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Mark Atwood
Blockbuster has died, just the corpse hasn't quite stopped twitching
The Blockbuster Video in Kirkland, I noticed this morning, has closed. Four years, I have lived here, and I've never bothered to go. NetFlix, VOD, a zillion channels, and buying DVDs from bigboxes (the largest single source of revenue for the studios is now WalMart) have really smashed the retail video rental business. In another couple of years, the only thing left will be high-end speciality places, places like Scarecrow Video of Seattle.

Blockbuster screwed up several ways several times. It turned down extending revenue sharing on DVDs as had been the case on tapes, causing the studios to instead push into direct retail. It turned down buying NetFlix when it was cheap. It then tried to copy NetFlix's business model instead of playing to their own strengths. It made a pathetic push into IP VOD in a partnership with Enron, that cost too much for Blockbuster, cost too much for the end user, and had crappy selection and video quality. And they engaged in deceptive adverting about "no late fees", that pissed off their userbase.

Some interesting links: link, link.
6 comments or Leave a comment
sinanju From: sinanju Date: January 27th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
It didn't help either that Blockbuster was renting out bowdlerized versions of movies. I was damned if I was going to pay them for that. So we patronized Hollywood Video on the fairly rare occasions that we rented movies at all.

(I've BOUGHT more DVDs in the last couple of years than I've rented.)
ocicat From: ocicat Date: January 27th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Ya, you missed the censorship issue. I don't want to rent a cut up video. I don't think they've done that for years now... I'm not sure because I've never seen a reason to end my boycott.
pr10n From: pr10n Date: January 27th, 2006 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
"Because he has my AXE in his nervous system!" - Gimli, or cable TV.
(Deleted comment)
From: neocuriosity Date: January 27th, 2006 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree that there are distinct advantages Netflix has over Blockbuster. However, as a former subscriber to Netflix, I can say that sometimes you just don't want one more hand in your pocket every month. Some months you just want to sit in the park and read after work. Or go out for drinks, or sit in a math class or knit or do a hundred other things besides watch movies. 80% of Netflix' income is derived from their back catalogue of 38,000 movies, which rent for $2.17 at my local video store, which is 2 blocks away, which means I can get the exact movie I want, every 3 days, for about the same price as a Netflix subscription. The library is even cheaper (free) and it's even closer to my house then the video store.

I'm just saying.
sinanju From: sinanju Date: January 27th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I have friends who swear by Netflix. I've never seen the attraction.

When I want to rent a movie, I want to rent THIS movie right NOW. Not next week or next month or whenver I hit the top of the queue. Plus, I rent movies so infrequently that a monthly charge would work out to a huge per-viewing fee--way more than I pay at the video store up the street.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: January 27th, 2006 10:41 am (UTC) (Link)
And that's what blockbuster would have realized, if they played to their strengths. One of the links in my post was "what BB should have done".
6 comments or Leave a comment