I got a flyer in my mailbox – a colorful red and blue 3×5 card – declaring, “Goodbye Netflix, Hello Blockbuster.” It’s now Blockbuster’s turn to fight back in the DVD rental wars. Once defeated, Blockbuster got a fresh start when DISH Network bought it (only after its huge debts were written off due to bankruptcy).
Powered by DISH Network’s 14 million subscribers and their set-top boxes, Blockbuster’s latest offerings allow you to stream movies and rent DVDs by mail.
Blockbuster Movie Pass customers can exchange the DVD received in the mail at Blockbuster stores as well.
If you remember, prior to the price hike, Netflix cost the same amount per month as Blockbuster Movie Pass is charging. I can’t help congratulating DISH-Blockbuster folks on their impeccable timing.
I am not a fan of DISH Network – do not consider this post an endorsement of the new rental service. But I believe in fair competition. In any industry, a monopoly is bad for the consumers. We are grateful for Blockbuster’s reentrance as Netflix will think twice before increasing their prices further.
Ever since Netflix announced its price hike, it has seen a steady customer outflow. Per a quick reference check on the internet, Netflix has 26 million subscribers. There is a possibility that a high percentage of these customers are already DISH Network subscribers, because so far the two companies have provided services that complement each other.
People subscribe to DISH Network or other satellite providers either because they live in rural/remote areas, or they only want to view a specific set of channels compared to cable TV’s wide range of channels (as well as saving money on entertainment costs).
The majority of people subscribing to DISH Network are probably Netflix subscribers as well. People in remote areas often subscribe to both satellite TV and movie rental services, as their entertainment options are limited in terms of movie theaters, libraries and local events.
If the DISH-Blockbuster folks get a major share of existing DISH Network customers (I’m sure they’ll try heavily, so expect to see a barrage of ads on DISH channels going forward), the battle of movie distributorship is going to be a seesaw event between the two. I won’t buy either DISH or Netflix stocks for now.
I recommend that people with DISH receivers immediately switch over to Blockbuster Movie Pass on October 1st as this will save money. People who don’t have DISH TV service can stay with Netflix – receiver rental is another cost you would incur otherwise.
If you are interested in seeing the differences between Blockbuster Movie Pass and Netflix rental offerings, read the CNet review. No one does a better tech review than the geeks at CNet (they earn money for the review, I don’t).
I will just highlight few major advantages of Blockbuster over Netflix:
|1. As a movie rental veteran, Blockbuster offers more titles.
2. You will get some new releases – not all – about 3 weeks sooner on Blockbuster.
3. Blockbuster offers video game rentals as well. Nice one to lure the younger generation.
And, did I say that the Blockbuster’s service is almost $6 less (per month) than Netflix if you use the streaming and DVD by mail programs together?
I am, actually, against subscribing to any DVD rental service. It just doesn’t suit my lifestyle. I’m not really into movies. SMB gets free library DVDs, which we watch on weekends. We do rent the occasional movie through Redbox or Blockbuster Express when the library waiting list gets too long.
If you are like me, I think you shouldn’t go for a movie rental service. Renting movies from DVD kiosks like Redbox or Blockbuster Express every now and then is a much wiser choice. In order to beat the overnight kiosk rental price, you would have to watch at least 8 DVDs per month at the $7.99 Netflix rate.
I know many of my friends, specially the ones with kids, swear by Netflix. For people who are too much in to movies or people with Kids generally prefer movie rental service. if you do, give the new entrant a chance and let it enter your living room.