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Blockbuster Files For Bankruptcy

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the ice-delivery-men-unimpressed dept.

Businesses 390

Dallas-based Blockbuster Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, calling into question the futures of over 5,600 stores worldwide. The company will be evaluating each location on a case-by-case basis, and seeks to cut costs after reporting a $558 million net loss last year. Newsweek credits the company's slow adoption of new media distribution methods as a big reason for the company's decline. "... while Blockbuster discussed creating its own subscription service to rival Netflix, it wasn't until August 2004 that its online DVD rental program actually started in the US. And when, in 2004, Coinstar entered the market with its Redbox DVD kiosks, Blockbuster didn't begin installing similar devices until 2008." CNET suggests that "Leaders of pay TV services might be wise to start doing the business equivalent of digging foxholes and manning the battlements or the same thing could happen to them."

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390 comments

I'll miss them (5, Interesting)

beschra (1424727) | more than 2 years ago | (#33685934)

Browsing in a browser just doesn't hold up to browsing the physical media. Guess I'm just a library kinda guy.

I Won't (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33685958)

Browsing in a browser just doesn't hold up to browsing the physical media. Guess I'm just a library kinda guy.

Getting hit with late return fees just doesn't hold up to on demand streaming of tens of thousands of titles. Guess I'm just not a Luddite.

Re:I Won't (1)

beschra (1424727) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686040)

I'm not a Luddite either. Technology has been paying my bills all of my working life. When the bricks and mortar options go away, I'm sure I'll embrace streaming and wonder why I waited so long. But for now...

Re:I Won't (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686372)

Still, it has to suck for those unfortunate poor bastards that have crap-tastic or non-existent internet service. And no, not all libraries or library networks have a good selection of titles. (Netflix doesn't ever use mailed catalogs, do they?)

On the upside, in the more remote or rural areas - the Ma & Pa type video stores can get back into the game. It'll just take a while.

Re:I'll miss them (1)

dcblogs (1096431) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686032)

They just closed the Bockbuster in my DC neighborhood. So, I bought a blu ray DVD player that supports Netflix, Amazon. I wish Blockbuster had closed a year ago.

Re:I'll miss them (5, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686108)

Neither Netflix nor Amazon should even exist, but for the stupidity of Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble. I can see the clueless management of both companies now:

"Oh that intertooob thingy will never catch on!"

Re:I'll miss them (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686208)

Totally agreed. "Why would anyone want a movie sent to you in the mail? You wouldn't even know what movie you are going to see next! Walking around aisles of thousands of bad movies for over an hour is clearly a superior customer experience, and we don't need to worry about this competition."

Maybe they will build their next brick-and-mortar store out of clue-by-fours.

Re:I'll miss them (3, Funny)

jlf278 (1022347) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686324)

>>Maybe they will build their next brick-and-mortar store out of clue-by-fours.

Hey moron, there's no such thing as clue-by-fours. They're called 2"x4's! What an f'in dumb@$$. Could you be anymore clueless?

Re:I'll miss them (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686552)

It's not stupidity. They were already making megabucks each year with obligatory bonuses independent on how the company they supposed to manage is doing. It's not a capitalism, it's a parody on it.

Re:I'll miss them (5, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686264)

It's an incredible strategy they're undertaking.

They don't have free streaming, so what separated their plans from Netflix was that you could exchange in store.

Here they closed all three local stores leaving over 100,000 people without a local Blockbuster. Overnight, their rent by post plans were more expensive than Netflix and more restrictive. They also appeared to be slowing down shipping movies, where they'd often be sent out the day after your return was received, rather than the same day.

Then they started rolling out kiosks, like RedBox. But if you have a mail in subscription, you can't use your free rental coupons in their kiosks and you can't do returns or exchanges to their kiosks.

They seem hell bent on destroying themselves, and that doesn't engender much sympathy.

Re:I'll miss them (4, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686570)

Don't forget their end of latefees-- which ended up the king of late fees. Apparently, if you kept the DVD, no late fees occurred, because they just charged your credit card for the purchase of the movie.. (I actually wrote about this in 2005.. End of Late Fees [fredrickville.com] )

Or what about the "always in stock guarantee!" That was my favorite. Apparently, if the new release you were looking for wasn't in stock, they'd give you a little paper rain check that says "You can rent this dvd at a future date for exactly the same price it is today, no questions asked!" Which would be just awesome, except.. their prices didn't really change often.. It was the same as not getting a rain check at all. They didn't hold a copy for you or anything. It was a disingenuous marketing ploy.. each and every one of them.

Every time they changed something, it was an insult to their customers. My $17.99 3-dvd at a time account transformed one night to $24.99. I was a little peeved, but at the time, I was enjoying the number of discs I could rent. So then they upped it one more time (about a month later) to $34.99. I dropped it like it was hot. F-that. Netflix it is. They literally couldn't have done a worse job at customer retention. It was like they were chasing me off with a big stick.

Re:I'll miss them (3, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686042)

Browsing in a browser beats browsing physical media when it contains 100000 times more choices and not only crappy hollywood 'blockbusters'. Guess I am a picky kinda guy.

Re:I'll miss them (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686214)

Having 100000 times the choice is worth very little when the user interface interface doesn't actually allow you to browse them. The Internet is really good at search, but at browsing it actually just plain out sucks, in a lot of cases it is even completly impossible.

Re:I'll miss them (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686306)

Not really. The browsing experience for movies isn't all that different between the net and brick and mortar. All you get in a video store is a picture of the front and back box cover. You see them small on the shelf and scan over them to see what looks nice. See one you like and you can pick it up and look at it more closely. In a browser you see small thumbnails of the same covers, and if you see one you like you can click on it and look at a larger version. It's pretty much the exact same thing for movies.

I can give the library arguement a little more weight when it comes to books because there you can actually pickup the book and flip through it, but for movies? Not so much.

Also, aside from plain old searching (which as you note, works VERY well on the net), there is also filtering. I might not know exactly what movie I want to check out, but I might want to watch a Japanese Horror film made in 1998 or later. With good filtering options, I can pretty quickly narrow the available choices to just that criteria. You just can't do that with boxes on a shelf

Re:I'll miss them (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686476)

Not to mention there are reviews immediately on hand that are a lot more useful and illuminating than the vapid praise bytes the film distributor puts on the media case.

"Absolutely awe-inspiring..." ~Some Newspaper

Uh huh, yeah, that's what she said. [penny-arcade.com]

Re:I'll miss them (4, Informative)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686058)

And conveniently these days you can borrow movies from most local libraries.... free.

Re:I'll miss them (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686456)

And conveniently these days you can borrow movies from most local libraries.... free.

Libraries don't have a very large selection and the condition of their movies can be horrible. I borrowed a Harry Potter from my local library and the thing wouldn't play because it was so scratched up. I don't know WTF people do, let their kids play hockey with the things?! The clerks at the local Hollywood that closed said that theirs was the same way, but they would have a bunch of backup copies - the library doesn't.

People are so inconsiderate.

Re:I'll miss them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686550)

Growing up around libraries 10-15 years ago, the library only had pg or pg-13 movies at most. And the good ones were often checked out for 3-6 weeks.
I just torrent these days.

Re:I'll miss them (5, Informative)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686092)

Guess I'm just a library kinda guy.

Then go to the library. I haven't needed Netflix nor Blockbuster for a good long time. My library is part of a rather large network of libraries. I can go to the library itself and browse available titles and I can also put a hold online for pretty much any movie I want. Yes, I have to wait a bit longer for recent releases compared to a pay service, but I'm patient and there are plenty of older good movies that have zero wait that you can watch in the interim. Now, if you live somewhere where there aren't any good libraries, well, I guess you are SOL. I've never had this problem, but I guess if you live in the boonies it affects you.

Re:I'll miss them (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686222)

Now, if you live somewhere where there aren't any good libraries, well, I guess you are SOL. I've never had this problem, but I guess if you live in the boonies it affects you.

If you don't have easy access to a library here in Canada, like living in the boonies, there are programs in place for libraries to mail books to you. It's possible something similar exists in the US.

Re:I'll miss them (3, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686116)

I know people see the past through rose colored glasses, but I most certainly won't miss going in and finding that all the good/new movies are out of stock and the hassle of dealing with late fees for things I definitely returned on time. Oh, look at that, they found the copy I had out. Thanks for making me come down and threaten to drop my membership, AGAIN.

Re:I'll miss them (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686232)

Before someone mods the parent "offtopic", the library is my favorite video "store" as well. They don't have the selection a video store has, but checking out a DVD or CD at the library is free. I go to the library first, if I can't find what I want then I'll go to a video store (Family Video; the insanely expensive Blockbuster here closed a year or two ago).

Re:I'll miss them (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686386)

It is not the digital downloads or pirated content that killed Blockbuster (at least here).

It is the like of LoveFilm which have 100 times the catalogue of your local BlockBuster branch and can offer it to you for a bag of peanuts over mail order using a "no late fees" model.

good fail! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33685944)

blockbusters main source of revenue was late fees. all I can say is, goodbye blockbuster don't let the door hit you in the butt.

Re:good fail! (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686030)

Oh.. you mean to say "no late fees" late fees.

Re:good fail! (1)

CynicTheHedgehog (261139) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686230)

Not sure what is meant by this, but at my local store they reintroduced late fees and they were harsh. Even for older releases you had 3 days to return the movie or it was automatically rented again ($5) and the cycle repeated until you paid the retail equivalent in rental fees at which point you owned the scratched, dented, smudged rental CD. The day the policy changed I started a Netflix account and never looked back.

Re:good fail! (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686244)

All of us dropped Blockbuster long before Blockbuster dropped late fees. In fact yesterday when I first read about this story was the first time I'd heard that they'd dropped late fees, an action that smacks of desperation.

Blockbuster finally tepidly had their own through-the-mail system which, when combined with their physical stores, could have easily beat Netflix, if not for Blockbuster's incredible inability to see the handwriting on the wall.

Also, there are lots of other reasons to hate Blockbuster besides their general business model. I certainly preferred local movie shops, back when I would deign to use any of the above.

So sad, but it's time (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#33685948)

Goodbye, Blockbuster. With news of your bankruptcy (yes, I know they aren't technically closing all their stores...yet), a bit of my childhood is officially gone.

Tell me, fellow slashdotters: was there anything better when you were a kid than going to the video store on a friday night to rent a video game or movie? My brother and I rented COUNTLESS NES and SNES games from our local video store (Olney Video)...soooo many games. Good times, good times.

I recognize how convenient and better services like Netflix and Gamefly are, but there's just something about going into a dusty old video store and browsing the shelves that convenience will never replace.

Re:So sad, but it's time (3, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#33685998)

I recognize how convenient and better services like Netflix and Gamefly are, but there's just something about going into a dusty old video store and browsing the shelves that convenience will never replace.

If we're going on a nostalgia trip, I want to mention the properly dusty video rental shops that came before the glossy multinational chains stepped in. Thinking of those places gives me a Proustian rush into the 80s almost as much as retro arcade cabinets.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686072)

I mentioned one in my post :-) Our local shop, Olney Video. It had it all: curtained-off "adult" section, the big clear plastic cases for the tapes, the whole deal. They even maintained a small betamax section!

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686286)

I'm with you. Blockbuster really doesn't have much nostalgia for me, it's the places the preceded shops like that. Blockbuster was cool at first in that it was new, shinier, larger, etc. Once the amazement at a large, clean, video store like that wore off it was just this new place that was more expensive than the place I used to rent videos that it drove out of business. All of my really good rental related childhood memories are from the pre-blockbuster days.

Re:So sad, but it's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686034)

Screw Blockbuster. In New York City, Champagne Video was the ticket.

You may remember it from Seinfeld; I remember it for having Sega Master System games when I was little.

Re:So sad, but it's time (3, Interesting)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686050)

Wasn't it Blockbuster who ran the mom and pop video rental stores out of business with their corporate muscle?

Speaking of Mom and Pop video stores, when my favorite local video store was steamrolled out of business by Blockbuster, he fired back (literally) by using half of his store to manufacture illegal fireworks! Every year near the end of June, the video store was packed with customers, until one day a manufacturing accident created a big explosion and a big fire. My brother was nearby when it went down, and said there were rockets flying through the streets, and saw the owner get carried out on a stretcher with lots of charred skin! He eventually recovered, and still makes the fireworks but in a different location.

Sadly this guy had one of the biggest collections of NES and SNES games I've ever seen, as well as a massive collection of 80s and 90s VHS pr0n that I never got to see (but always peeked behind the curtain to get a glimpse of the box covers); all was destroyed in the fire.

Re:So sad, but it's time (4, Insightful)

voss (52565) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686148)

Blockbuster was the biggest meanest dinosaur you ever saw...then the asteroid hit. Suddenly being the biggest and meanest didnt matter anymore. All
the big stores that enabled them to triumph over their rental rivals suddenly became disadvantages over their newer smaller smarter competitors.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686384)

Wasn't it Blockbuster who ran the mom and pop video rental stores out of business with their corporate muscle?

Yes, it was Blockbuster who ran the mom and pop stores out of business - by actually having new releases available on the day of release (and in quantity, not just one or two), by actually having a deep backstock of movies (and in quantity and across a wide variety of genres), etc., etc..
 
I'm tired of hearing crocodile tears for the steam powered "mom 'n pop" stores. As Blockbuster is being taken down by services that better provide what the customer wants, so the "mom 'n pop" stores were taken down by Blockbuster.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686502)

I'm tired of hearing crocodile tears for the steam powered "mom 'n pop" stores. As Blockbuster is being taken down by services that better provide what the customer wants, so the "mom 'n pop" stores were taken down by Blockbuster.

fair point - but there are no crocodile tears for a soulless corporate like blockbuster, in fact, there's more than a little Schadenfreude :-)

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686420)

Wasn't it Blockbuster who ran the mom and pop video rental stores out of business with their corporate muscle?

Yep. I remember our local video store well (Video Movieland). Small little place over by the Piggly Wiggly. When a new release came out you had to be there QUICK. They didn't deal in selling old movies, so they ordered however many copies they figured they'd need for the foreseeable future. The biggest new release out they'd typically have no more than 4 or 5 copies. They had their little horror room decorated with fake spiderwebs (probably some real ones mixed in there too . . .) and Halloween stuff. If you went around the inconspicuous corner and through the saloon doors you hit the "adult" section (which I only wandered into by accident once as a kid - definitely a bit of a shock).

Blockbuster came to town and shut that place down fast. The odd thing was, Blockbuster won simply on selection (and more copies of new releases) and brighter signs. At the old rental store the rentals costed half as much and you got to keep them for nearly twice as long before they were due back, but they still lost out.

I have no sympathy for Blockbuster. To me it's akin to 20 years from now someone singing the lament of how poor Wal-mart is filing for bankruptcy and going out of business.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

skgrey (1412883) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686052)

Absolutely. I can't count the amount of times I rented StarTropics and Mega Man for the NES and then Final Fantasy 3 for the SNES. My friends and I would have sleepovers and PRAY for that copy of FF3 to be in for that weekend so we could be up for 24 straight hours trying to play through it, as your save would never be there next time.

Oh yeah, and ARE YOU LISTENING MUSIC INDUSTRY? Innovate or die.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

rjch (544288) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686292)

Oh yeah, and ARE YOU LISTENING MUSIC INDUSTRY? Innovate or die.

If it's all the same to you, I think I'd rather they skip the innovation and just die. Same goes for most of the major motion picture studios.

Luckily for me, they seem hellbent on this already.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686100)

We didn't have video rental when I was a kid you, insensitive clod. If it wasn't in the cinema or on television you couldn't watch it. Although some of my friends did have cable TV. And you couldn't rent computer games. You had to either buy one or give a 5 1/4" floppy to a friend and ask him to make you a copy from a game that he bought. Now get off my lawn!

Re:So sad, but it's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686154)

I owned Worms on the Amiga. I doubt there could possibly have been anything better available to rent (although I admit that I never looked).

Re:So sad, but it's time (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686168)

Tell me, fellow slashdotters: was there anything better when you were a kid than going to the video store on a friday night to rent a video game or movie?

There were no videogames or movie rentals when I was a kid, kid. I spent my Friday nights at the drive-in theater (in fact I worked at one when I was a teenager). I spent a lot of time at the public library, and in my room with a slide rule and soldering gun.

I recognize how convenient and better services like Netflix and Gamefly are, but there's just something about going into a dusty old video store and browsing the shelves that convenience will never replace.

Netflix didn't kill Blockbuster, stupidity did. Here in Springfield the Blockbuster store closed down a year or two ago. They were stupid enough to open right across the street from Family Video and rent new releases for four bucks a day while FV rented them for $3 a week. BB rented older movies for $3 for 2 days while FV rented them for a buck a week.

Guess what? Family Video is still there, and a lot of FV stores are in town. AFAIK that was the only Blockbuster here.

Only an idiot opens a store across the street from the competetion and tries to charge higher prices for the same goods. Blockbuster is going bankrupt because their business model is almost as stupid as the record labels.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

NotOverHere (1526201) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686180)

Their policies store to store also hastened their demise. Their prices were on the steeper side, but there used to be a store on a couple of blocks away on my way home from work. Convenience did balance out price.

After moving to new location, for about a year, I tried to rent a game console so I could try before I bought an Xbox for Halo 2. I was told I had to put down a deposit that was more than the current selling price of the Xbox because I had only done 60 rentals with that store on a blockbuster account with nearly a thousand rentals (over many years). The associate acknowledged the prolific Blockbuster rentals, but that was store policy. I haven't been in a Blockbuster since.

I finally got them to stop trying to get me to come back when I explained that a local chain was always 3/4 to 1/2 Blockbuster's prices.

Re:So sad, but it's time (2, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686198)

I too have fond memories of renting video games and VHS tapes throughout my childhood. Unlike you, apparently, I hate Blockbuster. They ruined that. The rental places which used to have interesting titles and japanese import games were displaced by the behemoth that was Blockbuster. They brought nothing good to the equation other than brand recognition. Prices went up, selection went down, and rental policies became more complicated and anti-consumer. I welcome the end to the era dominated by Blockbuster. Now next to my house a new independent rental shop is doing great business and the Blockbuster down the street is closing its doors. Finally the people realized that what Blockbuster was selling wasn't worth buying.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686246)

We had a local video store (Olney Video) that was amazingly awesome, but the guy moved out of town (when I lived in Olney, there was about 7,000 people within the city limits...now, it's closer to about 40-50,000)...about a year later is when Blockbuster showed up. Since they were the only store near us, that's what we went for. Still, they seemed to understand the small-town mentality, and they catered pretty well to our needs.

I'd gone to other Blockbuster stores before, and they sucked pretty bad. The one we had was awesome though.

Re:So sad, but it's time (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686428)

I recognize how convenient and better services like Netflix and Gamefly are, but there's just something about going into a dusty old video store and browsing the shelves that convenience will never replace.

Well . . it was kind of fun, to be sure, but they don't much have what I want to watch, and Netflix does. I've have literally watched every Anime title that they have at the local Blockbuster.

Damn Netflix! (1)

Aaron32 (891463) | more than 2 years ago | (#33685952)

Damn Netflix! Actually, I love the hell out of Netflix, especially since I have my Roku!!

Re:Damn Netflix! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686352)

I felt a little better about Netflix before I heard their CEO making fun of "self-absorbed" Americans.

Yesterday's News. Stuff That Mattered. (-1, Offtopic)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#33685956)

This news broke yesterday, what's with the delay? I submitted it yesterday [slashdot.org] and it was passed on; why is it news now that it is 25 hours older? Yesterday it was all over CNN and others, nobody is talking about it today because it's already old news.

Re:Yesterday's News. Stuff That Mattered. (-1, Offtopic)

beschra (1424727) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686056)

nobody is talking about it today because it's already old news.

Uhmm, we're talking about it?

Re:Yesterday's News. Stuff That Mattered. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686184)

This news broke yesterday, what's with the delay? I submitted it yesterday and it was passed on; why is it news now that it is 25 hours older?

Well, at least from my own perspective, the delay is reasonable because this just isn't very interesting. With Netflix, iTMS, and pay-per-view movies, Blockbuster because irrelevant to me years ago.

And nothing of value was lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33685980)

n/t

cue up "But I'm not dead yet" jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686068)

The imminent demise of Blockbuster had been predicted by the pundits for the last 18 years or so. I think the reason they hung on so long is that people are creatures of habit, and browsing aisles and bins with friends, family or roommates still satisfies a need.

Good. (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686070)

Always detested Blockbuster, when id want to pick up a DVD after school they'd always make me leave my backpack in the front and follow me around the store. Much happier with Netflix.

Time for them to throw in the towel (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686102)

At this point, Blockbuster is so far behind its competitors that the only responsible choice is to liquidate its inventory, cut some severance checks and pass on the remaining cash as a distribution to shareholders.

We're not used to thinking like that, but Blockbuster has probably not a hope in Hell of actually holding its own at this point. Therefore it should do whatever it can to pass along its remaining value directly back to its shareholders before it squanders it on a vain attempt to beat very entrenched competitors who already have mindshare high ground with the public.

Re:Time for them to throw in the towel (1)

tenaciousj (769989) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686234)

By your logic Netflix should have never went into business.

Re:Time for them to throw in the towel (2, Informative)

dunezone (899268) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686396)

By your logic Netflix should have never went into business.

Netflix, Redbox, and Blockbuster all offer the same product. The only thing that is different is cost and how they deliver the product to you. Netflix entered the market with a new delivery method (straight to home) at a low cost and it worked. Redbox entered the market with a low cost and instead of stores they have kiosks positioned strategically through out towns and cities.

For Blockbuster to convert to those two models probably wouldn't cost much. The real cost is regaining lost customers. At this point they're so far behind in a customer base that it might be impossible to regain customers unless they can offer something that no competitor can, and I don't think lowering the price of the product will help.

Re:Time for them to throw in the towel (5, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686528)

There also has to be a reason Netflix can get buy on $8.95 or $15.95 a month.

Lower salaries? Corporate offices in an inexpensive location? No corporate headquarters?

Older companies build up fixed costs over time. If they get big enough, they get the law changed to protect them. If they don't make that size, the die off.

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for netflix last night.

AMAZING.

Took under 10 minutes and I was watching "Pushing up Daisies" and then browse parts of several movies.

With my new blu ray player (still in the box) I should be able to watch these on my TV too.. .and on my iPhone.. and at my friend's house on their computer.

Amazing. Incentives for pirating drop waaaaay down when you get "all you can eat" for $8.95. Some stuff I'll have to wait to come in the mail.

Seems too good to last-- to good to be true.
At some point the people supplying netflix will raise their rates as they did on the cable tv providers.

But for now- nice.

Re:Time for them to throw in the towel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686572)

Well the obvious thing they could offer is integration between mail delivery and kiosks. "don't want to wait two days to get your next movie? Drop you disk off in one of our convinient kisoks and take your next selection home today! when you're done with it you can return it to the kiosk or drop it in the mail."

Re:Time for them to throw in the towel (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686252)

That's what they'd do in a communist country like Belgium. In the Land of the Free Enterprise, the purpose of Chapter 11 is for consultants, lawyers and accountants (usually the brothers-in-law of the Board) to strip the carcase of any remaining flesh.

It seems harsh, but by encouraging them to feed on the weakest of the pack, it keeps them away from healthy companies.

This is what happens, when... (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686112)

You spend all your time focusing on the mom-n-pop's you're putting out of business, and don't look in the rearview mirror to see RedBox or Netflix.

Seriously, Blockbuster lost its karma when it used its size to ink deals with movie studios to stock their shelves on consignment with a percentage of the rental fee going to the studios. This allow BB to stock more movies, while the small local movie rental shops still had to purchase their DVDs at the ridiculously high rental shop price.

Re:This is what happens, when... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686408)

You spend all your time focusing on the mom-n-pop's you're putting out of business, and don't look in the rearview mirror to see RedBox or Netflix.

Perhaps the mom-n-pop's will make a slight comeback. There are still a few of them out there, and there is still the nitch of spontaneously renting an old movie that Netflix and RedBox can't fill.

Not World Wide! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686134)

Blockbuster Canada unaffected. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/blockbuster-files-for-protection/article1719915/

Re:Not World Wide! (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686416)

I have seen reports that Blobkbuster UK expects that since the parent US company filed for Chapter 11 it could heavily impact their ability to get product. They're even thinking it might be a bad X-Mas for sales in UK BBs.

What really happened (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686142)

It was profitable but not as profitable as they wanted so they moved their money into offshore accounts so they wouldn't have to pay back their debts.

Tomorrow's stories: Company X buys blockbuster assets for 20 cents on the dollar, fires half the employees. Former blockbuster executive gives millions to charity!
Happening tomorrow but not in the news: Company X hires former Blockbuster executives; major stakeholders suddenly and unaccountably rich. Major wheeling and dealing between politicians, the IRS, and former Blockbuster executives. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in freezers all over the country.

In completely unrelated news (3, Informative)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686146)

Netflix Nabs NBC Deal [thestreet.com]

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Netflix(NFLX) announced on Friday that it will expand its licensing agreement with NBC, allowing users to stream prior televisions series from its cable and broadcast networks.

Netflix subscribers will be able to watch series like Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights, Monk and Battlestar Galactica, the company said.

Netflix has been working over the last several months to expand its streaming content, first through a partnership with EPIX, a joint venture between Viacom(VIA), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lions Gate Entertainment(LFG) that could add up to 20,000 new titles to Netflix's streaming content.

Oh well! (1)

wombat1966 (1886522) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686150)

Or perhaps the fact the fact they have changed the rental overdue agreement substantially several times has played a part. They went from no overdue fees to "Gee, it's a week late? It's yours!" with virtually no fanfare. I may be exaggerating slightly, but not much!!! Pam http://www.talksocialnews.com/ [talksocialnews.com]

Evolve or Die (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686162)

It's really simple - the media landscape has changed and is continuing to change. The internet, literally, changed everything. Companies that think they can get by on the same old, same old are doomed to fail. It might take a couple years or more but, if you fail to evolve when the world around you changes, you will eventually die out. This is true in life and it's equally true in business.

I have zero sympathy for the companies that are failing due to lack of innovation and evolution. Rest on your laurels and you're a footnote in history. Bye bye. Please make room for the companies that are actually _actively_ trying to earn my business.

Good (2, Interesting)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686172)

A lesson to all businesses that treat their Customers like crap. They screwed me 15 years ago losing a movie I returned, refused to give me the benefit of the doubt, then found the movie and still charged me a huge late fee. I never set foot in another one of their stores. I hope all the blockbuster execs lose their golden parachutes.

Meh, dinosaurs died out too (3, Insightful)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686174)

One more greedy corporation who muscled out the small, neighborhood stores and when they finally became the big kid on the block, squeezed their customers for everything they could. Now, in the light of new technology they're unable to control, they become unable to compete. So be it.

In the words of airline stewardesses everywhere: B'bye!

Re:Meh, dinosaurs died out too (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686272)

One more greedy corporation who muscled out the small, neighborhood stores and when they finally became the big kid on the block, squeezed their customers for everything they could. Now, in the light of new technology they're unable to control, they become unable to compete. So be it.

In the words of airline stewardesses everywhere: B'bye!

Who'd those "small, neighborhood stores" put out of business when they opened?

Your romantic idealization of the past is touching.

Re:Meh, dinosaurs died out too (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686536)

They likely put a small dent in the TV station audience and in the movie attending audience.

But the complaint had nothing to do with the "put out of business" part - it had to do with the "once the competition is gone squeeze the customer" part. That you are too stupid to notice that makes me even more stupid for bothering to reply comprehending anything beyond "Run, Dog, Run" is clearly beyond you.

Re:Meh, dinosaurs died out too (4, Interesting)

careysub (976506) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686400)

One more greedy corporation who muscled out the small, neighborhood stores and when they finally became the big kid on the block, squeezed their customers for everything they could. Now, in the light of new technology they're unable to control, they become unable to compete. So be it.

In the words of airline stewardesses everywhere: B'bye!

Indeed. My "venal Blockbuster" story are the sheets of prepaid rental coupons that were suitable for "gift giving". My wife bought some sheets of these to give me as a birthday gift - which I used a few times, and then discovered that they had "expired"! These were not some sort of promotional freebies, not even some sort of discount deal, they were full price pre-paid rentals! And in tiny print on the back of the coupons (not evident in any of their gift promotions) I discovered that they were only good for six months. Having advance use of our money for free, and the bonus possibility that I might lose or forget about them and thus never redeem all of them (common with gift cards) was not good enough for their profit margins - they had to convert a sale into a theft. I didn't use Blockbuster much after that - a great strategy for building your consumer loyalty.

Great! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686188)

I'm glad bastards are finished. How many customers they have gouged with false "lost" tapes/dvd/games or "late" fees. Twice they have tried to screw me over and it took months to correct "computer" errors.

Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686204)

start doing the business equivalent of digging foxholes and manning the battlements

Patents. Billions upon billions of patents.

@slashdot #newsweek #lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686206)

#newsweek = #blockbuster = #fail!

They had it coming. (1)

Aspen (70029) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686212)

Yes, I loved in-person browsing and I miss that with Netflix.

But no, I don't miss coming up to the register and finding that I had $7.90 in late fees. The final straw was when I didn't go for a month, and they sent $10 in late fees to a collection agency.

This is what it looks like when business models die.

Digging foxholes? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686216)

I view that as trying to protect your existing way of business rather than adapting.

Digging foxholes is the last thing a country struggling to adapt to new realities should do. It only works if you're large enough to get legislation passed to protect the old ways. (MPAA/RIAA)

technology, media, business models change (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686220)

and companies should adapt to the changes, or die. unfortunately, we have established players from dying media industries still trying to uphold laws that don't work in the internet age

such media companies should, for anyone who believes in capitalism, adapt, or die. blockbuster is a perfect example of this natural capitalist death

instead, large entrenched media companies warp the marketplace by influencing the government and our laws to preserve a status quo that should be dying. they'd rather not change. they'd rather corporatize our culture, to change us, to fit their defunct business model. well fuck them, time to die assholes

CEO and Investors (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686224)

The downfall of Blockbuster was not Netflix or Redbox. It was the operating CEO(s) and investors.

I wonder how much of this is MPAA greed? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686238)

I don't pretend to know all there is to know about the video rental business, but I do know the MPAA has a lot to do with making that business difficult. For example, when buying media for rental purposes, they have to spend a LOT more for each copy -- they can't just go to Best Buy to buy their rental copies. And as for being able to move on into newer business models; it's not like they didn't want to or didn't try. I get the feeling that various conditions and restrictions were applied to the deal that just make it unworkable.

On the other hand, perhaps they are the "American Airlines" of the video rental industry? You know, at American Airlines, they are encumbered by over-paid, union-backed, 50+-year-old sky-waitresses, union-backed pilots, union-backed everyone else, and over-paid senior executives. No one wants to take a cut in pay to remain competitive and so newer, younger competitors like Southwest Airlines without all those encumberances have posted profits while the older, bigger airlines were posting losses.

So I have to wonder if it is either or both in the case of Blockbuster. My guess is that there is a bit of both. After all, since the 80's, success is measured in "growth" instead of other numbers like RoI or other margins. (I still find it unfathomable that "growth" is used as *the* measure of success. It completely ignores the possibility of market saturation and depends on destroying the competition rather than competing with them. It truly brings out the worst in humanity while at the same time completely ignores that they are operating in a finite world.)

Re:I wonder how much of this is MPAA greed? (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686568)

The myth of growth has been hammered into the brains of literally all western business people politicians and to some degree as well into the general public, it is hard to relearn, there is no such thing as unlimited growth and to the worse if you try to enforce it you basically just enforce an only the strongest survive and not even those approach, there is a reason why evolution first followed this approach but at the turning point of introducing the mammals changed to a common goal and group helps eath other approach in species, because it works better. Problem is our business point of view is still in the area of the dinosaurse of the strongest survive, the dinosaurs did not (at least not in the predatory form) the mammals did...

The kiosks will live on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686240)

Oddly, NCR has decided to push forward and continue with the Blockbuster Express kiosks

http://investor.ncr.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=83840&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1474128&highlight=

like GM?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686254)

or even craftier, where the lower 'investors' get nothing at all, again, & the 'company' resurrects itself unscathed. cruelty to US monkeys by any measure.

as far as we can tell, there has been no (0) public minded political representation here (US) in more than 20 years, which is as long as we've been watching 'it' (the process). so, in order to to maintain taxation without representation..... they must falsify the already phony #s over&over. phewww. that's how we feel. that's US. many/most of us anyway. it's quite doubtful any invisible/imaginary 'enemy' could out do our own fauxking murder & mayhem system, both at home & around the (now under reported) shaking globe.

they treat us as though we came from monkeys, & they ?didn't?, as evidenced by their tendency to encourage us to do/use less, while they continue to suck DOWn/waste/destroy immeasurable amounts of stuff, & feast on nubile virgins (of both sexes) in their palatial conclaves, surrounded by armies of (infinitely corrupted) hired goons. paid for by.... there we (?monkeys?) go again.

the search (for one honest/selfless person) continues;
google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=weather+manipulation

google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=bush+cheney+wolfowitz+oil+rumsfeld+wmd+blair+obama+weather+authors

modifying this search makes it even more interesting/scary. it's likely just a coincidence that the same names turn up together in 1000's of documents re: murder, mayhem & just generalized felonious underhandedness.

meanwhile (as it may take a while longer to finish wrecking this place); the corepirate nazi illuminati is always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our ?creators?, who may not be what we were forced to (not) believe in. why would descendants of monkeys need to worship anything (except maybe the 400 lb/megaton 'gorilla')? the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there? cup of primordial ooze we are/anyone?

who can forget accenture.con's previous name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686546)

can't remember. look it up. more of the same, with additional fraud/larceny features. everything's like it never happened now. NOBODY was charged, or answered for their larcenous behaviors. same guys still stealing at a breakneck speed, while sponsoring sports events, using who's money? more monkey 'business'.

Pay TV isn't Blockbuster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686356)

Sure you can drop your TV subscription but you're still going to be paying them for using their network to watch all the streaming video

Someone lost their copy of the memo (2, Interesting)

broKenfoLd (755627) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686434)

The journalist, MPAA, and RIAA model indicate that when a business model becomes outdated, you solve that not by evolving to compete in a new landscape, but instead litigation and lobbying. Duh!

Blockbuster exclusive dvds. (1)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 2 years ago | (#33686462)

The evil part was Blockbuster versions of DVD's... which had the special features removed.

The REALLY evil part was that they considered subtitles and captions to be special features.. Rented quite a few dvd's to find out that despite what the box said, there was no captions.

At least they generally refunded any rental fees.

Only Blockbuster US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33686560)

This doesn't apply for most of Blockbuster globally (UK arm is still wor, as they are separate entities. They aren't quite out of the picture yet...

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