Do People Really Think Best Buy's Retread Of CinemaNow Will Eat Into Netflix And Blockbuster?
from the am-I-missing-something? dept
CinemaNow was one of the dreadful early Hollywood attempts at offering streaming videos online. Pretty much since it launched it was considered a joke that no one used. However, Best Buy last year announced a “partnership” with the latest owners of CinemaNow, Sonic Solutions, and have now announced that they’ve also bought the name CinemaNow. Best Buy has now announced it will be using the name for a new movie download service still powered by the same tech as the old CinemaNow. Got that? Of course, the press is saying will compete with Netflix and Blockbuster’s streaming offerings — and the stock of both companies took a hit. But, it’s difficult to see what’s all that compelling about this new service. Unlike the popular “all you can eat” models, Best Buy’s will be $4 per movie download with $15 for full “purchase.” Those prices seem quite high, especially when you can find used DVDs for half that or less. Plus, why bother going to Best Buy for all of this?
At least some in the press wonder what all the fuss is about:
Best Buy is hoping to rent digital flicks for $4, and sell permanent downloads for roughly $15 apiece. Those prices aren’t all that different from what Blockbuster and Amazon.com have been trying to do for several quarters — and those companies haven’t exactly set the digital realm on fire.
Bulls will argue that Best Buy has certain chain-specific advantages. It can promote the service within its stores, and bundle home theater systems with pre-paid rentals.
So how is Best Buy’s scorecard on that front? The company teamed up with TiVo for a strategic alliance last summer, yet the DVR pioneer continues to shed subscribers. Best Buy acquired Napster two years ago, yet Best Buy is still an afterthought in digital music.
Sure, Best Buy sells a ton of DVD and Blu-ray discs. Now, it can tack on digital copies through CinemaNow, and all will be perfect… right?
What’s that? Wal-Mart teamed up with Time Warner four years ago to do this with the DVD release of Superman Returns, and it was retail kryptonite? Uh oh.
Basically, this seems like yet another case of “well if we offer service combined with a big brand, people will just have to use it,” rather than any look at coming up with at truly compelling offering.