Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Blockbuster Expands Netflix-Like Service (CNN)

I like this article, because it points out several differences between the Blockbuster Movie Pass and Netflix that other articles have overlooked. Netflix has become such a strong brand already, that anything that follows it is "Netflix-like". Movie Pass is available in-store only, which means you pick them up and drop them off yourself, same as before. Titles are not reserved for you--it's first come, first served. No online reservations, so you still have to make your selection in the store:
Blockbuster said it plans to add an online-reservation feature and mail-delivery to its plan by the end of 2004. Customers will be able to subscribe movies online and receive them in the mail, Jerianne Thomas, a spokeswoman for Blockbuster, told CNN/Money. But the customer will not be allowed to return those movies to a retail store until 2005 when an intergrated model will be introduced.

Notice that they don't compare apples to apples. They cite the number of "copies" for Blockbuster, versus Netflix's "titles" as in "the average Blockbuster store carries about 9,000 to 10,000 DVD and VHS copies. Netflix, on the other hand, claims it has over 20,000 titles on its Web site." Those copies at Blockbuster represent relatively few titles.
Movie Pass is more expensive, and you have to do the work yourself:
Dallas-based Blockbuster said it will charge $24.99 a month for customers who want to rent up to two movies, and $29.99 for those who wish to rent up to 3 movies. Netflix's service charges $22 a month for up to 3 movies at a time.

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