from the copy-cats dept

After quite a lot of talk, it looks like Blockbuster is finally launching their Netflix wannabe service. From the description, however, it sounds like it needs a lot of work. First of all, it really is just a me-too offering. They are barely trying to leverage the one great advantage they have over Netflix: all those stores. Part of the deal does include the ability to rent two movies a month at a local Blockbuster store, but that’s about it. They’re hoping to (one day) use the local stores as distribution centers for the movies, but that’s a ways off (and it’s not entirely clear if that would be particularly efficient. The current stores clearly aren’t set up as rapid shipping depots. Netflix also points, correctly, to the massive number of reviews they offer, which is clearly a draw for some users. Still, if Blockbuster were really trying to knock Netflix out of the game, why just copy what’s there? Why not go one step further to give people a real reason to change from the status quo? Sure, it may take away some users from Netflix, but it’s a weak overall offering.

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Comments on “BlockFlix?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

If they offer the same thing initially as netflix, and cheaper [19.99 compared to 21.99], but you get 2 in store rentals, I’d say it’s a good start. You can also get a free month to try it out. I havn’t tried it yet, but it also probably has the advantage of less people [at least initially], which means a better chance of gettign the new releases. At Netflix unless your movie has returned on a monday, your likely to wait a while for any new release. That is my main issue with netflix, not enough copies of new releases.

I’d at least give it a try Mike before knocking it.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

I’m not knocking the actual service. I’m just disappointed that it’s a “me too” play. They have a huge advantage in terms of the stores, so why aren’t they leveraging them? If you want to jump into a new market where a competitor already is, it’s worthwhile to offer something even more compelling. The Blockbuster offer seems like they’re just catching up, rather than leapfrogging the competition.

At least they’ve caught up, but shouldn’t they try to offer something more?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

I know what your saying Mike. But let them catch up then offer more.

But since I originally posted the see what they are before knockign them, I signed up for the free month offer, and well it is FAR FAR lacking behind netflix. First off it has listings for tv shows, but most of them say “Coming Soon”, which if you look at the meaning, it means on order or not available for rental yet [i’m talking shows like nip/tuck, etc]. I tried to add for the heck of it Days of Thunder, it has a long wait, futurama long wait, pretty much most things I chose had a long to short wait. So yes, I am not impressed, and I will not be switching away from netflix anytime soon, so yes they are laggig behind netflix. Though their interfaces is simmilar, ratings, recomendations, categories, etc. Blockbuster does have better categories [i can look in action-> swashbuckling for instance, which i thought was funny].

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Nah, Mike seldom tries things before he knocks them. Probably not enough time in the day.

I’m a netflix customer and have/had been extremely happy with them up until the last month or two. My movies are showing up a day or two late now whereas they used to always be on time and generally a day ahead of schedule.

I haven’t switched … yet .. but a ‘me too’ service would be adequate if Netflix doesn’t return to it’s customary level of service (for me).

That said, BB will probably not be much/any better BUT at least I’ll save a couple of dollars.

Loraan says:

No Subject Given

Netflix’s best strength is Blockbuster’s weakness: depth of library. I’m not a Blockbuster subscriber, but I was a storefront customer for years before I joined Netflix. Blockbuster’s selection of foreign, anime, television series, documentaries, etc… just sucks rocks compared to Netflix. Not to mention that I can rent DVD-A titles through Netflix too! I don’t really watch TV, but I have never seen so many TV shows since I signed up with Netflix. Blockbuster couldn’t do that.

adompha (user link) says:

Re: Netflix

I burnt out on Netflix about 6 months ago, and found this alternative: Very similar to Netflix, but they have a lot more anime, foreign, indie, and adult films. It’s in San Francisco, so I am not sure what the shipping times would be outside of California, but worth a look if you like stuff a bit more outside the mainstream.

Griffon says:


It looks like block buster is setup to flip a switch to let you add games as well. Not sure how it would work but that is my take away from ta glance at the website. If true that would be a great feature add for a lot of folks (if there is not additional cost I would go for it).
I think the missing puzzle piece and winning strategy is the 4 for 20. Back when Netflix gave you four DVD’s for $20 bucks a month I thought their service kicked ass and recommended it absolutely everyone, but all the new price models are comparatively weak IMO and don’t carry forward the right balance. When they are the only game in town, well they could afford to take advantage but with things heating up they need to get back to basics before somebody eats their lunch.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Their online offering is “Me Too”. Their in-store offering is killer. I’ve been an in-store “two movies out at a time” customer for several months now. The store is right by my house… I swap my two several times a week. Of course, I may run through the ‘depth’ of the store at some point; less likely in that this includes new releases.

I would not consider a mail based service, BB or NF… I’ll stick to the in-store service.

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