Movie rental company Blockbuster has snapped up film downloading service Movielink after negotiations said to have lasted since March.

The move, the retailer hopes, will give it a stronger presence in a fast-growing but small and competitive market.

According to Reuters, Movielink will operate independently but elements of its service will ultimately be made available on blockbuster.com.

It has around 3,300 titles available – like other downloading services, it has nowhere near the range of content that’s available on DVD.

Movielink was launched in 2002 by a range of major studios, and faces stiff competition from the likes of Amazon and Apple. Blockbuster also owns part of another of its rivals, CinemaNow.

According to Adams Media Research, earnings from video downloads reached $111m last year, up from $11m in 2005.