AfterDawn: Tech news

Blockbuster offers lower-price online rentals

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 12 Jun 2007 17:36 User comments (23)

Blockbuster offers lower-price online rentals In another move to further its rapid subscriber growth, Blockbuster has made some price changes to its onlien movie rental system. In its fierce competition with the dominant player in the market, Netflix, Blockbuster has dealt a few noticeable blows. It's "Total Access" program is an example of how the company is using its large physical store presence to boost its online offerings.
A new Blockbuster plan will let customers place online orders to rent 3 movies at a time for a $16.99 fee, $1 cheaper than the Total Access plan. The only difference is customers on the cheaper plan, dubbed "Blockbuster by mail", will not receive a free rental when hey return DVDs to a store instead of mailing them back.

Through the Blockbuster by Mail plan, they will get a coupon for one free rental per month though. The company also said it would offer more limited plans for as low as $4.99. Its rival Netflix charges $17.99 for a three-out at one time plan and a $4.99 plan for up to two rentals per month.

Netflix recently began a streaming service also to give customers more options and make it a more attractive venue for new customers than Blockbuster. Blockbuster has done some damage recently though, beginning 2007 with 2 million subscribers, which jumped to 2.8 million by the end of March. The 800,000 extra subscribers is almost double what Netflix received (487,000) in the first quarter.

Netflix had 6.8 million subscribers at the end of March and it expects to have 7.3 million to 7.8 million subscribers at the end of the year.

Source:
Yahoo (AP)

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23 user comments

112.6.2007 18:47

The Total Access program is a great idea, and when i had the service i gobbled up every movie i could think of...and then i ran out of movies to get. Sad, sad world. :(

212.6.2007 19:07

I see this rather as an incremental way out off the whole 'return-your-movie-to-the-store' deal that is just disastrous for franchise (non-corporate) Blockbuster locations. Quite frankly, the allowance they are getting from the corporate doesn't even come close to sums they are loosing to 'giving away' their new releases in exchange for on-line returns. One day that will have to stop, and starting a lower priced rental plan might just be the first step.

312.6.2007 19:46

Yeah, I've heard nothing but complaints from employees about the Total Access plan. However, I like it. I tend to rent older movies anyways, so I'm wouldn't be messing up any of my local Blockbuster's profits.

412.6.2007 20:00

Why would I want to get rid of Total Access to save $1 a month? Thats ludicrous.

512.6.2007 22:12
Ludikhris
Inactive

no im ludikhris

612.6.2007 22:48

Um..can they compete with a 14.99 unlimited premium Usenet account with all the "rentals" you can eat?!

I didn't think so.

713.6.2007 2:23
webe123
Inactive

Originally posted by windsong:
Um..can they compete with a 14.99 unlimited premium Usenet account with all the "rentals" you can eat?!

I didn't think so.

LOL! EXACTLY! If people are really wanting an "all you can watch" movie buffet, it amazes me that they pay $16.99 a month for this stupid plan, when they could get all the FIRST RUN movies they want with a newsgroup account.

Some people have more money than sense apparently....
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Jun 2007 @ 2:23

813.6.2007 4:35

Originally posted by Moomoo2:
Yeah, I've heard nothing but complaints from employees about the Total Access plan. However, I like it. I tend to rent older movies anyways, so I'm wouldn't be messing up any of my local Blockbuster's profits.
what kind of complaints have you had from blockbuster employees about this program?

913.6.2007 20:42

Quote:
Originally posted by windsong:
Um..can they compete with a 14.99 unlimited premium Usenet account with all the "rentals" you can eat?!

I didn't think so.

LOL! EXACTLY! If people are really wanting an "all you can watch" movie buffet, it amazes me that they pay $16.99 a month for this stupid plan, when they could get all the FIRST RUN movies they want with a newsgroup account.

Some people have more money than sense apparently....
I have been looking for a alternative to Netfix for some time with out any luck. I guess I have been looking in the wrong places. what is this you guys are talking about?

I did a search for Usenet and it looks to be a large something :) far from just movies. if some one could point me maybe to a link or explain more about it I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks

1014.6.2007 2:41
duckNrun
Inactive

I was looking around Usenet and got really confused!

I was looking for the concert video of Hole in Nienth, New Jersey:

I thought I found the file pretty easy but it was really confusing :S

The file was labeled like this...

Nienth Hole.PAR2

I finally gave up... I was looking for music not a Golf Tutorial or something!

;-)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Jun 2007 @ 2:43

1114.6.2007 7:49

to describe how newsgroups work briefly:

you subscribe to a server, which is 15 bucks a month. on that server there is everything, but each file is broken up into binaries in order to bypass legal repercussions. So, when yoiu download a file, its actually going to be broken up into 20-100 files. all binaries, and when you download all of them completely, you can put it back together and you have a working file.

par2 files are recovery files, so if there was a corrupted binary file, you can use par2 files to fix it.. assuming you have enough par2 files to fix the corrupted one.

downloads are extremely quick this way and its a good source for a lot of stuff.

in order to download these binaries off the server, youll need a program to be able to download stuff. i recommend newsbin pro.

its not easy to learn if no one is teaching you, but ive given you the basics. just look up nzb, nfo, par, quickpar, and learn what all those are and youre good.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Jun 2007 @ 7:50

1214.6.2007 8:01
duckNrun
Inactive

For those who are interested in learning about newsgroups and getting what they offer here's a good link to learn from:

http://www.slyck.com/ng.php

Remember that your ISP most likely hosts a news server but it may not have the groups you are interested in, nor may it retain posted messages for very long.

Again check out the link above if you are new, or even not so new, valuable info there.

1315.6.2007 8:35
mdhimes
Inactive

Well, I've tried BOTH services. The Blockbuster surely lets you get MORE DVD's in a given period of time... BUT their service stinks bad (stronger words came to mind). When you made your "list" of what movies you wanted shipped to you, you got them in the order THEY decided to send them, not in MY priority request. They (Blockbuster also "Deleted" movies off my list without any warning. Go on site and boom, some of your selections are GONE and not available to select anymore !

Netflix has a distribution within 50 miles of me. Their shipments were PROMPT every time, and I usually got 95% of the movies in the ORDER I WANTED THEM. Netflix had a LOT more selections capabilities than Blockbuster. I have a LOT of DVD's (1160+). The Blockbuster store(s) near me RARELY had what I wanted and when they had them, they were ALWAYS in that DA_ _ Super Extra Widescreen format 2.30:1 or worse. I hate that as it limits my TV viewing to less than 60% Grrrrrrr. When I sent Email to the Blockbuster service about problems, never getting what I wanted in the order I preferred, deleting items from my list, their responses were lame. It's as if they answered questions I DIDN'T ASK and they did NOT read my questions clearly. I dumped them after a 1-month trial.

I've used Netflix for many months now. Once a DVD came in cracked (guess the postal person sat on it), and I notified Netflix and I had a replacement within 2 days. They sent another without waiting until I received the broken one back! Awesome service and fast Postal turnaround.

As I said they had much better selections. I am a Stargate SG-1 and Stargage Atlantis fan. NETFLIX is the ONLY service or outlet that has ALL OF THE SEASONS of BOTH SERIES !!!!! Awesome !

My not so short (sorry) 2-cents

Mark

1415.6.2007 9:21

Blockbuster needs to do something. When I am in Europe, the local BB store generally stocks only the "trendy" films and charges rip-off prices for them. I would not pay that much to watch rubbish.

1515.6.2007 10:35

It gets worse,
Blockbuster has begun a test in the Charlotte and the Cincinnati markets where the rental period has now been extended to 5 days instead of the ususal two. How does this suck may you ask? New releases come out Tuesday, by Wednesday they are all checked out..and they are returned by Sunday-Monday. All the new releases are nowhere to be found during the busiest rental days, Thurs-Sat. I ran into the bigwigs at the J.W.Clay store this morning and told them that it sucked as far as a program went, walked him around the store and showed him that all of the new releases for this week were out, and pointed down the road at Hollywood Video which had plenty of each. His response was that they were trying to steal Netflix customers, and my response was "Well you are driving me to Hollywood Video". His answer. come back later tonight we will have lots of free rentals and other give aways. My response and you'll still have empty shelves of the new ones right? His response, well a few might find their way back... I hereby nominate Block Buster for the first annual "Let's screw the business into the ground" Award. Further nominations will be accepted in the safety valve area.

1615.6.2007 10:52

blivetNC, maybe it was a regional thing. Did he take on board your concerns and thank you for your assistance, or did he just shrug his shoulders?

I would have rewarded you, because you are looking after the interests of both the client and the company. You obviously want to spend money at this store, you obviously have a reason, an interest for going there.

It's within that company's best interests to acknowledge when there is a problem and that you could be doing better things with your time than coming back come back when they decide to run a proper service.

mdhimes demonsrated the importance of good customer service irrespective of the amount of volume a company claims to handle in any given day. People don't like being fobbed off and if there are alternative's they will naturally consider them. Unfortunately when I am in Europe there aren't many alternatives..Blockbuster pretty much runs the show in the town I work in. The internet is changing this, though, despite people's concerns about giving away their details online.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Jun 2007 @ 10:59

1715.6.2007 12:35
mdhimes
Inactive

Alternatives - And now that TIVO has partnered with Amazon - to download videos direct to your TIVO for Rental OR to BUY (xfr to PC and write to DVD) ..... ;<)

1815.6.2007 14:08
RNR1995
Inactive

I used to have both Blockbuster and Netflix
I have since canceled Blockbuster
There service is extremely slow
The 3 at a time plan your lucky if you get 3 a week
Netflix on the other hand is keeping up the pace
My two cents
Ron

1915.6.2007 17:03

@Wild9
Definitely national. Immediately went into seige mentality and defended the program... None of the store managers around here like the practice due to no inventory on weekends.

2017.6.2007 3:41
sportsnut
Inactive

I just the other day after being a Blockbuster customer for 20 years closed my account . Let me explain ---- I resently got tired of constantly paying the current interest rates of the credit card companies and paid off and closed all accounts.
The other day at Blockbuster after never being asked to have a credit card on file I'm told because of so many customers not returning video games to rent I had to have a valid credit card on file .
To me this seem very unfair to their good customers , to make someone have something that is not required by law to have to rent items at your store . prior to this a DL was plenty.
So I went to Hollywood video and 2 other store like blockbuster that rent games and movies and guess what? I was told that all you need to rent anything was a DL nothing more .
Just thought I would put this out there. As far as Netflix I was with them for about 6 months canceled that membership I received the wrong movies more than the ones in my list that I had picked to be sent. Also several times poor condition or cracked discs, they try to blame the cracked ones on the post office but went see the good shape that the packaging is in you know this isn't the case at all.
Has anybody else had any of the above problems.

2117.6.2007 3:57
sportsnut
Inactive

For the guy upset about the 5 day rentals in the Cleveland Ohio area Blockbuster has went to a NO DEADLINE MOVIE RENTAL !! and it doesn't matter if it is a new release or not . They also did the same thing with the game rentals.
According to the Manager at one of the stores this has created a rash on NON Returned Games and Movies which triggered the have a valid credit card on file . Because if the movie isn;t returned within 30 days they charge your vaild credit card on file the full price of the Movie or the Game that you never returned.
Their system for all that rent that think they won't have this problem if they have a close to maxed out credit card on file , the system checks at the time of rental I was told by a manager to see if you have enough room on your card to cover the charge, and a temp hold is made toward you available credit until the movie or game is returned. Example you have a 0 Balance on your card on file but a available credit of 500 you rent 3 games a what they feel are 50 dollar games until you return the games your card is chaged nothing , But your available credit until the games / movies are returned will be 350 dollars .
This is the same method used by companies that rent TOOLS / Uhaul trucks / Cars. etc .
Also forgot to add this to my previous blog above I even offered to leave a cash deposit to rent I was told that cash was not excepted.

2231.7.2007 1:02

Blockbuster has come a long way to get where they are, but with these continued practices, they will end up going back to where they came from.

2331.7.2007 5:01

Sounds like the mental midget olympics are in full swing here at Blockbuster. Gold medal winning performances are everywhere. I stopped going into the store because they never have to new releases, except at 10:00 AM on Tuesday the day the film comes out.

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