Unit inks DVD rental, movie download deals.

Microsoft's MSN division has inked a series of new movie-related distribution deals that will allow MSN users to buy movie tickets online, rent DVDs and download movies on demand.

The moves are part of a growing push on entertainment-related services by MSN. Those efforts are expected to extend into a new digital-music service set for launch later this year.

Under the movie pacts, MSN is serving as distribution partner for new and expanded offerings from Blockbuster, CinemaNow and MovieTickets.com.

Under the Blockbuster agreement, MSN users can now sign up for the video-rental giant's new Netflix-style subscription service, which starts at $19.99 per month.

As part of its other deals, MSN consumers can also download pay-per-view movies and television shows from a co-braded MSN-CinemaNow service; MSN users can also order movie tickets from more than 750 movie theaters though MovieTickets.com.