 27, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES)

James Keyes, chairman and CEO of Blockbuster Inc., speaks at the Reuters Media Summit in New York, November 27, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES)

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Movie rental chain Blockbuster Inc BBI.N is in talks with all the major mobile phone makers about partnerships aimed at making it easier for consumers to watch movies on the go, Chief Executive James Keyes said on Tuesday.

Keyes told the Reuters Media Summit he started watching movies on his BlackBerry after some help from a technical expert at Blockbuster and from Jim Balsillie, the co-chief executive of Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd RIM.TO.

"We're talking with virtually all of the major manufacturers about the opportunity to provide greater mobility and convenience," Keyes said, when asked if the company is talking to phone makers such as Nokia Oyj (NOK1V.HE), Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS) and Motorola Inc MOT.N.

Keyes, who also uses the iPhone from Apple Inc (AAPL.O), said Blockbuster is in talks with software companies about possible partnerships, but he did not name them.

The executive, who asked his technician to download movies from Blockbuster's Movielink online service to a tiny storage card that is then inserted into his BlackBerry, did not give details on how the process could be made easier.

"The challenge is how do I make this convenient for everybody," Keyes said.

Blockbuster is looking for new ways to expand its business as consumers, including himself, have an increasing number of entertainment options besides renting movies at the store, the CEO said.

"It is a rare treat for me to sit at home with my family and watch a DVD," he said.

(Click here to see Reuters MediaFile blog)

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Derek Caney/Jeffrey Benkoe)

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