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corey3rd

Hunt really is clueless. It's not really retrograde - it's giving customers what they want - and in a more timely manner.

Your average BB is pretty pathetic as far as older titles go. But they seem to have the new titles on the shelf. So I get the best of both worlds with Total Access. I can get stuff not in the store via online and come Tuesday morning, I can show up with three returns and grab 3 brand new titles instead of praying that the NF computer decides it's my turn to get a new title instead of being shifted onto Very Long Wait.

And for those of use a 3 out plan, we can pull in 12 titles a week - 6 online and 6 in store. This week, I sent in 3 titles to NF. One title was immediately turned around. They sat on 2 for a day, then sent me a note that both DVDs will be come cross country so intead of being in my mailbox on Wednesday, they're due around Saturday. Who is getting "retrograded?"

If Hunt wants to question this plan, it should be about how long can Blockbuster can run it without a Red Lobster situation. This week, I swapped 6 so the store made $18 off my business. How does Blockbuster online make money?

Also the Blockbuster is the same distance as the last pick up mailbox so going to the store is the same as dropping off a NF DVD.

Rusty Ramrod

OK, I'll bite, "Red Lobster situation"?

I'm assuming RL gave away something in the past?

Rusty Ramrod

Being realistic, even for the hardest core NF fan/BB hater, the Total Access plan is the s**t.

I realize it is not perfect for those who don't have a BB store right next door, but for those of us who have adequate access to a BB store, it is a dream.

The question on everyone’s mind is how long it can continue. If you figure the average heavy user will get 24 free movies from the BB store and BBO is paying the store $3 a pop and the user is paying $18, the numbers just don't add up long term.

That said, for now, it is friggin awesome for sure!

Say what you will about BB, but they are simply leveraging their existing assets and in some cases, probably keeping some people employed who would have otherwise lost their jobs. NF can yawn and make fun all they want, but I guarantee it is top-of-mind at NF.

I think the biggest problem for NF in trying to invent some countermeasure is that virtually anything they could do would be counter-intuitive to their operating mode.

Throttling <==> More Movies

I wonder, since they are in bed with WM now, if they are considering something their. Perhaps drop off your MF movies at WM and get instant check in?

But again, that is in direct violation of their throttling mentality.

Who knows?

corey3rd

a few years ago Red Lobster offered an all you can eat crab deal. While the promotion brought in more business, they ate through the claws and into the profit margin. People were fired including the president.

CJ

I fail to see how BB Total Access is a "retrograde step." It cleverly uses BB's obsolete investment in the Brick and Mortar DVD delivery system, and as Cory3rd points out above, dovetails nicely with the experienced NF user's strategy to get recent releases (I follow the same strategy).

As Neil Hunt observes, it is the logical thing for BB to do, and in my opinion it will play out very well for BB. The NF dilemma is that NF has no defense for this Total Access business model.

type-cast

"Your average BB is pretty pathetic as far as older titles go."

They've got enough of the big hits and cult films to satisfy most people. Film buffs who have seen a large percentage of those would find their selection lacking. They have many obscure movies. For instance, BlockBuster's the first place I rented "The Draughtsman's Contract." Back on VHS. I think I read about it in one of Roger Ebert's books. They have to be selective as more movies come out, but even Netflix doens't get everything.

"I can show up with three returns and grab 3 brand new titles instead of praying that the NF computer decides it's my turn to get a new title instead of being shifted onto Very Long Wait."

Yeah, but they're due in 2 days. You'll get phone calls and post cards if you keep them 4 or 5 days. If you don't mind being nagged and abusing the 6-day grace period, you can keep them 8 days. On the 9th day, they will charge the $1.25 re-stocking fee. If you're late all the time, it might jeopardize your credit rating. Who knows.

Edward R Murrow

Neil Hunt in particular, and Netflix management in general, have it completely backwards. Blockbuster Total Access is forward, out-of-the-box thinking. We as customers have more options and flexibility with our Blockbuster accounts than we do with our Netflix accounts.

Hence, the value proposition is now clearly in Blockbuster's favor.

The coolest part of Total Access is that I can 'impulse' rent and it doesn't cost me a dime. If I don't have anything that I feel like watching, I can seal up a BBO envelope and drive to Blockbuster and get something off the shelf.

The Netflix model makes me drop something in the mail and wait for several days. There's no way to 'impulse' rent with the Netflix model, unless I want to go out of pocket at the local brick and mortar.

Remember, Netflix has 41 shipping centers and Blockbuster has over 5,000 shipping centers with the advent of Total Access.

Rusty Ramrod

"The NF dilemma is that NF has no defense for this Total Access business model."

Absotively. The only thing they could do is actually deliever the service they promise, but they *will* not do that.

Very interesting to see where we are in say 6 months. My guess is Total Access will be gone, neutered or shipment times will get so bad that people quit. Right now it takes them 3 days to get me a movie.

Typically now I drop a movie off at B&M BB store on Monday, they ship (or at least claim to ship) Tuesday and I get Thursday.


corey3rd

you are talking about a blockbuster back in the era of VHS with a copy of a Peter Greenaway movie. And that was under the old rules. Today's blockbuster is all about pruning the shelves. Odds are you'll find more interesting titles in the 4 for $20 bins than on the middle racks. If you swap 6 titles in a week, the new shelves start to thin out pretty fast. And like NF, BB doesn't put the lastest upgrades on the shelves. But hey, it's fun to be able to rent the latest straight to video release to discover what sort of stuff couldn't get into the theaters.

NF is not set up for impulse. And when you've got 2 titles and have 1 more freebie "coupon" in hand, why not grab a STV? You aren't going to do that on NF. You don't stare at weird titles on the rack and snag.

I think that the Total Access program will be helpful for films that aren't classics or blockbusters. I rented Evil Bong on a whim.

Also it seems half of the floor space is taken up by videogames.

moopty

Netflix griping about their competition instead of just working on their own service leaves a really sour taste in my mouth. They seem really heavy on image and low on substance.

Giving the customer more options is backwards looking? You can still always send the dvds back and forth through the mail if you don't want the bonus instant gratification of trading them in. Yeah Blockbuster stores have a kind of sucky selection, but I can still find plenty of stuff. I just make sure to check if something I want to see is in store and top load my online queue with stuff that won't be in store.

I think Netflix is just pissed they can't compete with that aspect and may have to stop throttling *gasp* or something.

I do hope neither of them go out of business though, because then the deals and service from the monopoly that's left will really go down hill.

type-cast

"you are talking about a blockbuster back in the era of VHS with a copy of a Peter Greenaway movie. And that was under the old rules. Today's blockbuster is all about pruning the shelves."

I have still seen Greenaway movies on their shelves, like Belly Of An Architect and 8.5 Women. I rented Revenger's Tragedy from BB, using Total Access. I had never heard of it, but the box jumped out at me. It's great to be free to take such risks. I'd never go to the bother of adding a movie like Elvira or Empire Records to my Q, but they they I had wanted to see them in the past. I gave them a shot and they were pretty decent. I would not bother adding a movie like Mini's First Time to my Q, but it was actually enjoyable trashy, campy, black comedy fun.

"it's fun to be able to rent the latest straight to video release to discover what sort of stuff couldn't get into the theaters."

I love some of those over-the-top movies and straight-to-video fare, like Nemesis (1993), Mean Guns, and Andy Sidaris's films. I never would have known about Nemesis, if it wasn't for BlockBuster. Great low-budget action "B" movie with John Woo shoot-outs and cyberpunk attitude. I went through every Andy Sidaris film with BlockBuster and Netflix. Those are hilarious B-movies. You'd never see those in a theater, except maybe a drive-in theater.

domc

No body is forcing you to return the movies to a store. Why not use the service as originally intended?

I am getting a lot more movies than I was before the new plan started. I'm on the 3 out plan. Average about 5-6 movies a week now.

Just a little worried the BB is not making money on this deal.

isnoop

It seems to me like this gent is either scared or delusional. Right now, I htink many people would agree that Blockbuster is going all out for the value renter while Netflix has a very good hold on community and online features (also, a slight edge in selection IIRC).

Hopefully behind these words, NF is gearing up to quickly move perpendicularly as well--either into downloads or something else equally creative.

Mari

NF has always been the s*** for me. I live in a large metro area and have hyper-great USPS service. But NF cannot provide instant gratification (mail is not called snail-mail for nothin' - talk about your backward thinking) and in the instances where they throttle or just plain drop the ball when I want a movie to watch for some planned occasion with a friend, then I'm forced to get it from BB at a hefty price. I never would have considered utilizing NF & BB at the same time, but a recent NF incident messing up a little party with surprize out of state shipping has made me a convert. Both have their strengths & weaknesses as outlined by others, so let the competition continue! Why should really good service be a perk? It's not like it's free... Neil Hunt should have more reasons to treat us better.

cubix

Everyone talks about major losses for BBO, and they always mention the $3 when you return a movie and then check out another movie. Well this isn't really $3 the company is paying the store. This is kind of hard to explain, it is just more like a transfer of credits.

They only thing that Blockbuster will have to pay is maybe increased bonuses to employees. So in reality even though the store gets $3 for each return and $40 for each new sign-up, they money isn't going to anyone

Old Timer Too

Hunt is political and politics typically deal in talking trash about the opposition. So what else is new? BB finally hit upon something that brings people back into their stores.

I traded in a online film for a rental a couple of days ago and spent $20 for three films that I wanted to add to my collection (on a 3/$20 deal). Did BB make money? Some, certainly. They sold three films that had become overstock and I was happy, they made some profit, and that wasn't the first time that I had done that, either.

Yeah, the $3 is funny money, but it shows which stores are still good investments. It is also going to put most of the bricks and mortar video stores out of business and increase the number of subscribers.

The market had become close to saturated before BB really got their online going well. The new site still has major problems with speed and other bugs, but its getting there and having the old site still available to use is/was a good move. Anyway, the bottom line is that BB is now going after those people who don't rent a lot of films with a deal that is hard to pass up... unless, of course, you don't have a store relatively close to you (I have three).

So, instead of purposeful throttling to make money, BB is now out to attract the low-rental customers and make it work that way -- not to mention having folks like me go back into their stores, get to know their staff, and once again experience that hands-on with a smile service. And if the service is bad, you have a venue (through your online account) to complain about store service.

rwv

I have been enjoying this Total Access plan. In fact, I recently changed my subscription to 4 out a month, and I no longer subscribe to cable TV. I figure that now, I'll always have enough DVDs available.

That said, I have noticed that Total Access isn't delivering quite as advertised. I have done Total Access rentals 4 to 5 times now, and the returned films have never immediately cleared my Queue as advertised. Instead, I've had to use the "report problem" function and indicate the DVD was returned. BB then ships the next in line. Then maybe 4 or 5 days letter, I get an e-mail from BB acknowledging that they received the DVD.

Has anyone else had this problem?

Tinman

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cubix

In response to RWV....

If you read the BBO site and the mailers. It says that the Blockbuster store will check back in the movies and the system will note that, more movies will be shipped the next(or in 2 days sometimes....) day. The movies will not be removed from your queue until the store mails them back and BBO receives them at the distribution center. I pretty much always have 6 movies in my queue at a time.

If you keep reporting every movie that you get, blockbuster might get suspicious or something of that nature....

vio

Jeez, can Mike please do something about this obnoxious Blockbuster employee spam?

BTW, I believe the stores now receive $1.50 for each Total Access exchange you do, not $3. I'm still not entirely sure how this is profitable(since blockbuster is paying ITSELF), but I suspect the company(as a whole) can afford the loss since they spend very little $ on advertising. As has been reported, Netflix spent a whopping 30 million on advertising this year, while Blockbuster more or less uses their own stores as free advertisement. I can't recall seeing a single Blockbuster Online commercial on TV this year. On the other hand, I've seen at least 4-5 from Netflix and I know that cannot be cheap.

Rusty Ramrod

"BTW, I believe the stores now receive $1.50 for each Total Access exchange you do, not $3."

I'll check again next week. It was busy that night so perhaps I mis-understood, but I *thought* I heard $1.50 for each return then $1.50 for each "free" rental.

Actually, I guess I don't really care as long as the freebies keep coming. ;-)

Lamarr Wilson

As I mentioned in a recent blog post (http://www.lamarrwilson.com/blog/2006/11/hey_blockbuster.html) I would switch in a heartbeat if the stores had the HD-DVD formats in my area, none do. Also, I live a little under 3 miles from my Blockbuster. The time/gas to travel there, drop off my delivery movies, go back and drop off the free movies in time, and go back and start the cycle again may not be worth it; hard to say, and I don't feel like calculating it. :)

One option that I didn't mention in my post was to have all of my HD-DVD's come online and get the regular DVD's in the store. If I can overcome the time/gas scenario above, this might be a reasonable deal, as long as the HD-DVD's don't take 3-4 days to get to me like they have been with Netflix (the Chicago center doesn't seem to stock them).

type-cast

"As has been reported, Netflix spent a whopping 30 million on advertising this year"

Actually, it was $31.3 million in one MONTH.

type-cast

Netflix spent $24.4 million in October alone. Blockbuster seems to be using their stores to promote the online service. And it's working. Several times, I've gone in and seen somebody returning envelopes ahead of me or signing up for an online account. I bet BlockBuster gets as many converts from the stores as NFLX gets by advertising in mass media. (Perhaps more.)

http://www.hackingnetflix.com/2006/11/netflix_spent_2.html

DD

I agree that Blockbuster online is a great opportunity for movie renters. Total Access gets the stores back in the picture. I enjoy my account and take FULL advantage of the in store trades. I think everyone should be able to enjoy this service. Try it here for FREE. Thats right I said FREE...4 weeks FREE.

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gir

Jeez! I come here to post something, and look what I find.

Is anyone here going to tell me that DD *isn't* spamming the blog?

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Visit http://www.blockbuster.com/bbfamily , and enter promo code 1087ta.

Happy Holidays !---------
HOW TOTAL ACCESS WORKS:

SELECT MOVIES
Make your list online from over 60,000 titles.

RECEIVE BY MAIL
Free shipping. Keep your movies as long as you want.

MAIL BACK OR EXCHANGE IN-STORE
Return by mail OR exchange in-store. Either way, we ship your next movie.

NEXT DVDS ON THE WAY
Never be without a movie.

vjman

I live in nashville, tn and I was ready to change from netfilx to BB total access because it sounded like a better deal being able to return used video's back to the store. But I was told by the employees that the middle tennessee franchises were not honoring or working with the total access program. They said they had received much grief from people. I thought they were all the same company but apparently some locations are in the program and some are not. I would advise checking with local BB before assuming you would be able to drop off there.

vjman

I live in nashville, tn and I was ready to change from netfilx to BB total access because it sounded like a better deal being able to return used video's back to the store. But I was told by the employees that the middle tennessee franchises were not honoring or working with the total access program. They said they had received much grief from people. I thought they were all the same company but apparently some locations are in the program and some are not. I would advise checking with local BB before assuming you would be able to drop off there.

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