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Online DVD rental service from Blockbuster

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 15 Aug 2004 13:41 User comments (12)

Online DVD rental service from Blockbuster World's largest movie rental chain, Blockbuster, has finally bowed to pressure from online DVD rental services like Netflix and launched its own online DVD rental service in the United States this week.
Blockbuster's service cuts the Netflix's monthly fees by $2, offering a model where users of the service can hold three movies at home at any given time and pay $19.99 per month for the service. In addition to that, Blockbuster also offers two free "offline" rentals a month from its rental stores.

Blockbuster also announced that it will try to cut the logicstic costs of the online service by integrating its online and brick-and-mortar services by end of 2005, sending the movies and handling the returns at local Blockbuster stores rather than in nationwide warehouses. Concept sounds familiar -- that is exactly the way how Tesco built the world's only hugely profitable online grocery store service in the UK. But selling bread online and fighting against established online players like Netflix are two different things, even when you have a brand name like Blockbuster has.

Source: Washington Post

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12 user comments

115.8.2004 20:14

I am a one year member of Netflix and a member of BlockBuster's(BB) Movie Pass. After 1 week, I had completely exhausted BBs inventory. They are extremely lightweight in their selections. They never stock any artsy fartsy stuff. They are pseudo-intellectuals because they think stocking stupid films in foreign languages is going to appeal to their brighter audience members. This is not enough for most buffs. Netflix has access to practicaly every DVD worth renting and most all worth watching. For example, Barabbas, Lion in Winter, Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Iceman Cometh, Death of a Salesman, The Star Wagon, Journey of the Fifth Horse, many Albee plays, many Oneill plays, all of the esoteric TV productions of the 70s and all of the films of plays imaginable. Practically every A&E special of note, every good thing ever released from PBS mysteries, Masterpiece Theater, Hallmark and other specials. Many BBC offerings are also available. BB simply cannot compete with the depth of Netfix's inventory. All BB has is current tripe and crap that is up to ten years old. This is from a ten year member of BB - I am not their enemy. I feel that they are in way over their head - just like poor old WalMart. I suggest that you sign up and stay with Netflix for variety both new and exotic. Stay with BB to get the ONE new release that Hollywood releases every Tuesday. That is where BBs strength lies.

216.8.2004 2:46

I live across the street from blockbuster and used to nash my teeth because of their weird idea of what a two day rental was.Their big competator at the time was the Wherehouse which has since dissapeared.You could rent movies for a set daily rate,and paid the same rate per day as long as you kept the movie,five days five times the daily rate.Somehow BB drove the Wherehouse out of the movie rental business and owns the other large rental chain Hollywood video.Gone also are the small mom and pop rental stores. I guess Blockbuster thinks that Netflix may be an easy target because they don't have brick and mortor stores.I work at the main post office so all of the movies returned to Netflix are processed where I work.There are thousands of returns a day and the other companies in this business barely total a hundred all combined. When I do go to Blockbuster I have a hard time finding anything worth renting because the newer movies are usually already rented.One thing I do is wander the aisles writing down titles to add to my Netflix list.In our world of I want it now Blockbuster has the advantage because you want to rent that newly gone to video release,hop in your car, drive to your local Blockbuster and guess what the manager only ordered ten copies of the movie everybody for miles around wants to rent gotcha.I.ll stick with Netflix thank you the movies come as regular as the mail.

316.8.2004 5:46

No doubt about it, Netflix is the way to go. I don't know how it is in your area but where I live BB stores somehow got the bright idea of organizing DVDs & VHS side by side which confuses the heck out of me. Nor only does it take longer to find what you are looking for but it also pisses me off if they don't have it on DVD. Hollywood Video now rents all movies for $0.99 a day for those new releases that can't wait for Netflix. Let's hope BB gives options as to whether or not one can pick up the movie at a local store or if not available there then it could be shipped from a warehouse. Let's see what happens.

416.8.2004 13:57

I agree that the selections offered by Netflix are far superior to BB. I can find just about anything on Netflix; from old GI Joe cartoons to the complete seasons of Alias. The one thing that I hate about Netflix is how difficult it is to obtain new releases. It is extremely frustrating to see "Long wait" or "very long wait" when you try to get a new release. If BB can garauntee new releases online like they do in their brick and mortar stores then I might switch over permanantly.

516.8.2004 17:40

I am responding to bridq. I agree that it is a pain to wait for new releases from Netflix. That is why I suggested that you keep your BB membership for the one new release worth renting. The trick for getting new releases from Netflix is to sign on to or and find out what new releases are coming. You can even find out from Then print your Netflix queue screen for a record of what you want and then delete all but the new releases on the Friday before the Tuesday mailing. This way Netflix has no choice but to send you the new releases. Then you can add back some oldies that you want sent during the rest of the week. This works, but it is a pain. I just sign up for 5 DVDs at Netflix and then rent one new movie on Tuesday from BB. The best of both worlds. Sometimes BB has absolutely nothing worth renting on Tuesday. Hollywood is running BB out of business or so it looks to me. BB is forced to try to get people to rent their old movies, because hollywood is not release butone good movie a week and a ton of crap that BB will not even stock. To see whst is being released weekly, go to and browse their new this week area. It is unreal JUNK.

616.8.2004 20:03

I love my NetFlix. I agree that working the queue properly is the key. I like when i get a new release that you can tell no one else has handled. fresh. I usually dont go for the hollywood new release reruns anyway. The inventory is truely incredible. I have only had one skip in my queue for waiting, and it was GI JOE. lol.

716.8.2004 23:09

Thanks guys for the tips on working the queue. I'm sure it is effective, but it does sound like a pain. I think if Netflix were to implement Blockbuster's new release garuantee then I'm sure they will remain on top. Anyone know how Walmart's online rental service is doing? Funny how GI Joe seems to be popular. Netflix has both parts of Season 1; Blockbuster only has the first part. Blockbuster has the first 2 GI Joe series "A Real American Hero" and "The Return of Cobra". So if you have both services you can get the best of both worlds. :)

817.8.2004 6:13

I tried WalMart one year ago. They were not very good, but they were new to the game. I have a philosophical aversion to the predatory nature of WalMart and Block Buster. They tend to drive small businesses out of town and then decide there is not enough business in the town to support them so they leave the town high and dry sans Mom and Dad stores, or in the case of BB they stock only the highest profit films. This story about WalMart was broadcast by 60 Minutes awhile back. Perhaps we could suggest to Netflix that they carry more copies of new titles. They might do it since BB is more aggressive toward them. We could all try sending the request to They might take our good advice. We should reference BB's attempt to take their business.(There may be a space between Customer and Service in the URL.) Really though, BB offered the "movie Pass" two months ago, and I signed up for it. In just two weeks I had rented every movie in the store that I had not seen. Now I know why I did not rent them before. My first judgment of the movie was correct. Block Buster has no asset except new releases.

917.8.2004 9:10

Very true. Blockbuster is nothing without their new releases. I guess they also have their video games too; that might give them an edge. I think they also rent their games online too. I haven't had the chance to check.

1011.8.2005 12:32

I have been a member of both. Netflix for several years. Blockbuster made a mess of it's effort right out of the gate. Initially I thought the selection and the super slow service would improve. I gave it a couple of months and I decided not to wait for improvements that likely would not come. I'm glad I left Blockbuster as it's lame service, to me at least, is a complete "bust". I can't feel sorry for a company that blatently lies in their national advertising. They are killing themself without help from the competition.

1113.8.2005 2:13

yeah i joined BB good thing it was only 10 bucks for the first month because iam not really happy with it. i will be switching to Netflix next month

1215.8.2006 2:39

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This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Aug 2006 @ 15:28

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