Thursday, August 12, 2004

About Blockbuster

I have to admit, I am prejudiced against Blockbuster 's new online DVD subscription service. However, as a service to my curious readers, I am giving you some information about it. For background, Blockbuster began this service yesterday, Wednesday, August 11. It is very similar to Netflix. Here are some bits of news about it from the AP news wire. I have put interesting items in bold and my comments in brackets:

The roots of the new offering go back two years, to when Dallas-based Blockbuster bought Film Caddy, which charged $19.95 a month and shipped movies from Arizona. Blockbuster studied Film Caddy for a year - learning, for example, that 40 percent of its customers still visited video stores - then began testing online ordering among employees and consumers.

Blockbuster said it will offer a catalog of 25,000 titles, far more than any one of its stores. Blockbuster stores are stocked from a warehouse in McKinney, Tex. but the company built 10 regional centers to fill online orders and hopes to also tap store stock by next year. [Compared to Netflix's 25 centers--B]

With the new distribution centers, Blockbuster officials said they will fill about half of all orders on a next-day basis, with the rest arriving after two days. [compared to 80% of Netflix discs arriving within one day.--B]

Some analysts think the online-subscription model is just a placeholder until movies are widely rented by downloading them from the Internet.

"We believe video on demand is a very nice upgrade from pay-per-view," said Travis, the Blockbuster president, "but we think video-on-demand being a huge business like rentals is still a long ways off."

I'm trying to keep an open mind. If Blockbuster proves to be the better value, I would convert. I am still a Capitalist.


  1. I subscribe to digital cable. We tried "Video on Demand" for a few months. The quality was horrid. Pixelated screens, loss of color, loud popping noises. The way to stop this was to restart the movie over and over. I called my cable co. to complain and they said it was a new technology and was still being fine tuned. At $3.95 a pop, they need to be doing a BETA test for free until it works.

    I now have NetFlix and love it.


  2. Hey, I am also a fan of Netflix!! Check out my movie review page @!!

  3. Becky,

    Netflix would have to do a major dip in customer service for me to jump ship to any other provider (Blockbuster, et. al).

    My loyalty stems from two years ago. I was moving 800 miles and in the move all 4 of my Netflix selections (I am "grandfathered" under the old 4 out rules) went missing. I immediately contacted customer service upon settling and feared I would have to make immediate restitution.

    I was pleasantly surprized to see learn that they would move all four slections onto the "lost" list and immediately resumed my subscription by sending the top four movies on my queue.

    That is a level of customer service that I doubt Blockbuster would afford. This is the same company that charges a fortune for a movie that is late and I am happy never giving them any more of my money.

    Just my opinion,


  4. The whole reason we even signed up with Netflix was a lousy experience at our local Blockbuster store!

    I'm always wary about giving out too much personal info, and after the attitude/bs from the clerk, I said, to hell with it, let's try that Netflix thing. we haven't looked back. :)

  5. I understand that Netflix was started by some guy that forgot to return his videos and as a result incurred a lot of late fees. (Someone, please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    I would rather support Netflix than Blockbuster,a big and impersonal corporation.

    I also think that Blockbuster is going to raise its prices after some time or its going to stop its online service because I think that competing with Netflix might kick them in the rear end.

    I can't see myself ever leaving Netflix.

  6. One of the founders of Netflix was Reed Hastings, who is now the chief. He founded the company like a regular video rental operation: there was a rental fee for each movie and you had to return it by a certain date. However, he got the inspiration for the subscription model of doing business when he incurred a huge late fee at the video store. They switched over to the subscription service around March, 2000.

  7. It's a real joke that Blockbuster has begun to rent their movies online. Honestly, I find it very hard to believe that they will carry 1/2 as many titles that are actually in demand by the true movie buff. They will cater to the Moral Minority who can only get their rocks off of fast cars and explosions. Further more, the obvious fact that they are charging five dollars less than the majority of internet rental companies is an immediate red flag to the fact that they have nothing to offer. For almost five dollars, I can go to my local Blockbuster, rent a movie that was really only third on my list of choice, and go home to watch it on my cheap Sharp television/VCR, wishing it actually came out on DVD instead of a FULL SCREEN version of only 1/3 of what I paid to see.

  8. I will not change from Netflix to Blockbuster or any other online dvd rental store. A few dollars difference will not have me leaving Netflix (who I have not had ONE problem with in four years), the service is amazing. I mean, they take your word for it that you never received a dvd in the first place.
    Netflix is a wonderful thing and had a truely novel idea. It is just like the big companies (Blockbuster, Wal-Mart) to copy what someone else is doing and try to run out the little man. I will stay loyal to Netflix come what may. They will have my money, I am not about to adjust my 142 rental queue, except to add more.
    Go Netflix, show them what you got. Some of us will stand strong no matter what!

  9. I too am a fan of NetFlix; but I did a short stint with the new "Blockbuster Beta" online subscription. It actually began earlier than August 11th, as I began mine a couple of weeks ago, while it was still in beta. You get a free two-week trial period with the same "three movies out" as NetFlix. If any of you are equally intrepid and/or curious, it never hurts to try it.


    In addition to your rentals, you get two eCoupons each month for free in-store rentals.

    It's cheaper (so far) than NetFlix, the "three-out" being what NetFlix USED to be: 19.99. The other rental options are also cheaper, but regrettably I don't remember the price - only that it was rather significant.

    Blockbuster has a "Coming Soon" menu, something Netflix could use. Prior to Blockbuster's DVD Online Rental service, I always checked out the "Coming Soon" section at to see what movies I needed to have in my Queue at "Netflix."

    This really isn't important, but you can actually choose "half" a star when rating a movie. It still perplexes me that Netflix shows movie ratings with "half stars" when you can only choose a whole star.


    You can't post reviews.

    No "Awaiting Release" section for movies not yet released.

    You have to click on the movie to see the actual release date; instead it shows either "coming soon" or "available now".

    The "turn around" time seems slower than Netflix. That is, when you return a movie it seems to take a long time for it to be registered into your account.

    That's all I can think of for now.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.