One might look at the rise and fall of Blockbuster as a portrait of the hubris of big business in action. The video rental chain dominated the market in the ’90s by having more copies of more titles than smaller stores, and financed the business with late fees and simple brute force.
But the business started to change a few years ago, and the company didn’t change with it. In 2005 Greg Meyer tried to get Blockbuster to install DVD rental kiosks outside stores, so that customers could rent movies even when the store was closed, and so that (as a bonus) the stores could shutter during what were traditionally the slowest operating hours, to save money.
Blockbuster ignored Meyer, Netflix and Redbox soared, and the blue and yellow chain lost market share at an incredible rate. But Meyer bought a significant share of Blockbuster stock, and now wants to save the chain, in part by using the exclusive 28-day exclusive rental window brokered with studios like Warner Bros. Read More »
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For Netflix users, there are a few very good third-party app solutions available to access the service via the iPhone. (PocketFlicks and iPhlix come to mind.) Now Blockbuster has released an official app for the iPhone and iTouch, which offers solid access to the company’s rental options.
With this app you can quickly see new releases, browse the entire catalog, add films to your delivery queue and check to see what’s in stock at local stores. The design is clean, and if you use Blockbuster as a regular rental service the app might come in very handy.
MovieMarketingMadness makes an interesting point about this app, however. By allowing customers to see if a film is in stock at nearby stores, the company may be keeping those customers out of the store. Without the app a potential renter might go looking for a specific film, find it unavailable and rent something else instead. By checking the app, that same person can tell there’s no reason to head to the store in the first place, and make other plans.
[via Gordon and the Whale]
Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 by David Chen
Things aren’t going well for video news rental goliath Blockbuster. Netflix’s rental service arguably offers a superior consumer experience. Redbox DVD kiosks are cheap, convenient, and fast. And online streaming from Netflix, Hulu, and other companies threatens to destroy a huge chunk of the DVD industry at a whole. In September we learned that they might be closing almost 1,000 of their remaining 4,400 stores.
Into the breach comes a new scheme to allow movie rentals through kiosks via SD cards. But does the plan make any business sense?
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Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 by David Chen
There’s one thing that this summer has proven: People still love going to the movies. Movie grosses are actually up this year from last year, to $4.25 billion from $4.2 billion last year. And while studio executives are probably pleased with this development, one thing that hasn’t been as encouraging is the DVD market. While DVDs used to account for a huge percentage of a film’s revenue, that percentage already plateaued and is being supplanted by a number of other competing forces. The format itself is under attack, as Video-on-Demand and DVRs continue to take hold in American households.
One of the signs of the times has been the struggle of brick-and-mortar stores to stay competitive. With Netflix and Redbox offering consumers a cheap and easy way to get movies, it’s difficult for companies who are paying massive overhead renting physical space to continue to operate profitably. Last week we reported on how Blockbuster might be closing 960 of its stores, which comprise 20% of its 4,400 outlets. Anecdotally, I’ve seen three separate Hollywood Videos close in my area, which was actually kind of sad, as I used to enjoy browsing through the endless aisles of DVDs/Blu-Rays and chatting with the occasionally knowledgeable staff member. While video rental stores may never entirely go away, we are certainly witnessing an industry in the midst of a sea change, and in 5-10 years, the video rental store landscape will probably look completely different than it does today. Would you be sad if video rental stores vanished?
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Video stores of every kind have faced serious difficulty over the past few years as Netflix has become the de facto movie rental outlet. The Blockbuster chain has been closing stores at a steady clip, and is likely to continue doing so for the next few years. But a new regulatory filing released this week suggests the end of the chain’s existence as a big brick and mortar outlet could come sooner, rather than later. Read More »