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Netflix May Already Be Killing Blockbuster?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the quick-knife-to-the-throat dept.

Movies 302

Mattintosh writes "A blogger at C|Net takes a moment to consider the impact Netflix has had on Blockbuster. Some notable highlights include heavy losses ($35 million), job cuts ($45 million worth), and store closings: 'Much like the print media and retail stores refusing to change, Blockbuster has been a victim on an online company finding new and inventive ways of bringing a product to a customer. And due to its size and outdated corporate culture, there really is no salvation for Blockbuster at this point. Try as it might, the future of Blockbuster is bleak, at best. Sure, the company still enjoys revenue that climb into the billions of dollars, but with an ever-increasing net loss and a public refusal to focus on Total Access--the area where Netflix continues to dominate--what is the impetus for us to jump on the Blockbuster bandwagon?'"

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Thank Big Tel/Cable (4, Insightful)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220805)

Meanwhile, the only thing saving Netflix's ass is the anticompetitive nature of the telecom industry in the US, which causes us to have broadband slow enough to make downloading DVD-quality movies too painful... time marches on.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (4, Insightful)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221085)

When I go to Netflix [netflix.com] I see "Watch movies instantly on your PC". Did I miss something?

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221127)

Indeed. The GP should have said the only thing holding Netflix back is the anticompetitive nature of the telcos, et al. Netflix offers movies for download already and with greater bandwidth they might even start offering them in an watchable resolution. I just hope they lose the IE-only bit.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221203)

The instant viewing selection is minute. I don't know if it's because netflix can't get the rights to distribute online or doesn't have the bandwidth to offer, but I won't consider this a real feature of the service until I'm regularly able to find something I want to watch online.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (2, Insightful)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221233)

I prefer my movies to be of reasonable quality. Netflix's selection of DVDs is also much greater than its selection of downloadable movies.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221243)

Or almost any selection of downloadable movies, actually.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (2, Informative)

robbiedo (553308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221245)

You can stream movies to your PC. It is pretty cool. Only works with Windows and Internet Explorer right now, but you basically get 1 free hour of streaming per each dollar of your monthly fee. Spend 18 dollars get 18 hours streamed. Quality is nice on a PC screen.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221099)

I just don't get it. I refuse to go to Blockbuster and I cannot justify Netflix's fees and I really like to watch movies (I consider watching three or four movies a month above average). I go to the local grocery store and up to their DVD kiosk and rent a movie for 24 hours at 1.05 (including tax).

I drive by the store containing the kiosk (which is directly across the street from Blockbuster and Hollywood) at least several times a day. I'd rather put my money there ($5 for a rental at Blockbuster? Please.) and have slim pickings than go to Blockbuster.

Can someone please explain to me why you are willing to pay astronomical monthly fees for Netflix on a recurring basis and you might not even get your #1 choices? I just don't understand how the business model survives.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (4, Informative)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221235)

Can someone please explain to me why you are willing to pay astronomical monthly fees for Netflix on a recurring basis and you might not even get your #1 choices? I just don't understand how the business model survives.
Sure...because for $9/month (astronomical?? I think not), I can get a movie (have always been able to get my #1 picks so far) in my mailbox for an unlimited amount of time, drop it in the mail when I'm done, and four days later have another one in my mailbox. I don't have to stop anywhere, I can browse online, AND if I come across a movie I want to watch and it's available to stream, I can watch it instantly (assuming I have Windows; my Mac is thus far not supported). Nine hours (I think) of streaming per month is included in that $9 monthly fee.

On top of that, when my monthly fee dropped from $9.99 to $8.99, I had to do nothing; my monthly rate automatically went down.

Seems pretty fair to me.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (4, Interesting)

pragma_x (644215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221331)

I can't speak for everyone else, but personally, I find Netflix fantastic at providing me access to a seemingly bottomless library of old, independent and foreign movies. I tend to have rather esoteric tastes, so paying for a subscription that is almost on-demand for just about anything I could want is well worth it. Basically they have all the stuff that more space-constrained institutions (Kiosks, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, etc) can't be bothered with . To that end, I've never had to wait for a movie to become available.

Now on the other hand: if all you want to do is see the major releases and not pay $10 to see it in a theater, then cruising the video kiosk is certainly the way to go.

why netflix (3, Informative)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221385)

I go to the local grocery store and up to their DVD kiosk and rent a movie for 24 hours at 1.05

definitely live in a different area than me. Kiosk at my safeway has under 30 movies, and most are around $3-4. pre netflix I watched 3-4 a month, and had watched every movie I was interested in (that was available) a few years back.

Netflix has a great site, I have rented 300 movies in the last 2 years, and I have 50 movies in my queue. The site has no problem finding new (to me) movies. No more wondering rental stores, or hanging out at a kiosk daily. monthly I visit netflix.com, and imdb.com in seperate tabs, 1 hour max to top off a new list of movies for us. To do anything equivalent at a remote site would require printing the results of the same browsing, and printing the queue, and then hunting for which of them are their.

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221107)

Considering NetFlix offers just such a "Watch Instantly" download service as part of normal account services I have to disagree. (Well, maybe they aren't DVD quality, I haven't bothered to use it myself.)

Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (3, Interesting)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221115)

I think it's the other way around - dedicated TV cable/fiber to the consumer will lose ground on two fronts at once.

On the onc hand, TV stations are broadcasting digital signals over the air (wireless!). These look beautiful in HD today and will only get more numerous and stronger, especially when analog signals go away in a few years and interference is no longer an issue.

For the few non-broadcast TV providers worth watching (e.g. ESPN, HBO), the Internet will become the platform of choice. The need for a special "set-top box" to receive cable signals will be displaced by plain old PC's connected to the Internet.

Anyone who has both Cable and Internet is basically paying for the same thing twice (especially if you get one of those stupid "triple plays" from the same provider). People will eventually figure out that Cable is a subset of Internet and stop paying separately for it.

Phone service, on the other hand, may survive as a distinct offering because of its importance in real life. No one has an emergency need for Cable TV, though, so it will fade.

This is the lesson of the PC revolution, repeated over and over: General purpose PC (with networking) displaces special purpose hardware. This is why Netflix (or its descendants) will be around long after Cable is a memory.

Needless to say... (0, Troll)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220807)

The MPAA will blame Blockbuster's losses as due to piracy.

Re:Needless to say... (1)

kryten250 (1177211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220831)

True, and it is partly correct. How many tech apdt friends will rip and burn movies to avoid buying them, maybe 2% of sales. I can reference the buddy whip speech in Other Peoples Money a la Danny Devito

Re:Needless to say... (4, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220935)

For a minute there I was going to mod -1 overrated but I thought I'd reply instead. Apparently some mods were swayed by your flashing for the cameras and offering up a sound bite.

But as I see it, even if the MPAA *did* blame it on piracy, the article is about Netflix *winning*, so right there is a built in counter-argument. That is to say, "If it's piracy, MPAA, then shouldn't Netflix be eating shit too??"

However, there is the argument that the MPAA is a buncha lying fucks, so in a way you have a point. Don't put anything beyond them, even if there is a possibly logical argument to the contrary.

Re:Needless to say... (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220991)

Actually, the netflix settup uses fewer copies of movies, because each individual shipping location covers a larger population than a given brick and mortar blockbuster. Basically, the statistics of it say they need fewer padding copies to cover the (unexpected) surges in demand. This means that even though the same total amount of renting happens, the movie studios see fewer dollars as a result.

I know my statement appeared as a general hatred of the MPAA, without much forethought, but they do lose money with netflix compared to brick and mortar.

This whole argument depends on netflix and blockbuster both having sensible purchasing policies with demand analysis. I don't know that.

Re:Needless to say... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221395)

The assertation that movie studios see fewer dollars as a result of fewer rental copies being purchased is incorrect. Rental companies are charged different fees than consumers - I believe it's typically around $5.00 per disc for a rental DVD of a major Hollywood film, which really isn't too far off from the accumulated costs of materials, production, shipping and handling. In return for this deal, the film studios are offered a percentage of the profits from rental fees. This is infinitely better than the VHS rental licensing scheme, since replacement media can be had for extremely cheap.

This is also an extremely lucrative source of income for Blockbuster, since they are allowed to sell used rental product for (initially) very near the full retail cost of the movie and none of this money is sent back to the film studios. Extremely low-margin and low-risk, which is also why you'll get the till jockeys shoving it down your throat when you're too lazy to drive to Walmart to save a few bucks on a new DVD.

Re:Needless to say... (2, Insightful)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221149)

But as I see it, even if the MPAA *did* blame it on piracy, the article is about Netflix *winning*, so right there is a built in counter-argument. That is to say, "If it's piracy, MPAA, then shouldn't Netflix be eating shit too??"

Where do you think the "pirates" get their movies? Netflix makes it cost efficient. Blockbuster does not.

Re:Needless to say... (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221005)

You got a score of 4 for an 'insightful' post; I say it should be a score of 5 for a 'funny' post instead, but darkly funny because that's likely to be exactly what will happen. ;)

Re:Needless to say... (2, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221035)

I would think that video rentals would help lead to piracy (renting then ripping - makes it more anonymous as well.)

You know what that summary reads like? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21220815)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save *BSD from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:You know what that summary reads like? (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220981)

It does indeed, except the summary does not invoke Netcraft, but the more authoritative "blogger at C|Net". When "a blogger at C|Net" has Opinions, especially about a billion-dollar corporation and the future earnings of said corporation, I'm all ears.

And due to its size and outdated corporate culture, there really is no salvation for Blockbuster at this point.
Like from G-ds unto C|Net, from C|Net unto Slashdot, and from Slashdot unto us.

Blockbuster lost my business (5, Informative)

philmack (796529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220817)

Blockbuster lost me (and several of my friends' accounts) to netflix when they recently did away with their in store exchanges unless you opted to pay like 30% more for the exact same service. I have to imagine that a lot of people did the same.

They have a grandfather clause (2, Informative)

Honor (695145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221079)

I've had Blockbuster Total Access since right before they started the in-store exchanges. Which I love, by the way - I get to watch the movies I can't get in store, and when I want to rent a movie last-minute, all I have to do is take the envelope into the store and get any rental for free. They even give out a coupon every month for a free in-store rental - or a free game rental, which is what I always use it on. But anyway... When Blockbuster started limiting the number of in-store rentals, it was for new customers only. I got a nice letter from them saying hey, we are upping our prices, and putting a limit on in-store rentals, but since you already had an account with us, your price doesn't go up and you get to keep your unlimited rentals. So anyway, thats why I like Blockbuster over Netflix, and why the parent poster should have kept his/her account, since it wasn't affected by the new policy.

Re:They have a grandfather clause (1)

saw (5768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221173)

We'll, we were a customer from well before the start of total access and were getting two rental coupons a month. We didn't get grandfathered in. They said if we didn't pick a new plan, they would drop us. We let Blockbuster drop us.

Re:They have a grandfather clause (3, Interesting)

AdrianZ (29135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221265)

We were in the same boat and had the 3 disc plan. I had even been dissing my Netflix friends because they couldn't just go pick up a new film when they were finished with theirs. Then one day I was told at the store I reached my exchange limit. "Limit? What limit?" "You received a letter explaining it a few weeks ago." "No, I didn't." "Sorry" I then went home, joined Netflix, and cancelled my blockbuster plan.

I do miss in in-store pickups and just browsing the selection in person. Though, I had NCIS Season 1 on my Blockbuster #1 spot for a year (no, really... and 3 tech support tickets didn't change anything). Added it to my new Netflix account when I created the account. Just after I finished canceling my Blockbuster account, Netflix Shipping emailed me that those same DVDs Blockbuster couldn't give me for a year, had shipped.

Their huge losses explain the problem though, clearly they aren't putting resources toward the logistics or suggestion systems.

Don't they have a similar service now (-1, Redundant)

rossdee (243626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220835)

Doesn't blockbuster have a similar service to netflix - but with the added advantage that you can return the movies to the store as well as posting them.

In the end it will be thte one with the greatest selection of titles that will win out.

Re:Don't they have a similar service now (2, Insightful)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220963)

You're dead one with the comment about selection. That's why, in the end, the in-store exchange didn't matter to us. It took a surprisingly short time to rent every movie they had there that looked interesting. They hardly ever actually had anything in there that we specifically wanted to watch. It shouldn't surprise me too much, after all they're named "blockbuster". Indi, foreign, low budget, old, obscure, documentaries, just plain weird shit, etc etc aren't what springs to mind when that title comes up. Still pretty disappointing though.

Re:Don't they have a similar service now (4, Interesting)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221097)

If they had a system where the top items in my queue were in the store when I returned a DVD, it seems that would beat the service I get from Netflix. They don't need to always have MovieC in inventory, but if it is near the top of my queue, they can arrange to have it in stock, then after I rent and return it, they can send it off to wherever else it might be wanted. All the stores in a region could share the less popular movies. And I rent a lot of TV series. You don't even need to look at my queue to know what I will want next since I watch each season in order, and if I like the show, I watch the seasons in order, too. A system like that would easily beat Netflix since the transit time would be shorter.

Exactly - I never plan on signing onto Netflix (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221075)

I can go to the Blockbuster store with my online rental packaging and use that to rent 3 new free in-store rentals AND also get 3 more free online rentals (although you pay the monthly fee, blah blah) when the brick and mortar store returns my DVDs. That's right - three online rentals can generate six free rentals in return.

Netflix, can you ever hope to match that?

I'm going to be pissed if my consumer choice is ruined and I can't get the service I get now because of this "competition".

When Netflix is the only show in town, their customers will come to regret it.

Re:Exactly - I never plan on signing onto Netflix (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221195)

It depends entirely on your local Blockbuster and on your movie tastes. If you like harder-to-find titles, most Blockbusters aren't the way to go. The ones around here are awful in that respect. Any major movie buff will quickly run out of quality titles at a Blockbuster. Their online service might be better -- but at that point, why bother with them over Netflix?

Re:Don't they have a similar service now (1)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221323)

I find this story hard to believe, because Blockbuster has been doing well and taking over the online market from Netflix because of the simple advantage of also having brick and mortar stores to exchance your movies at, plus the added coupons you get sent every month. Not to mention, blockbuster will have the larger selection. For those not familiar with the rental industry, the movies blockbuster doesn't manage to sell secondhand after their rental life, just sit in a warehouse waiting for action. I would find it extremely hard to believe that Netflix has a larger selection than someone that has been in the buisness for a long time. Plus Hollywood Video/Movie Gallery are pretty much closing down, leaving Blockbuster the dominate force with brick and mortar, which will not be going away for at least 10 years.

My only problem with neflix (3, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220841)

It's a subscription service and a brick and mortar blockbuster isn't.

It would be nice if someone offered a service where I could just request a movie, pay my couple of bucks or whatever and have it mailed. If I didn't want anything that month then I wouldn't have to pay.

Re:My only problem with neflix (4, Informative)

pappy97 (784268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220877)

cafedvd.com offers the service you want, you rent by mail per DVD you actually watch, no subscription. Check it out. They call it "a la carte" renting.

Re:My only problem with neflix (1)

Wolfen_com (136996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220905)

Intelliflix [intelliflix.com] offers this, though I found them a little slow to mail the dvd's. But I guess you wouldn't care as much if you weren't paying for a subscription.

Re:My only problem with neflix (2, Insightful)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220927)

> It's a subscription service and a brick and mortar blockbuster isn't.

The response to that is that Blockbuster's rates for new releases are ridiculous. It's been a while since I've used my Blockbuster account, so I might be a few percent off here, but Blockbuster is now charging close to $4.00 (USD) for DVD rentals. So you don't need to watch too many movies per month with Netflix to blow Blockbuster away for value.

My experience with Netflix is that they're one of those rare businesses that keep exceeding my expectations.

Downside: As an Ubuntu user, I'm S.O.L. on using their online viewing service. That's still IE-only.

Re:My only problem with neflix (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220957)

I rarely watch movies so I guess I'm not the right demographic but I agree 100% of the new release prices. A theater here is only $6.00 for a movie, and renting the dvd is $4.00, screw that.

Re:My only problem with neflix (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221037)

I know this is slashdot, but try going to the movie (or watching the rented one on your couch) with an actual girl. Movie: $12.00 for tickets, $9.00 for soda and popcorn. Home - $4.00 for DVD rental, $2.00 for soda and popcorn. Which one wins now? BTW, I just went to a movie yesterday at a theater during the "matinee" timeframe and it was $7.00 per ticket. It's more in the prime time.

Re:My only problem with neflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221047)

Then you're lucky (or talking about matinee rates or something).. it most major areas (i.e., any big movie theater in a big city, major suburban areas) I've been in the last 5 years (NY, Boston, SF/Bay area), it's been at least $10, sometimes up to 10.50/11 now

Re:My only problem with neflix (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221069)

Yup. The theater down the street from me is 10 bucks a ticket. On the other hand, it's a beautiful theater and they're showing fucking Blade Runner right now! : D

Re:My only problem with neflix (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220971)

It's been a while since I've used my Blockbuster account, so I might be a few percent off here, but Blockbuster is now charging close to $4.00 (USD) for DVD rentals.

That cheap, huh? Last time I rented a movie at Blockbuster it was something like $6.50 after tax.

Re:My only problem with neflix (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221083)

Exactly. If I want to rent 3 videos from blockbuster for the weekend, I'm looking at spending the same amount of money I spend for an entire month of my Netflix 3-at-a-time deal. Then, if I'm running late on Monday morning and forget to return the movies, I get nailed for another 20 bucks in late fees. I haven't used my Blockbuster card in more than 2 years, and I have no particular desire to do so again. If I'm desperate to watch a particular (popular) movie right now, I can go to one of the $1 per movie automatic DVD kiosks that are sprouting up like mushrooms in every grocery store out there. Those things generally have just as good a selection as the local Blockbuster on any given day.

Blockbuster will die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21220849)

when online rentals don't suck. The whole DVD rental market over mail/at store will die. netflix may survive depending on their online rental traction.

Good riddance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21220851)

The Blockbuster near me closed at the beginning of this year. The storefront was vacant until about 3 weeks ago, when a Halloween store set up shop there. I'm sure once that clears out the space will remain empty for another 6 months or so. And this is right in the middle of a good-size city. The nearest video store is about 2-1/2 miles away (again, this is in the middle of a city). The thing is that I don't even miss it. I've been screwed over enough by them. I don't use Netflix anymore either, but if they can help get rid of Blockbuster, then more power to them.

Lost me on lame toned-down R rated movies (0, Offtopic)

boguslinks (1117203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220889)

Blockbuster lost me a long, long time ago, when I rented Reservoir Dogs and got the weak, edited, neutered version.

The box may have been labeled, but hey, I should not have to carefully scrutinize the movie's package to ensure that it is the movie I intended to rent in all its glory.

I don't even know if they still do that.

Re:Lost me on lame toned-down R rated movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221117)

Please explain specifically how it was different. I've seen this claim made many times, but anytime someone asks for an explanation of what was edited/censored, the person making the claim suddenly disappears. I'm not a fan of Blockbuster, but I've certainly never seen any hard evidence of editing/censoring movies.

Netflix confirms it! (4, Funny)

Verte (1053342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220897)

Blockbuster is dead!

Re:Netflix confirms it! (1)

Ep0xi (1093943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221301)

4 megs internal cache and no difference? let's gonna try quad cores

It would not be hard to beat netflix on-line... (4, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220901)

I'm a netflix cusomter - 4 CD's in three queues (child, bride, me). As a perk, they also let you have an hour/usd of streaming content each month. For me, that works out to ~24 hours a month. Great, right? Well, it only works in the States, so any gigs in Canada are right out.

The chink in the armor is the selection. While they have a massive collection of DVDs, the streaming selection is really poor. I would not pay extra for it as it stands. At home, It looks about the same as a DVD on a high bandwidth connection - here [multiply.com] for example, is a movie getting piped to a TV via my laptop. Bandwidth in hotels works better than I expected, and it is good enough for watching on a computer. I hear Blockbuster might have better selection... they should embrace the streaming!

Re:It would not be hard to beat netflix on-line... (1)

ickpoo (454860) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221261)

I used to be a regular customer at Blockbuster. We rented enough movies every month that we were Gold Members (not really sure what the difference is). Then the cable company rolled out an on demand video service. We basically stopped going to Blockbuster.

Total Access kicks Netflix's butt (5, Insightful)

llamalad (12917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220917)

Blockbuster's online offering is far superior to Netflix's.

Netflix constantly sent me random movies from my queue instead of using anything remotely resembling the order I'd prioritized them in. IIRC, they were everntually sued for that.

Blockbuster only seems to have tried that twice with me and a single email to their customer care address resolved that and got me an apology along with it.

I can also drop my total access movies off at the local LackLuster and trade them for free in-store rentals. And they ship my next online rentals the next day.

Not affiliated, just a happy customer.

Re:Total Access kicks Netflix's butt (1)

cblack (4342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221103)

Likewise. My wife and I moved from netflix to blockbuster total access several months ago and have been quite happy. One thing that is really nice about the in-store trade (for those that don't know, you can return a movie to a local store in exchange for a free rental at that store) is that if you real feel like a particular movie RIGHT NOW you can go get it. In addition it is sometimes nice to browse new releases that you may not have put in your queue but still would like to see.

Re:Total Access kicks Netflix's butt (1)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221193)

Funny....my experience was the exact opposite: I had a much easier time finding the movies I wanted on Netflix than Blockbuster. I kept the blockbuster trial for 3 months (and got, IIRC, 3 free DVD coupons) and then ditched it and stuck with netflix.

That was a few years ago, though, so maybe they've improved. Netflix usually has what I want and generally gets me the top item of my queue two days after I drop a disk in the mailbox, so I'm satisfied with them.

Re:Total Access kicks Netflix's butt (1)

AdrianZ (29135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221371)

Same for me. Blockbuster would send me the most obscure and probably least watched films in my queue rather than the items at the top and in the year I was a member I never once received anything in my queue that had been labeled "short wait", "long wait", etc. I'm guessing it probably looks for what is the least likely to interfere with other subscribers if your top picks aren't immediately available, so everybody's queue would be different.

Browsing the store was fun, but after 6 months, it really did feel like I had seen everything of interest to me there.

So far Netflix has sent everything in queue order... but I just joined so we'll see.

Re:Total Access kicks Netflix's butt (1)

The-Ixian (168184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221367)

I agree. I have never tried Netflix, but I don't have anything bad to say about Blockbuster's online service.
I had the $30/mo plan for about a year and always got the movie that was next in my queue in 2 days or less. I never ran into any kind of limit or miscommunication.
I ultimately canceled the service because I felt that I had tapped out what I found interesting.

Damn (3, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220925)

I swore to myself that I'd never use Netflix because of the fact that they invented the pop-under along with the assholes at X10. This is bad news. But I still think they're better than NF, even with the 5-exchange limit... namely because Netflix gives me exactly zero in-store exchanges for the same online subscription price.

Their website sucks (while Netflix's is fantastic), but they still have a larger catalog. I've never had any throttling problems at all. I hope they don't go under. I have something like 600 movies in my queue and no way in hell to pull it out without some nasty screen scraping...

Re:Damn (2, Informative)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221033)

I guess that's the preference it comes down to. Do you like to go to the store and trade your movies or do you like to drop them in the mail and get the next one (or batch) in 2 days?

I'll stuff 8 DVDs in my mailbox monday and have the next 8 from my queue on wednesday. For me, that's perfect. I'm not sure what you don't find in Netflix's catalog, but i've found everything i've gone looking for. THey even have obscure things like random yoga videos, foreign and B movies...

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221325)

I like that Netflix lets me create separate queues for family members and lets me change plans very easily. We rent a lot of horror in October, and I can add a disk and start a queue just for those movies (so I don't interrupt my regular stuff). Or, when there is a TV series I want to watch, I tend to watch it pretty much constantly, so I'll increase the number of disks so I always have an episode to watch.

Re:Damn (2, Insightful)

lubricated (49106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221339)

neither blockbuster nor netflix offer porn.

NO WAI! (2, Informative)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220939)

Who could have seen that coming. Netflix is even more convenient (for me) than downloading movies illegally, there's just no way a dinosaur like Blockbuster could keep up. By not actually having a physical location, Netflix can have a MUCH wider selection of titles too, and when your only limit is how many movies you can have out at one time you can watch a lot more content and take chances on things you might not have looked at otherwise. This is why I have no sympathy for the music industry when they say they can't compete with illegal downloads. Netflix does it (and does very well), by offering a better service at a reasonable price.

Re:NO WAI! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21220965)

There is something great about wanting to see a movie and going to get it right when I want it as opposed to having to wait for it to come in the mail. Plus, netflix used to send my queue all out of order screwing so many things up when you are trying to watch tv shows sequentially.

Re:NO WAI! (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221021)

If I really want to see a movie I'll move it to the front of my queue, if I'm really desperate I'll get the torrent, I can usually wait though. The order of your queue can get a little jumbled, especially for popular things because they try and send it out in order, but if there's none available it goes to the next title so I can see how that'd be a problem for TV shows. I get those from BT as they air (usually a few hours before actually) so that's not a problem.

Amazingly... (5, Insightful)

whystopnow (1167741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220941)

...Netflix lowered monthly subscriptions a month or so ago. Sent me a letter saying "we're dropping your monthly subscription cost by a dollar and adding streaming movies."

First time in my life a subscription service has gotten cheaper.

Re:Amazingly... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221153)

Yeah, I love Netflix....

I even bought stock. Why? Because, I once exclaimed if I owned a $1,000 of Netflix stock and were they to go belly up (back when media was saying doomed to die) that I'd actually be more bummed about losing the service than the cash.

Of note, I've dropped cable/sat and pretty much feast on Netflix+iTunes. Netflix's online offerings are more limited but quality is usually much better than iTunes downloads; and quicker start times. iTunes gives me more current TV shows. Netflix gives me all my movies.

(I didn't buy much stock cause I'm not rich, but I found out I could buys stocks via my Simple IRA at work.)

Many people complain about the poor selection of movies on Netflix's "Watch It Now" but I think it's ingenius. They're working out all the kinks of the system and offering mainly "B" series and movies. (That said you can find some real gems. I've finally catching up on the Sliders episodes I missed.) But this keeps demand low and allows them to see how the system handles. Allows for a live working "non-beta" without a nightmare IT problem.

Re:Amazingly... (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221269)

> Netflix lowered monthly subscriptions a month or so ago

Blockbuster followed up and did exactly the same. Blockbuster's queue is far better than Netflix's too -- you get the movies in the order you queued them, almost no exceptions.

Their system for series dvds is kind of buggy though -- I got disc 2 of The Prisoner full series before disc 1, returned it, and I've never seen another one from it since, it shows as unavailable in my queue. Another couple series items had similar problems -- once it gave me an out-of-order item, it became unavailable forever. Maybe they're just losing all their series dvds?

What rock have editors/bloggers been living under? (2, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220969)

Netflix May Already Be Killing Blockbuster?


What rock have editors/bloggers been living under? This may have been news say...4 years ago. Blockbuster launched a service like Netflix in 2004-ish (that's 3 years ago) and since then, well since then who cares, because pretty much everyone I know switched over to, um, digital downloads.

Seriously, a Netflix PR blog-vert in 2007?

Re:What rock have editors/bloggers been living und (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21220993)

It is official; Netflix now confirms: Blockbuster is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Blockbuster community when HDVDBVD confirmed that Blockbuster market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all Viewers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netflix survey which plainly states that Blockbuster has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Blockbuster is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent MPAA comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Buttwagon to predict Blockbuster's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Blockbuster faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Blockbuster because Blockbuster is dying. Things are looking very bad for Blockbuster. As many of us are already aware, Blockbuster continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

All major surveys show that Blockbuster has steadily declined in market share. Blockbuster is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Blockbuster is to survive at all it will be among DVD dilettante dabblers. Blockbuster continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save Blockbuster from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Blockbuster is dead.

Fact: Blockbuster is dying

Re:What rock have editors/bloggers been living und (1)

Professor Mindblow (1142939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221177)

I have to go with the NYTimes over this blogger on this one, from an earlier story posted on SlashDot http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/16/1250239 [slashdot.org] . Blockbuster is actually beating Netflix at its own game: "By the first quarter this year, after years of outstripping Blockbuster in subscriber growth, Netflix added 480,000 new subscribers while Blockbuster signed up 780,000 new members. And in the second quarter of this year, Netflix, which prides itself on customer loyalty, lost 55,000 customers. Blockbuster added 525,000, bringing its total to 3.6 million."

Some companies deserve to die. (2)

Morky (577776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21220997)

My last visit to Blockbuster was about five years ago when I returned a DVD a week late and they charged me significantly more than if I had simply rented the video for that period.

Re:Some companies deserve to die. (3, Insightful)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221051)

The best part was when they doubled their late fees, and advertised it as "NO LATE FEES" then in microscopic print "because we doubled the late fees and renamed them restocking fees"

Re:Some companies deserve to die. (1)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221271)

Guess it depends where you live. Here they charge you the full (I mean buying a new one at Borders price - $25 to $35) to buy the movie if it's 7 days late. On the upside you get to keep it...

This is not that hard (2, Informative)

wuputah (1068216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221357)

Here is an example timeline of the "No late fees" feature:

* You rent a movie January 1.
* It is due January 8th.
* If you don't return it by January 15th, they assume you are keeping it forever. You get charged the price of the movie.
* If you return it before February 15th, the price of the movie is refunded and you are charged a $1.95 restocking fee.

They make this completely clear when their automated system calls you about your movie being overdue.

I still don't think this lives up to "no late fees," but as they used to charge $4/night for late fees, it could be a lot worse.

(PS. Where is the textile markup option for Slashdot?)

in ireland (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21220999)

i work for a small company that writes rental software for video shops. we have about 100+ locations where our software is installed.

over the past few years there have been a lot of closures of video shops as various net rental services come online. i personally reckon the main thing to kill the market is bittorrent as the average consumer is now sufficently capable of downloading movies with the greater availability of broadband.

while the online rental locations have started to appear in the past few years the size of their operations is not comparable to the dip in the sales at brick and mortar operations.

that said how can they still compete?

some of our customers are now doing more business with internet cafes/gaming/voip/tanning salons/dvd sales more than dvd/games rentals. our software has had a lot of changes to cover these changes. one chain has closed a few shops but has also opened a few in new locations.

others have specialised. my favourite is one small chain of 3-4 shops that specialises in world cinema/cult movies. they have an incredibly loyal customer base who don't walk in and look on the shelves for a film. they come in and ask at the counter for a specific film. while most shops have a high staff turnover this chain still has the same staff it did 10 years ago for the most part. they hunt out all these films for their customers.

Which one gives the people what they want? (0)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221011)

Is netflix offering censored versions only?
Because, last I checked, the other guys had policies about family values and whatnot.

Re:Which one gives the people what they want? (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221291)

> Because, last I checked, the other guys had policies about family values and whatnot.

Maybe 10 years ago. Sure as hell isn't the case now. Got the unrated Requiem for a Dream there years ago. I almost wish I got the edited version.

The bad guy you're looking for now is Wal-mart.

Re:Which one gives the people what they want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221377)

With rare exceptions, Netflix offers only one edition (or an unpredictable selection from among those that have been published) of any given motion picture (what they carefully call a "title"). They obviously made a simplifying business decision to pretend that "title" is the only concept that customers will be allowed to think in terms of. If you are interested in a particular edition, you are out of luck.

Not just Blockbuster (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221015)

The Hollywood Video near us just closed up. Brick-and-mortar retail video rental is a dead letter.

Re:Not just Blockbuster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221341)

i doubt it. if you have a sudden urge to see a particular movie, are you going to wait til netflix sents one to you? personally, i like having the convenience to just drive down to my local rental place and pick one up right then and there.

i don't believe brick and mortars will be dead until we can get broadband fast enough and cheap enough to stream movies directly to our t.v.'s.

I'd consider blockbuster... (1)

LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221019)

if they're monthly subscriptions were for in-store exchanges. Movie renting for me is a spontaneous thing. I rent movies the day I want to see it. I don't want to wait a couple days for a movie, there simply isn't anything i want to see that badly.

Blockbuster is ignoring it's strongest asset. The brick and morter is the best thing they have going for them, and they refuse to capitalize on it.

Other alternatives: (2, Informative)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221057)

I rent my videos from Redbox.com [redbox.com] . I don't rent enough movies to really justify spending on a Netflix subscription and the idea of depending $4.50 on a DVD rental is absolutely preposterous. For $1 + tax I get to watch a DVD--a just price for someone who watches movies as infrequently as I do.

...and no, it doesn't run Linux...but it could.

In their own words (1)

nedder (690308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221123)

No more late fees.

Corporate vs. Franchise (3, Informative)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221141)

Back in Pullman, WA, I found blockbuster online really helpful. Everything about it was great, and the fact that NetFlix told me Star Trek V (for RiffTrax) was "soon available" and then a week passed without ever sending it didn't help NetFlix's case either. Then I moved to a larger city where all of the blockbusters were franchise within a 100 miles. Their "two night rental" was actually a "next day rental", they had late fees, they stopped accepting blockbuster online's coupons for free game rentals (7.50 to rent a game...), when I did have a free rental coupon, they wouldn't allow me to write down the code and simply present that to them- I had to print it out as well, and finally their selection was worse. When I asked why they were so crappy, they answered "Sorry, you probably were renting from a corporate blockbuster- and all the ones around here are franchise". I quickly canceled my blockbuster online subscription, mostly because I could no longer get a free game rental and because Red Box ($1/night) has come around and proven to both be superior to Blockbuster and Netflix when your primary interest is new releases.

Sadly, within two weeks of showing up, Red Box put the local Movie Gallery out of business, which had been my blockbuster replacement for games. Now I'm not sure where to rent games anymore.

Blockbuster lost me when... (1)

safiel (1016237) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221143)

they stopped stocking more then just new release movies in their stores, and not many cases of 'guaranteed to be in stock' new titles. Back before I called it quits for them, I'd make a list of movies I'd wanted to watch. The list would be maybe 8 movies with new releases, old ones, different genera's and NONE of them would be in stock. I'd leave the store empty handed, and for some reason very angry.

Now a days, even if you find the movie you want it's probably only for sale and not to rent.! You're blockbuster, you're telling me I can't rent the used movies you have in stock!

Salvation (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221155)

If the studios/distributors would just get ((*^&^ing real on the cost of plastic disks, they could save blockbuster, make more money, slow down piracy. Switch from elaborately packaged boxed discs,and "renting", go to a burn on demand kiosk mode for cheap. For the same loot, customer gets "rent" and "bring back" or "take home and keep". Which would most people choose, either going to the store or doing it through the mail? Blockbuster has the locations already, they could SELL burnt on demand disks slipped into cheap paper sleeves with the title for what they charge for renting now. Popular disks-latest releases and strong demand items- they could have a lot already made up sitting on the shelves. Throw in a few duplicators in the back room or the back of the store, a few kiosks for ordering and browsing for what isn't displayed on the shelves. They could up their inventory space tremendously by going to digital tech and storing ten times the amount of movies they have now and use the on demand service. They might make less per "unit", but selling a lot more "units" they would make more net profit.

Lovely Contradiction (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221163)

I love how "Try as it might, the future of Blockbuster is bleak, at best" and "Sure, the company still enjoys revenue that climb into the billions of dollars" are used in the same sentence. I couldn't define contradiction better if I tried.

I think someone's getting a little carried away. Blockbuster are huge, and they're not just in the US. Calm down and sleep on it.

Re:Lovely Contradiction (4, Insightful)

wuputah (1068216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221289)

Revenue is not profit, and if your market is a brick and mortar store, there is a limit to how much you can cut costs - you have to stock the store, pay employees, etc etc. Closing stores means losing that market, but I suppose they could simply close all stores operating at a loss... I wonder how many stores they would have left.

Shipping slowdown (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221169)

Netflix lost me when they started slowing down my shipping. Instead of getting my movies within the next business day like I was supposed to, it would take 7-10 days, which was ridiculous. With blockbuster, I can just take in my movies for a free rental at the local store and they get a 2-5 day extension. I don't really care how long it takes to get my next movie, as long as I have something to watch whenever I like.

If they were to up my charges I would most assuredly abandon the whole rental service altogether. This service is for my convenience, and the moment it becomes inconvenient, either because the price is too high or I don't get movies in a timely manner, it will be dropped. There are plenty of other entertainment options out there.

We'll be talking about Gamestop's death eventually (1)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221211)

Blockbuster is just indicative of things to come. Netflix may be riding high now, but as Hollywood slowly embraces digital distribution, its party will eventually end. But for the digital distribution to really take hold, several issues must first be resolved: DRM, broadband access, widely-used media centers, digital distribution services, etc. Of these, broadband availability and speed is the biggest obstacle, especially in the U.S.

The seeds are planted; now they must converge to the point of making physical copies of DVDs and games obsolete. And with oil rapidly approaching $100/barrel, all commodities, even small things like a DVDs and videogames, become more expensive to produce and deliver to consumers. Digital distribution is better insulated from rising commodity prices.

I just don't see the public embracing endless format and retailer wars. Cut out the HD-DVDs, Blu-Rays, Blockbusters, and Netflixes; just download the damn things straight to my future 5TB harddrive :)

This entire process might take take 10, maybe 15, years, but I wouldn't bet the future on companies like Gamestop, with their high fixed operating costs. Why not cut out them out and sell directly to the consumer, as Steam does? Wii, 360, and PS3 all have online stores that will only expand over the coming years. Hell, Gamestop has practically eliminated its PC game section and makes a lot of its money on used videogame sales. Of course when physical copies of videogames stop being manufactured, it'll be pretty hard to sell used versions, won't it? And it doesn't help that Gamestop, like Blockbuster, pisses off legions of would-be customers through its terrible customer service.

What is the impetus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221215)

to jump off?

Bye-bye Blockbuster (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221223)

"Barack Obama"

And he's right...

Blockbuster would actually be better off re-discovering itself. In fact, it might do better to sell off it's online service to Netflix and do a partnership where Netflix members could swap their discs. And buy themselves a bit more time.

But I've said for a while brick and mortar DVD rentals is dying. In fact, Netflix's model only has another 5-15 yrs before it goes the same. But Netflix is actively engaged in developing the means for TV on demand in order to keep it's future open.

***

Regarding all of the hoopla over Blockbuster's "Total Access". I once received a $10 giftcard to Blockbuster. So I decided to go rent a couple of movies. Except I had already either seen everything I wanted in the new release section via Netflix or it was out. After over 2 hours in the store I was down to renting "Muppets Wizard of Oz".

In the end I simply bought a used copy of an already seen movie "I, Robot". And that evening I did not get to watch a movie. I had wasting my entire time simply trying to find a movie to watch. I could have gone home and watched my Netflix films.

That one incident proved to me that Blockbuster's "Total Access" was useless to me. Shortly there after Netflix announced the download on demand. Now, when I am out of movies or in a different mood I simply go there. Most availabile films/shows are kind of "B" status. But I can usually find something entertaining to watch in the immediacy.

***

Someone mentioned Red Box. This is really what Blockbuster should do. It's the future of brick'n'mortar rental. In fact, I think Netflix should hook up with Red Box. (Since they're both red.)

Ignore the "Barack Obama" line (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221241)

Sorry, it was a copy/paste error. I began this post as a response to the blog comments (the guy asking who the next VP in 2008) was going to be.

Forgot to remove it...

"Ron Paul" would be better than Obama though.

(p7us one Informative) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221227)

Its corpse turned so on, FrreBSD went minutes now while

Blockbuster did it to themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21221249)

Blockbuster ordered a large amount of product from a company my friend worked at. My friend worked in the accounting department.

My friends employer is large enough to take care of itself. They have no debt. They deliver their product to companies all over the world. They are very respected and always pay their bills.

When Blockbuster's order came through, my friends company seemed glad to have a new account. They are both Texas companies, only 60 miles apart, and it seemed a natural fit. But after the first order was filled, Blockbuster did not pay on time. They dragged their feet. The CEO finally had to get tough with Blockbuster before they were paid their due. They never, ever, did business again with Blockbuster -- even though Blockbuster wanted to do business with them.

Blockbuster has had poor business practices for a long time. They were ripe for credible competition. Netflix just tipped the scales. And judging by Netflix's service and speed, are much better at what they do than Blockbuster.

Can't be botherd (1)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221273)

I have never used Blockbuster because they require a credit card. I can use a debt card anywhere else but there. Add in lack of an adult section and the amount of floor space dedicated to non-movies (games mostly) and they just don't offer enough non-major releases that would get me to spend money there.

yeah right (1)

urban_warrior (1001615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221303)

blockbuster may be slowing down but its not going anywhere soon, you see there are many people who don't want to have to wait for a movie in the mail, they decide quite often on the spur of the moment hey lets rent a movie tonight, while renting a movie over the net may be convenient there are definitely some latency issues. I would just write this article off as over-hype.

newsgroups (1)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221309)

The day I give money to Netflix or Blockbuster is the day my newsgroups access disappears. I pay $30/mo for giganews. With my uni connection, I can get a movie in 5 minutes. It usually takes me longer than that to actually find a movie I want to watch. It really doesn't get more convenient than that. Hell, with the uni connection speed, I can actually stream an HD-DVD or Blu-ray in real time.

What Blockbuster Has Over Netflix (1)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221315)

what is the impetus for us to jump on the Blockbuster bandwagon?

unless BB undercuts the Netflix price scheme one way or the other, the only advantage they have is the physical store. the stores allow for impulse renting. no wait time. for those times when a rainy day cancels evening plans or someone mentions a movie you've got to see asap you've got a physical store to rent the movie you need right then and there.

a small group at best.

netflix has it locked.

The one thing they do right (1)

wuputah (1068216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221319)

The one thing I use Blockbuster for is if I want a movie *now.* While this is exceedingly rare in my case, this is a role that, right now, only a brick and mortar store can provide. Once sufficient bandwidth is ubiquitous and a good download service is out there, this market, too, will die.

Blockbuster lost me when... (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21221355)

... they sent me threatening letters stating they'd take me to court over $20 in late fees.

I called their bluff and said fine take me to court over $20.

They didn't get that money, and they won't ever be seeing anymore from me. the SMART business move would be to send me a buy one get one free voucher, stating as a sign of good will we are wiping your late fee's and would love to have your business back. THAT would have probably seen me giving them repeat business. Now they get nothing.

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