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Thursday
Aug122010

Today in too little, too late: Blockbuster and Comcast launch DVDsByMail.com

How slow can you go? Blockbuster Video, a once popular video rental chain that now faces bankruptcy, is teaming with Comcast to stave off its own death for a few more months. The two companies have launched DVDsByMail.com, a website that gives Comcast customers a great deal on renting DVDs...by mail. You know, like Netflix has been doing for 11 years. 

Blockbuster has been hounded by changing technology and rising competition for years. Vending machine services like Redbox have cut into retail DVD and Blu-ray rentals by offering movies for $1 a night (I just rented Taken from a Walmart). In addition, more than 15 million people subscribe to Netflix, the original DVD-by-mail service. Blockbuster has tried to mimic these services in the past with "Total Access" and its own line of vending machines, but its efforts, like DVDsByMail, have lacked commitment and vision. Earlier this year, the struggling chain even re-instituted a new type of late fee to make more money off its declining number of renters.

Why is Blockbuster creating a service named after the dying DVD medium, based on a mail program that its competitors, like Netflix, are slowly phasing out? While Blockbuster tries to win yesterday's rental war, Netflix is bullishly pushing its streaming service, which allows instant online streaming of movies and TV shows at any time, on any TV or computer. Do the bigwigs in the Blockbuster offices really think offering DVDs By Mail will help their bottom line? If they were smart, they'd partner with Comcast on its blossoming online streaming service, which will soon compete with Hulu Plus.

The future of renting is streaming and downloading, not getting DVDs By Mail. If Blockbuster is to survive, its executives need to get their heads out of each others' asses and offer something Netflix and Redbox don't. If they don't return these old ideas, Blockbuster's late fee will just get bigger. 

[Source: Cinematical]

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