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Blockbuster's Offensive Against Netflix Flops

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the can't-stop-the-wheel-from-turning dept.


bigtallmofo writes "With over four million subscribers, Netflix was an obvious target for rival Blockbuster. In 2005, target them they did. Introducing their own DVD-by-mail service and (for a while) undercutting Netflix's price point, Blockbuster went for the jugular. A year later Netflix shows a market value of $1.5 billion with no debt compared to Blockbuster's $684 million worth with $1.0 billion in debt. Is there still a DVD-by-mail war or has Netflix won?"

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They each have thier own issues to deal with... (5, Interesting)

Chris Bradshaw (933608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337494)

Not to bring the whole "throttling" thing into this, but it really seems that the war now is between Netflix and themselves. If they can keep from shooting themselves in the foot again, i.e., lawsuits [] , etc... Then theoretically, They shouldn't have anything to worry about(considering their market share). I can say from personal experience that they are trying to protect and keep their existing user base, and are quite apologetic when called on it now. I am currently enjoying a a free month + two months at half price after calling them on it. Bottom line is this, they both obviously have deeper personal issues to deal with... I'd say the war is on temporary hold until they can both get their crap together

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337505)

DVD-by-mail is neat and will overtake DVD rental at a brick-and-mortar location in the near term. But the DVD-by-mail industry (which consists of mainly Netflix now) is going to have a fight on it's hands when video "rental" over the network takes off. (maybe 2007Q1?)

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (1, Troll)

SeventyBang (858415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337668)

(It's (s/b) aside), you're looking at two different business models, two methods of income from those business models, and two different forms of data to deal with all of this.

Blockbuster's original market plan (et al as they were Blockbusters original market lan (aside from gobablling everyone else before they could become a threat) was the expectation of a decent percentage of people who ran over the deadline. Think of this as a bar who sells some money from sub- to mediocre-quality food. They aren't in the business for that food (or its quality). They're in the business for alcohol. Once NetFlix showed significant staying power. Blockbuster realized they'd better come with And like the software world: why invent when you can copy? (even if you don't have the source) After that, it has become a price war with a couple of twists: Blockbuster has to support brick & mortar stores, including personnel, Flix does't; this impacts a lot of things I won't iterate. Blockbuster permits impetuous|discretionary purposes (stop & rent a movie, stop for a movie, and you're golden.

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337848)

I love it when people talk about business models like they're really in a position to understand or compare them let alone explain them.

The giveaway was, "this impacts a lot of things I won't iterate" which is bullshit artist code for "this impacts a lot of things I can't really understand but you could imagine how they impact things, right?"

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (5, Insightful)

iPaige (834088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337517)

Netflix as a corporation has many lawsuits, but their out there with no real basis to start off on anyhow. These plantiffs are suing because the DVD's arent there in "one-day" always. Isn't that the postal services fault? Also because not all the plans were "unlimited rentals", well did ya really think the 7 dollar plan was gonna be the same as the 20 dollar plan? I mean, come on.

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (4, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337859)

I think it's their fault for advertising it when they know the postal service doesn't deliver it within a day (I don't believe the postal service guarantees or implies 1 day service.)

However, despite the nonreality of the 1-day service, I have no problem recommending them. When I used to have their service, I intended to cancel with them before going on a 7 month trip to Europe (mostly because of a lack of anime in their inventory at the time....). Apparently I didn't, when the person keeping my finances in order gave me the CC bills^_^;;;;; - one phone call later, without being put on hold, they gave me my money back in short order without hassle (because there was no account activity) and with still being friendly.

I think the only thing that might occur within the next ten years is that Netflix's current business model will become obsolete (like Blockbusters) due to bittorrent downloads (and if the studios start offering legal ones).

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (1, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337536)

Eh the lawsuit in question is total BS. I was a customer within the window, I received the email, and I decided that the lawsuit was full of crap and I wasn't going to cash in. Seriously, read the claim... anyone who is semi-literate and halfway-intelligent can understand that when Netflix says "unlimited rentals, 3 at a time" it's not the same as "unlimited rentals, send them all at once".

My guess is the settlement was done because it was really cheap for netflix... upgrade everyone's plan for a month (giving customers a taste of the higher plan and possibly having some switch) vs continuing a pointless lawsuit. Netflix: 1, Lawyers: 0.

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (1, Insightful)

Chris Bradshaw (933608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337566)

With all do respect, utill you have had this (throttling) happen to you, you're really not qualified to defend them or thier position, and quite frankly are talking out your rear. Dollars to donuts you don't rent enough movies from them to be a victim to this garbage, and that's fine. But to come out and respond like this is just plain Flaimbait. I could go on-and-on about some of the crap I've dealt with from Netflix, suffice to say - it was enough to inspire them to give me $40 worth of complimentary services, just to remain a customer. So before you go and question peoples "intelligence", and "Literacy", get your facts straight.

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337651)

So its Netflix's fault that you don't understand the meaning of simple words?

I've never had that problem. But maybe its because I passed K-12 just fine unlike you.

I don't understand... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337828)

What kind of 'throttling' were they doing? I know at one point, I was watching at least on movie every day. I had 90 movies rented in 90 days. The turn around from my mailbox out to my mail box in was 2-3 days.

Re:They each have their own issues to deal with... (1)

BigFoot48 (726201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337633)

I viewed the Netflix settlement as moral dilemma. I typically despise class-action lawsuits as I view them as an extortion by attorneys gaming the systems and plantiffs hoping for an easy payday, but I also try to minimize my living expenses so as to expand my standard of living. In the end I took the moral high-ground and declined the settlement. Another blow against "The Man."

Re:They each have thier own issues to deal with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337720)

anyone who is semi-literate and halfway-intelligent can understand that when Netflix says "unlimited rentals, 3 at a time" it's not the same as "unlimited rentals, send them all at once".

Anyone who is semi-literate and has read the complaints can understand that it's not the 3-at-a-time people are having a problem with, it's after you've borrowed and returned "too many" discs, everything you wanted is suddenly out of stock, but only for you. It's the same "unlimited isn't" bullshit you used to get from ISPs back when they were making the transfer from hourly to monthly billing. It would be different if they actually told you what the limits were, but that would put a crimp in their marketing, now wouldn't it?

(As for this particular case, the plaintiff is whining about the "unlimited" marketing as well as whatever they promise for "one-day" shipping, which is probably entirely out of netflix's control, as another poster had said.)

Holy Un-"Settlement" Batman! (4, Interesting)

raehl (609729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337724)

I need to become a lawyer. This lawsuit rocks!

- Sue a company for something they didn't really do wrong in the first place
- Negotiate a "Settlement" that's really a marketing campaign for that company
- Pocket massive legal fees!

Did anyone read this settlement? If you sign up for it, you get a free month of a one-level upgrade of Netflix service. Then, and here's the cool part for netflix...


What kind of "penalty" is that? Trade a couple rentals to get your customers to upgrade packages? That's cheap advertising is what that is!

Re:Holy Un-"Settlement" Batman! (0)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337827)

LMAO, You people are too much... Read the whole thing, and not just the excerpt. You are taking it out of context, and really look silly while doing so. Netflix settled for one reason, they got caught "Throttling" users who had a high turn around time. "Throttling", by it's definition, deems "Unlimited Rentals" false advertising at best.

Re:Holy Un-"Settlement" Batman! (1)

aacool (700143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337831)

I wrote a blogpost about the Netflix settlement [] , where I named the law firm. A few weeks back I got a vaguely worded threat from the lawfirm - left as a HaloScan comment - with a number to call, etc.

I spoke to a pro bono lawyer who handles stuff for another website I run, and she advised it was fluff, but recommended I take the name of the firm down, as apparently the BIG firm was using a SMALL firm as a front in the lawsuit, and thereby could claim misrepresentation, lost business, etc.

'Nuff said - the firm name is gone.

My complaint against Slashdot (1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337779)

Something is happening here, and I'm getting a little worried. What follows is a call to action for those of us who care -- a large enough number to break the spell of great expectations that now binds silly sluggards to Slashdot. Perhaps it sounds like stating the obvious to say that Slashdot really struck a nerve with me when it said that the best way to make a point is with foaming-at-the-mouth rhetoric and letters filled primarily with exclamation points. That lie is a painful reminder that the best thing about Slashdot is the way that it encourages us to free people from the spell of Stalinism that it has cast over them. No, wait; Slashdot doesn't encourage that. On the contrary, it discourages us from admitting that it is firmly convinced that those of us who oppose it would rather run than fight. Its belief is controverted, however, by the weight of the evidence indicating that as avaricious as it might sound, there are lessons to be learned from history. That shouldn't surprise you when you consider that as our society continues to unravel, more and more people will be grasping for straws, grasping for something to hold onto, grasping for something that promises to give them the sense of security and certainty that they so desperately need. These are the classes of people Slashdot preys upon.

Slashdot thinks we want it to ridicule the accomplishments of generations of great men and women. Excuse me, but maybe life isn't fair. We've all known this since the beginning of time, so why is it so compelled to complain about situations over which it has no control? The only clear answer to emerge from the conflicting, contradictory stances that it and its cringers take is that its undertakings are oppressive in their impact, rash in their aspirations, reprehensible in their political deviousness, and quixotic in their wanton philosophies. It's quite a feat of hypocrisy for Slashdot to deny it wants to blitz media outlets with faxes and newsletters that highlight the good points of its socially inept smears after so recently doing exactly that, but, as you know, revanchism has served as the justification for the butchering, torture, and enslavement of more people than any other "ism". That's why it's Slashdot's favorite; it makes it easy for it to cause pain and injury to those who don't deserve it. Slashdot has gotten away with so much for so long that it's lost all sense of caution, all sense of limits. If you think about it, only an organization without any sense of limits could desire to depressurize the frail vessel of human hopes.

Even if I agreed that Slashdot's sinful, slatternly remarks were of paramount importance, it would still be the case that one of Slashdot's underlings keeps throwing "scientific" studies at me, claiming they prove that mysticism is a noble goal. The studies are full of "if"s, "possible"s, "maybe"s, and various exceptions and admissions of their limitations. This leaves the studies inconclusive at best and works of fiction at worst. The only thing these studies can possibly prove is that Slashdot attracts jaded parvenus to its peuplade by telling them that a book of its writings would be a good addition to the Bible. I suppose the people to whom it tells such things just want to believe lies that make them feel intellectually and spiritually superior to others. Whether or not that's the case, Slashdot's reasoning is circular and therefore invalid. In other words, it always begins an argument with its conclusion (e.g., that it is known for its sound judgment, unerring foresight, and sagacious adaptation of means to ends) and therefore -- not surprisingly -- it always arrives at that very conclusion. Couldn't you figure that out for yourself, Slashdot? Although Slashdot has managed to avoid indictment, or even a consensus that it did anything illegal, it's its belief that my letters demonstrate a desire to rob us of our lives, our health, our honor, and our belongings. I can't understand how anyone could go from anything I ever wrote to such a discourteous idea. In fact, my letters generally make the diametrically opposite claim, that we've all heard Slashdot yammer and whine about how it's being scapegoated again, the poor dear. If anything, Slashdot says that it is a perpetual victim of injustice. Yet it also wants to raise extortionate demands. Am I the only one who sees the irony there? I ask because I want to see all of us working together to protect innocent, little children from vexatious braggarts like it. Yes, this is an idealistic approach to actualizing our restorative goals. Nevertheless, you should realize that the ultimate aim of Slashdot's orations is to restructure society as a pyramid with Slashdot at the top, Slashdot's assistants, who are legion, directly underneath, execrable, stubborn yahoos beneath them, and the rest of at the bottom. This new societal structure will enable Slashdot to leave us in the lurch, which makes me realize that I undoubtedly stand foursquare in defense of liberty, freedom of speech, and the right to criticize what I call birdbrained, randy pickpockets. Sadly, lack of space prevents me from elaborating further. Sure, Slashdot may have a right to limit the terms of debate by declaring certain subjects beyond discussion, but we certainly don't have to stand idly by while it exercises that right. Slashdot's representatives believe that Slashdot can ignore rules, laws, and protocol without repercussion. This is precisely the non-equation that Slashdot is trying to patch together. What it's missing, as usual, is that an organization that wants to get ahead should try to understand the long-range consequences of its actions. Slashdot has never had that faculty. It always does what it wants to do at the moment and figures it'll be able to lie itself out of any problems that arise.

Maybe some day, Slashdot will finally stop trying to appropriate sacred symbols for blasphemous purposes. Don't hold your breath, though. Slashdot is like a giant octopus sprawling its slimy length over city, state, and nation. Like the octopus of real life, it operates under cover of self-created screen. Slashdot seizes in its long and powerful tentacles our executive officers, our legislative bodies, our schools, our courts, our newspapers, and every agency created for the public protection.

Is it any wonder that it's time to step things up a notch and replace today's chaos and lack of vision with order and a supreme sense of purpose? I have always assumed that there is obviously no limit to Slashdot's impudence, but the fact of the matter is that Slashdot's claim that divine ichor flows through its veins is not only an attack on the concept of objectivity, but an assault on the human mind. Slashdot truly believes that embracing a system of antinomianism will make everything right with the world. It is just such bleeding-heart megalomania, tendentious egoism, and intellectual aberrancy that stirs Slashdot to instill a subconscious feeling of guilt in those of us who disagree with its beliefs (as I would certainly not call them logically reasoned arguments). Slashdot's shallow tractates elevate unpleasant yobbos to the sublime. News of this deviousness must spread like wildfire if we are ever to seek some structure in which the cacophony introduced by its intimations might be systematized, reconciled, and made rational. I won't mince my words: Slashdot's drones are quick to point out that because Slashdot is hated, persecuted, and repeatedly laughed at, it is the real victim here. The truth is that, if anything, Slashdot is a victim of its own success -- a success that enables Slashdot to force us to tailor our subliminal psywar campaigns just to suit its sadistic whims. The recent outrage at Slashdot's indiscretions may point to a brighter future. For now, however, I must leave you knowing that Slashdot is thoroughly unmovable by truth or reason.

Netflix... (5, Insightful)

lasmith05 (578697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337496)

I think Netflix is too entrenched to be taken out by another company. However, I do think faster broadband and downloadable (legal) movies like those available on itunes are going to slowly chip away at netflix.

Re:Netflix... (0)

silverkniveshotmail. (713965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337502)

Netflix DVDs don't care about what operating system you're running though.

Re:Netflix... (2)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337512)

You and a couple other people on the internet are the only ones who really care what operating systems are unsupported.

(yes, I'm a Linux kernel developer)

Re:Netflix... (1)

lasmith05 (578697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337516)

Isn't really an issue if you are running windows, apple, set-top box, which is most likely the target audience.

well-positioned for downloadable movies... (4, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337515)

Netflix has already partnered with Tivo, which already has tivo-to-go that works for the video iPod.... potentially they're ready to roll-out downloadable movies...


Re:well-positioned for downloadable movies... (0, Redundant)

lasmith05 (578697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337527)

There you go! That's exactly what i'm talking about. :)

It should also be noted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337616)

Very valid point, they're also hiring a "video encoding engineer". Of course it should also be noted that most people who choose to watch movies want to watch a movie on their big screen tv plugged into their (insert level of surround sound) system. Yes, a few of us have working HTPCs (a few of us just use XBMC, but that's another story). However downloading a movie, and watching it in an arbitrary (compressed) file format (with or without special features, menus, etc.) requires a select group of people. That coupled with the current state of broadband technology in the US (withstanding the few places that actually have FIOS), I don't think there's enough of a market to make a dent one way or another in netflix's market domination. The only thing that could significantly cut into Netflix's market is the customer service level / shipping speed at netflix, and this only effects users who have already been subscribed to the service for an extended amount of time (e.g new members get new releases much quicker then old members. While there might be a long wait for Brothers grimm in my account, a friend who just joined can add it now (or could friday). It's annoying, but one has to admit it helps win over customers ;-) ).

Netflix...DVD's on wheels. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337587)

"However, I do think faster broadband and downloadable (legal) movies like those available on itunes are going to slowly chip away at netflix."

Tell me if this saying doesn't ring a bell with you.

"A car full of DVDs, has a greater bandwith than any wire."

Parallel car versus serial wire.

Re:Netflix...DVD's on wheels. (2, Interesting)

Nugget (7382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337664)

But I don't want to watch a car full of DVDs tonight -- I just want to watch one movie, and haven't decided which one yet.

It's not a bandwidth issue, it's a flexibility issue.

Re:Netflix...DVD's on wheels. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337680)

Indeed. The bandwidth of the "truck o' DVDs" is great, but the latency sucks. If you go by the number of movies I actually want to watch (1 or 2 per week at most), then the download model works far better, as I can have my movies much quicker. Doesn't matter if UPS could have had 100 of them to my door by the time 2 downloaded. Those 2 that I wanted were here long before the UPS guy would have been.

Netflix...DVD's on wheels-VOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337774)

*deep breath*

Do people intentionally miss the point around here?

Seriously, while the proliforation of broadband will erode the "content via UPS" model. It still will only be a small competition for the simple reason that much more can be pushed to the consumer via the latter, rather than the former (another reason video stores are still in business). Plus it lends itself to parallellism better. Also just in case everyone here is suffering memory loss. VOD (video on demand) via cable bombed dramatically.

they aren't stupid (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337615)

The Netflix executives aren't stupid--you can bet that they have contingency plans for getting into the downloadable content market. Whether they can pull it off is another question.

iTunes may have a lead in this area, but Apple also has big hurdles to overcome to make a good business out of this; a lot of 320x240 downloads isn't going to cut it.

Re:Netflix... (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337643)

Well, the US is 5% of the population, and perhaps 20% or so of the economy. Most of the potential market is wide open, and cultural and business differences are large enough that it's unclear if there is an advantage to already have a functioning business process elsewhere to start from (or if that even creates a change adversity that is a sum negative).

I really wonder to what degree it really is possible for any one company to dominate the world market in most culture- or society-related products anymore. What I mean is not that societies are becoming more resistant to outside influences, but that the market - seen as purchasing power or some other similar measure - has grown a lot. Perhaps 30 years ago, if you two or three of the north American, west European and the Japanese markets, you really had market dominance. That is simply not true to the same degree anymore. Becoming a dominant player just is a lot harder today - and perhaps impossible in some areas already.

Re:Netflix... (0)

vlad-o-mirror (910080) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337717)

iFlicks (read iTunes tv shows and movies) will make Netflix ob-so-lete.

Re:Netflix... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337847)

Unless you run Linux.

Well... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337507)

... do rhetorical questions really help make a point, or do they just serve to bewilder the people who watch the likes of CNN and FOX News as if they're the Gospel?

The Red Envelope (5, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337518)

Yeah a number of people might subscribe to Blockbuster's deal. It might suit them fine. But in this case, Netflix has won the mindshare. Blockbuster is the video store on the corner, and well-established at that; but on the internet, Netflix is the common word. The red envelopes are signature. They've won the highly-important mindshare game, and they appear to be winning the business game, too.

Sure, there are always advantages of one over the other. Blockbuster has instant gratification---I can get the movie I want within minutes. Netflix has wider selection---I can't walk into a BB and find much anime. They also have convenience---I decide on a movie, I can click it and it'll be there tomorrow. And I can procrastinate and watch it when I feel like, returning it when I want. And it's cheaper than the corner store if I watch a lot of movies.

I can't really speak to BB's online service; they might have similar selection and pricing, but they also have the same disadvantages. And after dealing with Netflix ("oh, the movie never came? here, we'll ship you another free of charge") vs Blockbuster ("oh, you returned the movies in the morning, but we didn't notice til after noon... that's $6 please"), I would definitely rather do business with the former.

Re:The Red Envelope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337534)

Nice but Blockbuster does not charge for late returns anymore.

Re:The Red Envelope (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337549)

Maybe not the online service, but is this the same "no more late fees" that they got sued for [] , or have they actually changed their ways?

Re:The Red Envelope (1)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337801)

I knew the American public would be too stupid for the "no late fees" policy. As if you could rent movies and keep them for 3 years at no extra charge. Not like they made it any big secret that it converts to a purchase after a certain amount of time. Nothing new here; some lawyers saw an opportunity to shake Blockbuster down for some money on behalf of some trailer park retards. I hope their happy with their coupons for $1 off next rental and the discontinuation of a great program.

Re:The Red Envelope (2, Insightful)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337699)

Nice but Blockbuster does not charge for late returns anymore.

But how much damage did they do to their reputation when they did charge late fees? I will never deal with Blockbuster again because of their policies. I can't trust them to do the right thing. Let's face it - they drove the mom & pop stores out of business but never established themselves as a member of my community. They were stupid not to build loyalty, and eventually they'll go out of business or get snapped up. The only thing is that Netflix could be undermined by the download market when it becomes legal and widespread, so they have to have something more than the "red envelope".

Re:The Red Envelope (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337767)

I'd say they did no damage to their reputation by charing late fees before the whole "no more late fees" scam. Every video rental store charges late fees, hell even libraries charge late fees. People simply accept it.

Re:The Red Envelope (2, Informative)

Pfhreakaz0id (82141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337819)

but, I bailed on BB way back because there late fees were excessive. I checked them out again with there "no late fees" thing (and they are like, 6 blocks from my house). And I switched stores to them. I get a WEEK grace with no late fees, even on a 2 day rental (and video game rentals). And I've actually used the "convert to purchase" a few times on kids/family movies. For instance, I rented Robots, my kids liked it, I read the recipt that it was only $12.99 more to buy it,just kept it and paid the bal. next time I was in. that really is pretty nice.

Re:The Red Envelope (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337846)

Every video rental store charges late fees, hell even libraries charge late fees.

I can live with late fees. What I can't live with is late fees that are charged when the movie isn't late. My local library seems to be able to check in a book the same day I drop it off. The same could not be said of Blockbuster. And then, when you inquired about the timing, you were always referred to a manager who seemed to be out for the day. At least with the mom & pop store, you could talk to mom or pop who were always around and would work with you to settle the issue.

Th problem is... (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337853)

The problem is that BB has a reputation for fake late fees. I know what finally made me stop renting from them years ago was that they would charge late fees on movies that were returned on time. This combined with their editing of movies, and the fact that it was clear they were trying to trick their customers by offering 3 'night' rentals, and counting both the rental and return nights as full nights, just made me give up on them. When they started their 'no late fees' scam, I didn't even bother to look into them. Apparently that was the right move.

Re:The Red Envelope (2, Informative)

dirty (13560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337764)

That's not entirely true. A number of franchises never participated in the program, and many that did are cancelling it. Basically they need the late fees as an incentive to get people to return videos and games, without them they were having trouble keeping new releases in stock.

Re:The Red Envelope (2, Interesting)

Parham (892904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337793)

I just want to point out that while in the US, they are franchised, they aren't in Canada. And as far as I know, Canada doesn't plan on dropping their "no late charges" policy (at least anytime soon). They seem to be grabbing a lot of customers from Rogers Video [] .

Re:The Red Envelope (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337635)

I can't really speak to BB's online service; they might have similar selection and pricing, but they also have the same disadvantages.
I tried blockbuster for a short time. Their website was ugly and busy compared to Netflix'. But what got me to cancel was the fact a search for Star Trek Voyager showed all seasons except for season 3 or 4 -- can't recall exactly but there was absolutely no way I could find any discs for that season no matter how I tried searching. Either their search engine really sucks, or they forgot to buy a whole season of a tv show. Either way, that was enough. Oh, and they were slow compared to netflix.

Re:The Red Envelope (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337715)

Wait a minute. You cancelled your subscription because they wouldn't let you watch Star Trek: Voyager?! You should be getting on your knees and thanking them for sparing you such torture!

Poor baby (1)

pediddle (592795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337741)

Captain Janeway is playing the world's smallest violin just for you.

Re:The Red Envelope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337824)

Well, either they heard your complaint, or you just didn't search well enough - because I just finished watching the entire Voyager series, including seasons 3 and 4.

Blockbuster Online vs. Blockbuster (1)

Corvaith (538529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337840)

While it's not a perfect service, I've generally been okay with Blockbuster Online. And I can say for sure that if the movie doesn't show up in a timely manner, you can have them ship another. It's automatic. They don't complain, try to talk you out of it, or make insinuations about your character, they just ship the next movie. If you end up with an extra, you just ship it back. Due to the flaky nature of the mail, I think this is necessary for any business working this way, even if it may sometimes be expensive. My first three selections from Blockbuster Online never showed up--but I got an extra month out of it, new copies shipped, and generally everything since then has been okay.

It's really fairly decent service. I can't compare to Netflix because I'm not a Netflix customer, but I think it's worth the money.

I guess it depends on who is paying... (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337519)

for this ad.

Re:I guess it depends on who is paying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337760)

That is damn true.

Slashdot lost it's integrity a long time ago. Now whoever gives Slashdot advertising money gets favorable articles submitted.

Slashdot used to be a decent site for nerds to discuss technology.

Blockbuster's been in the shitter for a while now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337525)

That company has been fucked for at least 7-10 years.. I have seen 3 Blockbusters come and go in my town alone..

Now, they have gotten rid of 40% of the Blockbusters where I live (Long Island).. so I could only imagine how many more have been, or are in the process, of being shut down..

The Jugular? *snork* (3, Informative)

deacon (40533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337531)

With what, a floppy rubber claw? Foam rubber teeth?

I've stress tested both. Netflix was able to push out 9 movies a week for 6 weeks, and then throttled down. Blockbuster managed 4 movies a week, for the less that a month I kept them.

Now I just borrow what I want from the library system. Reserve online, get it all pulled and sent to a library near where I am during the day. No limit on the number of DVDs I take out.

Based on my Blockbuster experience, I would not even consider them again.

Re:The Jugular? *snork* (3, Interesting)

Spokehedz (599285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337780)

The only problem I have with the library is that the DVD's are usually scratched... which means that I have to watch them on my computer. Which is not my 52" TV with surround sound. So I usually end up copying the movie, burning it to a DVD, and watching it on my TV... Which unfortunately breaks so many laws, it's a shame.

Well... There is geexbox... but I really want my remote control...

There's more to it than that (4, Insightful)

HardCase (14757) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337539)

Market value and debt don't really tell enough. Earnings and cashflow are bigger tools to gauge the success of the companies. If Blockbuster is making enough money to service the debt (and other obligations), then they're doing fine. If Netflix has enough cash reserves that they don't need debt to keep operating, then they're doing fine. Debt is just a tool that businesses use.


Re:There's more to it than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337565)

If Debt is just a tool that businesses use to keep going...

I will be glad to send a bill for no services rendered to every company in the world. Say $100.00 each... Not a bad deal if you ask me...

Re:There's more to it than that (4, Interesting)

wfberg (24378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337674)

Market value and debt don't really tell enough. Earnings and cashflow are bigger tools to gauge the success of the companies.

How about some good old-fashioned "profit"? (And we'll have none of the EBITDA crap either!). A quick look at the charts on Yahoo reveals a $603.30M loss.

Inexplicably their market cap is also about $600M, with a $1200M debt. Now, I have a debt that's more than my income or savings, sure, but it's a mortgage, so my creditors can sell my house and reclaim the money. If they sold the company in parts, assuming that strip-raiding it adds 25% in value over market cap, that still leaves $450M in bad debt.

Of course, it might be that all debt is really from one division (say, the DVD posting division) that they're looking to get rid of. But still, things look pretty bleak, seeing as that debt isn't doing anything right now, and their last investment pretty much failed. This kind of company is usually propped up by their creditors to salvage what potential is left.

Re:There's more to it than that (1)

Precursor (100410) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337692)

Not to mention, debt can have a favorable impact on shareholder wealth by both creating tax shields and leveraging invested capital. The capital structure (the mix between debt and equity) is not a really good way to compare two company's success when one company has a large physical asset base and the other is mainly inventory and service.

ROI, ROA, EPS, and P/E are all good indicators to dictate which company is more successful. For more information on debt-to-equity and capital structure mixes, see the Modigliani-Miller Theorem Part I & II: With Taxes.

Wikipedia - Modigliani-Miller Theorem (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337855)

Checked it out... sounds like this is one of those theoretical, idealistic type of things, if everything else is perfect about the world then debt vs equity doesnt matter.....

But since everything is not perfect, this only sort of applies. ory []

Re:There's more to it than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337763)

Except Blockbuster isn't making enough money to cover their debt. Not even close. If I remember correctly, they lost a fkton of money last year and not due to one time write offs either. If they don't turn things around, they'll be in receivership by this time next year. I think they're doomed, their expansion and growth has been fueled by debt their whole existance. But now they're in a stagnant market and the pipers bill is due.

Re:There's more to it than that (1)

Precursor (100410) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337798)

I wouldn't put the final nail into Blockbuster until movie on demand technology is completed and fully implemented. I personally believe that the cable companies will have the last laugh in all of this once people have the full ability to watch any movie at the quick push of a button. This technology is already implemented with services like Adelphia on Demand. Once these packages become more competitive Netflix and Blockbuster may just go the way of the dinosaur unless they move into a new or undeveloped market?

old news (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337545)

miss the front page stories on digg yesterday? dont worry, slashdot to the rescue!

Re:old news (0, Offtopic)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337598)

Than why not spend you time at Digg?

Re:old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337706)

Because then he'd/she'd miss out on the chance to be a dick, which is oh-so- satisfying to the under 16 crowd.

The classic online vs B&M model (5, Interesting)

wmajik (688431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337556)

I used Netflix when they first came out, as I thought it was a very novel idea and one worth trying. It worked great until I ran into the same problems that everyone else did - delays with new movies, being pushed into the far reaches of the queue and other inconveniences. I quit Netflix due to their growing pains, but didn't have a ton of animosity toward them. Having been in the business world, I understand that sometimes you can shoot yourself in the foot with success when demand exceeds capacity.

Recently, I was given a Netflix subscription again and noticed that they've gone through substantial upgrades, added new features and have none of the same queue problems that I exeprienced before. To me, this shows the maturation of the company, because they have the resources now to meet their customer base, given that they are now a very profitable company with the means.

I don't think Blockbuster is going to go kaput over the issue, because there will always be people who prefer a brick and mortar video store or you'll have an occasion where you can't wait a few days in the mail for a video. For this, Blockbuster is king. However, the cost of running a B&M operation like Blockbuster far surpasses an online only entity like Netflix, where store space, rent, maintenance, employees and the like are no longer issues. This means that Netflixs' margins are simply leaps ahead of what Blockbuster could even hope to achieve in their wildest dreams.

So can Blockbuster compete with Netflix? I think the answer is on the walls to everyone. I think this is exactly why Blockbuster tossed everything (and the kitchen sink) against Netflix, because they saw the picture and it didn't look pretty.

Do I think Blockbuster is going to bite the bullet? Not at all. Do I think Netflix will take a giant cut of of their market and force Blockbuster to resign itself to a B&M only operation with limited expansion abilities? Very much so.

Re:The classic online vs B&M model (2, Insightful)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337684)

From the looks of the local Blockbuster here they are at best about 18 to 24 months from going out of business. At least as a movie rental operation. They appear to be reinventing themselves as a game rental outlet. I doubt it will be enough to save them.

But from what one of the managers said they are about to go out of business. I suspect that Netflix was not the the only reason for Blockbuster to be in decline. I find that buying the DVDs I want to watch is not that bad at the local wholesale club. As such I no longer have a desire to rent DVDs.

I wonder what store will replace the Blockbuster up the street?

Does Netflix have a future? (1, Interesting)

GabrielF (636907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337557)

Netflix has been very good to me, I bought the stock at about $10 and now its at $27. However, with good video on demand coming soon I have to wonder if NetFlix has a future. I doubt that Netflix could compete with the likes of Apple and Google when it comes to video on demand. I'm very curious to hear whether Slashdotters have abandoned their Netflix accounts in favor of services such as Comcast's OnDemand and would you prefer a download service to NetFlix?

Re:Does Netflix have a future? (2, Informative)

blakestah (91866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337602)

That's exactly what Netflix is concerned with. They beat Wal-Mart AND Blockbuster in the online market. But the execs at Netflix are concerned with the content-over-broadband market. They view that as their primary threat.

Rupert Murdoch's DirecTV will begin delivering content from Murdoch's empire, and anything else they can get their hands on, over the DirecTV lines to their DVR, both as trickle download and OnDemand.

Comcast is working on OnDemand.

And then there is the Netflix-TiVO-Comcast arrangement, in which TiVO programs the trickle download so Netflix subscribers can rent movies onto their TiVO box. After all, the only better way to rent a movie from Netflix would be to have it available, nearly instantly, on your TiVO box. And that is what is coming. You'll be able to view a few movies from your TiVO box. When you delete them, the next ones will be able to be viewed. TiVO's engineers are using their broadband boxes to download the moves, 6-8 hours each.

Now, OnDemand can beat that turn-around time, but only with limited content. Netflix can deliver ANY of their content. And, with content protection, the consumer will see ZERO download times (unless you delete 2-3 Netflix movies rapidly, then you will need to wait for the download).

The Future? Who knows? But OnDemand and trickle download models are emerging, and a lot of money is being spent trying to determine the video equivalent of the iPod.

So let's not forget them. The new video iPods can store 15 movies. You could download from iTunes store and carry it with you. Neat-o.

Re:Does Netflix have a future? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337807)

A few points.

There was no Netflix-TiVo-Comcast deal.

There was a Netflix-TiVo deal. There is a TiVo-Comcast deal. The two deals are entirely unrelated.

Also, the Netflix-TiVo deal is on indefinite hiatus, because they could not get the content owners to cooperate. So until that happens, no deal.

Other problems: the existing TiVo Series 2 boxes don't support Dobly 5.1 sound and bandwidth limitations prevent full DVD quality video. So given current TiVo hardware limitations, and limitations in bandwidth, the quality of these downloads would have been substandard. Even had the content owners played ball, its questionable if the market for existing TiVo/Netflix users with broadband access is large enough to support the deal and make it profitable.

This will change as TiVo hardware gets better and can fully support DVD standard audio and video, and as more and more people get broadband (and faster broadband becomes more available).

OnDemand still has a long way to go. (1)

shineyboy (840750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337620)

I've used On Demand with Comcast, Time Warner and Cox in three different states over the last two years. They're all still plagued with problems like the movie randomly stopping partway through, the service going down, the boxtop set resetting randomly, limited or no ability to quickly navigate through a movie, etc.

Aside from the technical problems, I dislike On Demand because the selection sucks and is rarely updated, and all the interfaces they've designed for the different systems are slow and buggy.

NetFlix, on the other hand, sends me DVDs I can use however I want, it's one flat rate for as many movies as I can watch at a time, and I can return them whenever I like. :)

Re:Does Netflix have a future? (2, Insightful)

markh1967 (315861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337637)

As the old saying goes 'never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of magnetic tapes'. In this case it can be updated to 'never underestimate the bandwidth of a bunch of DVDs in the mail'. Netflix's days are numbered so long as bandwidth continues to increase. They've probably got a good few years yet though until they are overtaken, especially if HD disks become popular; demand for higher quality should give their delivery system better bandwidth than online connection for some time. In the meantime they'll continue to make a lot of money.

People are used to renting movies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337652)

So price is going to make or break video on demand. If I can download a movie and 'own' it from Apple for $5 it will work. If it's $10, well ... I can get several movies from Blockbuster for that in the time it'll take to download that one movie with most cable/dsl lines. Bandwidth may be hindering p2p for the MPAA more than the RIAA right now, but when they finally do decide to enter the online market, it's going to be working against them. They need (a) a solution ready to deploy, and (b) to push for more bandwidth from ISPs. Since they aren't doing (b) then they probably haven't got (a) yet. That's pathetic considering how long they've been watching the RIAA fight because they didn't have (a) ready in time either. My guess is they'll just lobby congress to keep video on demand on PVRs and then hope the internet will just go away.

Re:Does Netflix have a future? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337710)

I think downloads are the only thing that will kill Netflix at this point.

They have options. They can run their own download service. They can brand another (OnDemand featuring Netflix) or sell theirs out (DirecTV Downloads provided by Netflix). But there are still problems with downloading (bandwidth for most people), and watching (sorry, I want to watch on my TV and I don't want to hook up my Mac to it). However, if they set up a download service right (like caching stuff from my queue onto my TiVo for me to watch) I will subscribe.

For what it's worth, PPV has been around for years and hasn't killed rentals. Something like OnDemand is closer, but I don't think it is there yet.

And of course I like Netflix, where as Comcast has earned the nickname Comcrap by gutting and killing my local cable company and offering us subpar service under a legalized monopoly. Timewarner is better in my eyes, but still quite down there due to previous experiences.

They have a brand, loyalty, and trust. They can survive if they play their cards right. They can probably afford to lose a hand or two and still come out ahead.

Plan 'D' (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337560)

Blockbuster should try a second billion dollar deal with Enron's Broadband division.

And I really wanted to stay on the sidelines here (5, Insightful)

Stubtify (610318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337590)

Blockbuster's 2 free rentals a month are sweet; I used to use them for video game rentals (which are now $7 each at my local store).

That said, with all of the comments on which service is better I'd like to weigh in on a few specific points:

First, each service does a good job of what you want it to. Keep a large quantity of movies queued up and they show up in the order you want and you've always got something to watch. Look into who has a better catalog of what you like to watch and stick with them.

Second, each service FAILS when you use it to the limits. I've heard people saying they average 18-23 movies a month with netflix/blockbuster. 18-23 movies!!@?? That's WAY below a dollar a movie, and don't forget shipping back and forth (at least $.60). The idea here isn't to scam the company into a loss on you, the idea is to use a service and have a reasonable good time using it.

Now, I'm all for fairness in advertising (i.e.: unlimited should mean unlimited) but don't complain when you only get 15 movies in one month, for $17. And ESPICIALLY don't complain to me when I know that the majority of the people who are doing this crazy 8 movies a week thing are simply burning every movie right when it comes and then shipping it back the next morning. It is all but impossible to watch three movies a night three nights a week. That is SURELY not what these services were meant to be. You're raising my rates, and it's totally illegal as well.

The "Video-on-Demand" argument... (3, Insightful)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337599)

For those of you who think that $videoBymail vendors will suffer when Video-on-Demand hits the market, think again. You need to remember that quite a few folks out there that are building up impressive home video libraries thanks to services like Netflix and Blockbuster.

Couple unlimited rentals with the ability to download the jacket [] to any movie ever made... Well I'm sure you get the point.

tried both. blockbuster's UI *sucks* (1)

mgoodman (250332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337612)

started with netflix for obvious reasons. switched to blockbuster because the allure of getting a couple free in-store rentals each month was tempting (there is a blockbuster a few blocks from me in DC). also, blockbuster seems to have more titles available than netflix.

however, the simplicity and robustness of the user interface from netflix is extremely superior to blockbuster. ratings are much better. watching trailers and reading reviews is easier.

also, there are more categories in netflix. i like to watch lots of foreign films, and blockbuster doesnt break them apart like netflix breaks them into different subcategories -- japanese, chinese, etc.

overall, the little details really enhance my experience, so ive chosen netflix.

Blockbuster may have a chance... (5, Funny)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337623)

Blockbuster still has one ace up its sleeve - porn. Most of the mom-and-pop shops that survived Blockbusters intense expansion did so by renting and selling hard-core porn. That option is certainly a tough one for Blockbuster, as many franchise owners will object, but for the corporate locations it may be the only option to keep them open.

Of course, this wouldn't kill Netflix - it would just turn Blockbuster into the world's largest chain of sex shops. But being a chain of sex shops is a better option than going bankrupt.

United States (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337629)

The US is eyeball deep in debt thanks to dubya.. they're still top of the heap. Or maybe not?.... Time will tell.

Both have strengths and weaknesses (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337630)

I have a Blockbuster account. The killer feature with Blockbuster Online is the two free store rentals each month. We queue up all the obscure titles in the online queue (ever seen "Children of Heaven" from Iran, or "Primer"?), and get popular stuff at the store.

The thing that tempts me to switch to Netflix is their bigger selection (while both collections are growing, Netflix consistenly has about 10000 more). They have lots of BBC titles (including BBC Shakespeare performances on DVD) that Blockbuster just doesn't have.

I am tempted to sign up for both on the $10/month plan. That would get me 2 DVDs at a time (one from each), plus 2 in store rentals from BlockBuster for $20/month. But then, the $15/month I spend now is already a luxury.

The thing that irritates me about Blockbuster is that their DVD event email is screwed up. They forge as the MAIL FROM, despite repeated complaints from me and from (according to the postmaster). Since publishes an SPF record, I have to list as a "forwarder" so that the event mail isn't rejected.

I haven't actually tried Netflix yet, but I'm sure they have something messed up also.

Re:Both have strengths and weaknesses (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337660)

I've had a NetFlix acct for quite some time. I tried BB for a month, to see how it compared, and switch if it was better. Even with the 2 free/month, NetFlix was a better value. Faster, bigger selection, better UI.
At one point, I had occasion to send back 3 each on the same day. Netflix had a new one to me before BB had registered receiving two of them.

I dropped BB after the intial month.

Re:Both have strengths and weaknesses (1)

goat0-9a-zA-Z_.+!*'( (652248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337670)

I used both and BB was far better (for me). the closest netflix hub is 3 hours away, and it was taking 3-4 days for them to get movies and ship the next out, then they switched me to another hub 7 hours away, eventho atlanta hub is about 5 hours, so it was taking almost 10 days for me to get a new movie once i mailed the old one off. BB closest hub is Atlanta and it takes them 2 days to get me a movie and they ship the it out the day they get it anyway i had a queue of 100 or so movies when i left netflix, BB had all of them except maybe 3, and in the last few months they have been added alot of small market discs ymmv

Re:Both have strengths and weaknesses (1)

aacool (700143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337866)

Thanks - I just added "Children of Heaven" to my Netflix queue.

I've used Netflix for years now, and can't do without, especially the wide selection. The further comfort I have with online commerce (Amazon Prime, eBay,etc.) makes me prefer well-run online options
I am, however a miniscule part of the huge non-online customer base of Blockbuster. It's surprising they could make a loss with such a comfortable, non-technical population

I switched to Blockbuster (2, Informative)

Mean_Nishka (543399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337642)

I switched from Netflix to Blockbuster's mail service last year and haven't yet felt the need to switch. I'm still on the original $14.95 pricing plan for three movies out at a time. Yes, Blockbuster's UI is inferior, the selection might not be as vast, and it might take an extra day or two to receive a flick over Netflix, but the real deal are the coupons.

Blockbuster gives two in store coupons every month good for a game or movie rental. With their game rentals hovering in the $8 range, it pretty much pays for itself every month. Blockbuster also credits the value of the coupon against the 'keep it' price for any video or game rented at the store. Good deal (for me at least).

Re:I switched to Blockbuster (1)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337761)

But is the coupon a real incentive to stay if the prices are outlandish to begin with? $8 per game rental is a bit excessive to say the least, especially in light of other online offerings like Gamefly. Point being, if you rely on the BB's coupons for your subscription to be worth it, then you've really missed the point.

They got into debt... (1)

timmerk15 (753792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337648)

because of all the money they were giving freepay for people to sign up for their service. See [] to see what I mean. Everyone was signing up for their free trial just to get a free ipod!

Blockbuster is evil (1)

jrmiller84 (927224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337658)

This is definately a personal quarrel I have with BB, but I feel it is a valid one. I've worked for two different divisions of Blockbuster (at an actual store and now at the corp. office of a subsidiary of thiers) for four years total and I'd use Netflix any day. BB is an extremely deceptive company. "Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain" is how they like to present their motives to employees and customers when we know we're gonna get railed ( No Late Fees? Please... who didnt see that it was a load of BS? ). Sucks that I'm in college or I'd leave in a heartbeat. Needless to say I won't work for any part of their company after I graduate. Don't be surprised if their online initiative falls through completely. I don't think they're ready for it in the least. I know they're throwing a lot of money at it, but it seems like they're rushing to catch up to the market and that's never a good thing.

Re:Blockbuster is evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337691)

Things may have changed, but once I rented Sex and Lucia from Blockbuster, went on IMDB, and was puzzled by what most of the comments were talking about. I then rented it from Netflix and saw the rest of the movie. Never went back to Blockbuster.

Re:Blockbuster is evil (1)

cspring007 (705809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337698)

I worked for blockbuster for about two weeks. I quit because my manager gave me a ton of crap over suggestive selling.. "i see that you are renting "Crappy Movie A". You know, you can pre order "Crappy Move A part 2" for only 23.99 and get it when it comes out next month. I absolutly hated that. Also, they want you to be "HIGH WELCOME TO BLOCKEBUSTER" when somone walks through the door. Then there are the crappy promotional ads that run all freaking day long. And they close at midnight, which means i get off work at like 1:30. Boyhowdy i am glad i went to college and dont have to work at a blockbuster. who is evil. Not to mention the intensive brain washing seminars they make you sit through when you start.
Viacom owns everything.

Re:Blockbuster is evil (1)

jrmiller84 (927224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337712)

Ah yes, I remember those seminars. They put us through them when they rolled out the mind numbing 9 (or however many) step process. Basically it amounted to employees not interacting with customers and asking the same questions in the same order every time. If you ask me, that's horrible customer service. I'd rather have the employee casually talk to me than sound like a robot. Blast them...

Go Netflix go!! (1)

RedR (880377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337678)

All hail Netflix!!! I've tried both, and by far Netflix is king!! They are responsive, they address shipping problems/questions, they do not count it against you when the CD is lost in the mail or the wrong CD sent. Over all the CD's are clean and free from straches or problems. So go Netflix!! Enjoy, RedR

Death to Blockbuster (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337686)

I used to like them. For movies, they can't hold a candle to Netflix's selection, etc in their brick and mortar stores. I don't know about their online service, but Netflix is great (there is a distribution center within about 40 miles of me so my turnaround is very fast).

But I don't like blockbuster. We'll ignore all the scratched discs and such that the stores would give me (almost no problems in that way from Netflix). I recieved 2 broken discs from BB in about 3 years of renting, compared to 1 in 2 years at Netflix. And if you consider how you get the discs, that doesn't look too good.

But what are their prices now? I'll ignore the "2 day rental" scam they run on popular movies. They used to be $4 for everything. Now they are like $6 for a movie and $8 for a game. EIGHT DOLLARS TO RENT A GAME. I also enjoy how they sell anything you keep out too long to you. That is how their no late fees program works. You can reverse the charge within 30 days and pay a restocking fee, but the fact they don't advertise this fact in that no late fees campaign ticks me off.

Mostly it is the price raises that they keep doing. If it wasn't for video games (I don't get enough time to play them to make Gamefly worth my while otherwise I would HAPPILY subscribe) I wouldn't go near the place.

So, from my point of view, here is what happened:

  • I left BB because their service/selection was terrible
  • I joined Netflix
  • I found I LOVED Netflix
  • BB Gets mad they are no longer the big-cahoona in town
  • So they make a competing service and expect people (who all seem to hate them as much as me) to switch from a company they love (Netflix) or no mail rentals to BB's mail rental service
  • People either laugh at them or ignore them
  • Netflix proffits.

Never tried BB's program. Never thought of it. I'm surprised it lasted this long. Is Wal*Mart still doing this, no, they sold out to Netflix didn't they?

That's right, WAL*MART FAILED. Surely BB could do it where WAL*MART couldn't.

I've only talked to 2 people who tried BB's program. They both (former and current Netflix subscribers who tried it because of the price) said the selection was worse, the availability was worse, the turnaround was worse. Only the price was better.

And at $2 a month (wasn't that the difference?) no one cared. Netflix later dropped their rates in response anyway, IIRC.

Time to die BB. You're like Radio Shack and Toys R Us. You are not even a shadow of your former self. You're a dead man walking. You can try to switch industries (like RS did) and stay as a bit of a joke (and with their GameRush crud, this looks like their plan), or slowly wither and die (like Toys R Us is doing).

Long live Netflix. They (along with TiVo) have completely changed the way I watch TV. They have a great price for the service, and only continue to impress me.

In Canada, we have (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337788) is the big online DVD rental outfit here in Canada and I've been with them about 4 months now. I haven't rented a single movie from BB in that time, as I am slowly working through every older movie that I wish to see via Zip. It's been great so far, they provide a lot of obscure titles. The few times I've tried for new releases, I find that it takes forever to get them... this is where BB has them easily beat! With BB, you can usually walk into the store the day a movie it's released and rent it. With Zip (and possibly with NetFlix?) you wait weeks for a new release. So, after I get through watching about the 120 or so movies left on my list from Zip, I might cancel them and go back to BB for the new releases. We'll see.

One thing I noticed... (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337790)

Blockbuster seems to get new movies and some special tv-2-dvd things quicker.

Having tried both.... (1)

StarTux (230379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337792)

Tried both at the same time awhile ago and noticed that Netflix just served you better. Had faster turn-around times, Netflix did pretty much most of the time actually send you your top 3. Blockbuster would jump around more, which was kind of annoying. Also with BlockBuster I felt that they did not see, sure about this model (hope that makes sense, it was awhile ago and the specifics allude me, maybe it was just an impression they left).


Netflix is a red herring (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337796)

Blockbuster has probably only ever regarded Netflix as a minor pest. You all are seriously misjudging the size of Netflix's business by looking at market value. Blockbuster is doomed and bleeding money, but still pulls in 10x Netflix's revenue. Only three or four years ago, Blockbuster was still collecting a billion dollars in late fees per quarter or something like that.

No, Blockbuster's latest moves -- mail rentals, changing late fees, rental subscriptions -- have all been lame attempts to fend off a monster called Comcast. This is the same monster that will always keep Netflix a fringe player.

You have to essentially watch 4 movies or more per month to make Netflix a better deal than Pay Per View (PPV). Generally speaking, Netflix is for people who know what they want to watch in advance and watch a ton of movies. That's not most of the public. Most people realize they are going to be bored that day and see what's on. They want instant gradification.

How many of you subscribe to netflix and then let the movies sit for a long time without watching them? Most people I know with Netflix do that, then are basically paying $18 a month for watching less movies than they could watch on PPV for less money.

Face it, Netflix is a fringe player for obscure DVDs and movie junkies. Blockbuster was wasting their time trying to do it. Comcast rules the entertainment market, everyone should be extremely scared of them. Movie studios, theater owners, Blockbuster, Netflix, and those dudes on the streets of NYC selling Kramer-like recordings of movies. Comcast is poised to pwn them.

Netflix (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337829)

I've stopped buying DVDs because I don't want to re-buy once HD DVDs become available - Netflix is a terrific alternative to building your own video collection.

I have had some annoyances with Netflix though - damaged (out right broken or cracked DVDs) are about 15% of what I recieve, and sometimes I have to wait several days to get a movie from across the country. But all in all it is super convenient compared to the alternatives, and very inexpensive for what you get.

I suspect that Netflix is in a great position now because it would cost a heck of a lot of money to start up a competitive service.

One Case Study (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337832)

We use Nexflix. Never even considered Blockbuster as an option. YMMV.

Hollywood Video (2, Informative)

akac (571059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14337850)

We stopped using both Netflix and Blockbuster. BB because of its insane fees and costs, and Netflix just because renting a movie for us is an impulse action. Instead we use Hollywood Video. Its cheap. Quality. And I can find nothing that BB does better.

My killer tip for netflix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14337873)

Find the distibution center closest to you, track where your movies are returned to and which gets back soonest. Then copy the address and print a label for it. stick it over the shipping address on the netflix, cross out the shipping lines on the bottom.

From my experience, my movies get there at least a day earlier, sometimes 2-3 days depending on how far across the country they want to ship it.

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