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Comments

Tom

Wow, save $38 and get a free movie. I just might have to do this.

Manda

I'm always game for a bargain. Alas: "Offer valid for first-time BLOCKBUSTER Online subscribers only." I took advantage of their 1-month trial last summer.

I imagine Netflix switchers would, for at least the first 2 months, be flagged in the Blockbuster computers for high priority for DVDs that are in high demand or short supply.

If Blockbuster lures a Netflix switcher and shows the switcher a queue with lots of waits, the switcher will just go back to Netflix after the two months are over.

i propose a contest to see who get get the most dvds from blockbuster in a 45 day period

also would like to see who can get the most free dvds using the promotion

it is one per credit card?

have to check the details

Zachary

Does anyone plan on switching just to get the 2 free months and the DVD, then switch back?

I think I will change my NFLX plan to 8 at a time, then cancel, to drive up Blockbuster's SAC and opperating cost. I hate blockbuster, and if they are willing to shoot themsleves in the foot in an attempt to crush Net Flix, then I will happily let them. It's going to be funny if people switch to BBI, then switch back to NFLX right after their 2 month trial is up.

-Z

roror

so they are saying, we'll give you money to quit our competitor, although, our service is not much of any thing to make you switch.

mean, if you ask me.

darwin

hey guys,
all they are asking for is an email which shows u cancelled the membership . and all emails are ususally html editable files
can someone save his/her email and erdit out their personal information.. then we can put in our information ad forward to Blockcuster.. and someone with a 8 out plan.. that I like.. ha ha

i'll find a site where we can upload and store the html zipped file

omeng

...whatever helps to boost membership,why not? If you don't like it then ignore the ad...

Oh...to those who hate blockbuster for competing with Netflix...get a life! You should be thanking blockbuster, because blockbuster just lowered your monthly fee. From $22 to $18...

Competition is good!!! So shut your complaints, no one is forcing you switch. I wish there is someone out there strong enough to compete with COMCAST...so we won't get rip off as much!

PlungeBob


I have commented on the fact that I am using the 3-out
plan of both NF and BB.

I complained when NF started its throttling....

...but if I had to say right now which service provides
better throughput, then I would say NF.

I just watched BB take almost a full week to get even
one dvd sent to me. I am watching them closely. I
think that they might be beginning to throttle users.

Now Walmart died on the vine for me, taking more than a
week to get me my first disk. I never got past the
trial.

If you are a heavy user, NF is probably still your
best bet.

P.S. I am no shill. If a better service appears I will
be on it like a duck on a beetle. I have tried BB, NF,
Greencine, and Intelliflix.

"If you are a heavy user, NF is probably still your
best bet."

Wrong! Maybe for you. I am on the 8-out at BB and get 14-16 per week, and that's with 2-3 day delivery! USPS scanning works great - I put mine in the mail one day and the next day the replacements are on the way BEFORE they get my originals back. And this is $10 cheaper than NF PLUS 2 free rentals in-store (which I use for games).

roror

There are different variety of competitions. Not all are (equally) good. What we see here is not competition by service quality. Not by fine tuning the logistics to reduce the cost and by passing the savings to the subscribers. Not by innovating in any way. It's the path of lowest effort for "rich dad's kid".

I'd not even call it competition, it's buying your way out of competition. It's avoiding competition.

Filcher

It's a stupid play. There's no way they can verify that you've canceled your Netflix membership. You could just cancel, then start up again immediately, and they would never know the difference. 2 free months and a free DVD! How lame. Why don't open more mailing centers, buy more copies of popular discs, and speed up their service for existing users instead? I'm tired of companies (Netflix included) which give "new members" higher priority than long-term members. There are laws against such practices and it's time we started enforcing them. Discrimination against seniority is as bad as the reverse.

Sonja

I knew that Blockbuster would come up with something in answer to this. I get the feeling we can see Blockbuster and Netflix doing what they need to gain and retain their customer base.

mafioso

What good does it do to gain and retain customers if you lose them after the free trial and DVDs? For most people, Netflix has better availability of movies they want, and faster shipping times. It's undeniable that Netflix also has a faster website with less bugs. Blockbuster's Check My Stores feature has not been working for months, even though they say they are trying to fix it as fast ASAP. Yeah, right. Blockbuster sucks unless you want alternate versions or a few titles that Netflix does not carry. In time, Blockbuster will fade away. They can't even manage their website properly so all the features work...

"It's a stupid play. There's no way they can verify that you've canceled your Netflix membership"

wow...you would not do well in business!!

BB Online DOESN'T care! Two months fee with NO marketing /advertsing costs is cheaper than offering two weeks or one month free and paying for TV, Magazine and web advertising.

This is spreading through the web like wildfire. About twenty friends emailed me this deal.

It was posted on our kids elemetary school mailing list with a note that Netflix's turnaround and availablity would be going down taking on the Walmart customers.

This kind of competiton is great for the consumer! Keeps the service providers in line too.

Adam Smith

No, YOU would not do well at business. Giving a two month TRIAL does not make you any profits if people cancel once their trial ends. If you judge the effectiveness of their ads by how many people have heard about it, I guess you'd say that SPAM is pretty effective too. There the problem is the same - most people don't buy from spam. A few dumb asses don't know any better, but most boycott spammers on general principle. It's not competition to try to buy off your opponent's customers with a bribe. Would you say it is good competition for a politician to BUY VOTES too? It is sad how ignorant you are. U can't even make up a name.

BMc

Poster above, I am sorry you are wrong.

If you look at the 10q reports and listen to the conference calls, cancellations from Blockbuster and Netflix, even on heavy promotions, are about 20%.

I think they will retain 80%.

This is a first class marketing stroke, blew the sails right out of Netflix buying Walmart's (rather meager) list.

I think this will be a blody fight for about two years and pronably leave both companies exhausted.

I love a slugfest.

gag me

BMc, there have been numerous comments from posters who said they would join BB for this deal, then cancel once the trial runs out. What you read in company reports or hear in conference calls is hardly infallible. I'm sure they would love for investors to believe that only 20% cancel after a trial, but you can prove any absurd idea with enough statistics. Show the long-term data. "On a long enough time line, the survival curve for every one drops to zero." Netflix must believe they can lose more than that, or they wouldn't go out of the way to annoy heavy users (their biggest prosyletizers).

darwin

HERE IS A SAMPLE EMAIL FROM WALMART . I actually cancelled my account.. but instead of using this. I want a sample of the NETFLIX cancellation email so I can get 3/out at a time


--------
----- Original Message -----
From:
To:
Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2005 1:00 PM
Subject: Wal Mart DVD Rentals Membership Cancellation Request


> Dear John Doe,
>
> Thank you for using the Wal-Mart DVD Rentals.
> We appreciate the opportunity we've had to serve you
>
> To officially close your account, you must:
>
> - Return all DVDs within seven days to avoid additional charges
> to your account. For each DVD not returned, a $17.88 fee plus tax
> will be charged to your credit card. You will continue to receive
> regular return confirmation emails for all DVDs you return.
>
> Help
> For help at anytime or for more information, please
> visit http://www.walmart.com/dvd/contact_cs.gsp,
> or email us at [email protected]
>
> Thank you for your business. We look forward to serving you
> again in the future.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Customer Service at Walmart.com
> http://www.walmart.com
>

MRZOT

Why is it a good deal for Blockbuster to honor Netflix prices, when Netflix charges more for every comparable service? I don't get it. Sounds like they are charging switchers more than ordinary members.

The idea is to get old Walmart users to join BB instead. BB doesn't advertise any 1 out or 2 out plans, so they price matched whatever Walmart had and whatever Netflix had. NF users can switch over, pay the same(only after 2 months IF they decide to keep it) and get a free DVD out of it. If they don't like it, they still get 2 months free and a free movie out of the deal.

Now the users who switch, stay, pay the same, and actually experience worse service, then yes that would be a bad deal. But I don't think anyone in their right mind would stay after 2 months if they know the service is worse and the price is the same.

In short, BB is targeting lower priced plan subscribers. Besides, no one is forcing NF 3-at-a-time users to take the deal. If they want the standard service, they can join for $14.99 like everyone else did. Or do you want to have 2 months free, a free DVD, AND a cheaper rate to boot for allowing BB the priveledge to serve prior NF customers? That is asking a bit much I think.

"They can't even manage their website properly so all the features work..."

Why do you think the feature has been down for so long? Do you really think that a corporation that large that had the feature already working previously suddenly 'forgot' how to make it work or somehow managed to have a small furry creature manage their site features in order to provide a bad experience to you?

The feature went away after their recent update to their website. There have been many changes to their service all around, not just web site related. All of it seems to be tied in with availability and trying to provide better service.

In case you haven't heard, they are planning to start shipping from local stores instead of just distribution centers to help decrease ship times. Do you think this possible has ANYTHING at all to do with that feature being down? The "Coming Soon" link was removed. Why? Did Netflix explain why theirs was removed? At one point I saw a "Still in Theatres" link on NF site, now it is gone. Why? I enjoyed that feature myself. My guess is because a large majority of users are lazy and are accustomed to only watching New Releases that are spoon fed to them by those links. Well this puts a tremendous strain on companies to buy large amounts of copies when the new releases come out every single week while the rest of the 39,000 titles sit there and collect more dust than they should be.

There are always reasons why things happen, true errors get fixed. Changes happen because it either helps save money and/or helps improve service, although it may not seem like it to the customer because they only know what matters to them and not the other guy who's paying with the same green dollar.

At first I was greedy too and wanted to leech as much as I could for my little $20 per month, then I realized that it would only take about 4-5 rentals per month for me to break even for what I would have to pay in-store if I didn't have an online membership. Think about it, that is usually what you get per WEEK in some cases. The average is about 15-20 per month if I'm not mistaken for people who really like to rent movies. It's the customers who choose to be service hogs and want everything handed to them on a golden platter who drive up costs. No one is ever satisfied unless they feel that they are ripping the company off.

jay

darwin ,
you sample letter posted above worked great.
i copied and cleaned off the arrows/added my name.
its so plain yet passed the test.
after my copy letter arrived, they sent me a e-mail
asking how many disc my plan, i said 4 disc
at 22+ tax. and i got 4 disc special promotional
code from BB online. Regestering, they do
want a different
email address and credit card number, but didnt
seem to screen duplicate address.
if your gonna go for it
aim for 5 disc at 28+tax is worthwhile objective.

Greedy?

How does it cost Blockbuster any profit to let customers know if a store carries a movie on DVD or VHS? It saves having to call several stores and see if they have it or wait for a shipment. As for being a service hog, you can rent 3 movies every day for $10-15 a month on Hollywood Video's MVP. You could even go twice a day if you had no life. Of course, it would look suspicious - like you're ripping and burning the DVDs without watching them. But they probably wouldn't even say anything if you went on different shifts...

I look at $1 a movie as a good price. $2 a movie is a marginal price. And $3-4 a movie is too much. I do not regard 4-5 movies at $15-18 a month as a good deal for online membership. Even double that leaves me wanting. Usually I get 12-13 from BB and 16-17 from Netflix, on the 3-out plan. I return one movie every weekday.

The only value I see in online service is getting DVDs that local stores don't carry. But I still don't want to pay more than $2 a movie, because that is the price I have decided is fair. I prefer to pay more in the range of $1 a movie. I feel this should be feasible if online stores trimmed the fat down to the bone.

joe

I've heard that if you leave NF they try to buy you back, and that you'll also be flagged for faster service (at least for a while)
Any truth to this? And if you come back, do you start over with movie reviews?

"I look at $1 a movie as a good price. $2 a movie is a marginal price. And $3-4 a movie is too much. I do not regard 4-5 movies at $15-18 a month as a good deal for online membership. Even double that leaves me wanting. Usually I get 12-13 from BB and 16-17 from Netflix, on the 3-out plan. I return one movie every weekday."

That is the reason why you are called a service hog. You feel that your $1 entitles you to a DVD rental. All while sitting at home and doing nothing but making requests via your computer. You want it all fast, in order, no damages, and cheap, and if you don't get it well then the company simply doesn't deserve your business. Well bud, this line of reasoning is what makes things get out of hand and drives everything so nuts. Companies who are willing to give in and conform to what customers like you want end up on the same path that led Wal-Mart where it is today. Some will argue that Walmar is fantastic, they can clothe their entire family for $8. Others absolutely abhore their business practices and how they work behind the scenes to find a way to provide this customer eutopia. So all in all, you think that demanding the best for rock bottom prices is what you deserve, and I disagree. We'll just leave it at that.

Greedy?

No, I don't feel that $1 entitles me to a DVD rental. Stop putting words in my mouth. I feel that $2 is a so-so price for rentals, and refuse to pay more than that. I prefer an average price less than $2.

Like I said, I can get rentals at Hollywood for 11-17 CENTS a piece, if I got 3 a day. I never rented movies before unless stores had dollar specials or 2-for-1 coupons (bringing the average price to $1.50-2.00). I'm not greedy at all. I just don't see $3-4 as a good deal. Never have, even before Netflix and BB online.

As I can get TRULY unlimited movies at the neighborhood Blockbuster or Hollywood Video for just $10-30/month, I don't see how I'm greedy to expect $2 or less from the online stores. Netflix says it costs them $2 for every rental delivered. Some get less, some get more. That's fine. You call that greedy? Ok, then tell me how many movies I should expect each month on a 3-out plan, if I watch and return them within a day.

No one has enough information to tell you how many movies you should receive for it to be of value to you. However, I would gauge how many movies to expect depending on the plan and how far the shipping centers are. If your closest shipping center gets movies to you at an average of 2 days or so, and NF only sends stuff M-F, and you always return all of your movies the same or next day, then I would expect about 15-20 movies per month. If you pay $19 for the 3 out plan, and get at LEAST 15 a month(this is probably the minimum per month for moderate to heavy users) then you are averaging less than $2 per rental, about $1.27 to be exact. Yet, you whiny pigs still cry throttle while all you do is sit your big can down and click a few buttons and walk to the mail box. Even if you only got 10 movies per month, it would still be within your "OK" guidelines, yet you feel the need to stress how outrageously low you could average if you were really wanted to be a DVD glutton.

Glutton

It has nothing to do with gluttony. Hollywood's MVP gives you truly unlimited rentals. Even if you just went every 5 days when the movies were due, you'd have 18 movies/month, which is better than Blckbuster or even Netflix usually allows. Nobody is whining. We're just stating facts. You get more from local unlimited deals than online. The only advantage of online is you can get some rare things. But local stores also have a large supply of good movies. You seem to expect us to just lie down and take as little as possible. The market works by give and take. If we demand too much, they can raise prices or set limits. SCREW YOUR HIGH-AND-MIGHTY IDEAS ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE "DESERVE". You must be a share-holder in either Blockbuster or Netflix. I'm gonna rent faster just to screw you out of your dividents. There's nothing I hate more than Netflix/BB share-holders, who think they hold a monopoly on ethics and morality.

Glutton

I didn't ask how many DVDs I should receive for it to be of value to me. I asked how many DVDs I SHOULD expect to not qualify as a "greedy glutton" according to your very arbitrary and troll-like standards. It was a rhetorical question, as you've already stated that we should all be happy with 4-5 rentals a month for $15-18, because that's what video stores would charge.

You ignore the fact that most of us didn't go to video stores very often when they were charging $3-4 a rental. I see more people in the stores now that they have the unlimited deals. People want flat-fee unlimited service. Do you belong to an ISP that limits your monthly hours or throughput? Do you belong to an ISP that charges you by the hour like crappy AOL used to do? Do you want to start paying for library books because you're checking out too many or renewing them too many times?

Flabbergasted

It'd be rather foolish to pay for online rentals without even considering average cost per rental, and whether it is a good deal. Of course, we all have different views on what is a bargain. You're entitled to your opinions, but they're no better than anybody else's. Maybe you're rich enough to not worry about throwing away money. But there are others who must pick their indulgences carefully. I'm going to keep on looking for good deals. That means 12-16 movies on a 3-out plan. For others, it means 4-5. The two extremes probably balance out in the end. If they don't, companies should either raise prices or set limits.

"Hollywood's MVP gives you truly unlimited rentals."

They are not truly unlimited at the store level. You're missing the big drawback to all in-store programs. Your selection is limited to what's actually available in the physical location. I believe most plans are also tied to a specific store.

Stores concentrate on high demand new releases and have almost no back catalog. There's maybe 5 high demand titles released a month actually worth watching.

And on the throttling topic. For the 3M+ Netflix customers, the average is just under 7 rentals per month. So anything above 12 per month is significantly out of the norm.

Sindweller

Hey Glutton,

Do you realize that your ISP does not have its opperating cost tied to how much bandwith you use? The DVD rental company that I am a shareholder of *LOSES* money on subscribers whose average cost per DVD is less than $2?

Why can you not be happy that you have the option of using my company, where as perviously, you had to pay much more if you wanted to rent a DVD.....and you had to worry about late fees!

If you do not feel that you are getting a good deal using my company, please leave! My company is losing money on your excessive DVD gluttony, and you have the nerve to complain about it? If you don't like it, shut up and cancel your subscription.

-Sd

Glutton

ISPs *DO* have operating costs tied to how much bandwidth people use, so that shows how ignorant you are. Just try hosting Microsoft's corporate website from home and see if they complain. And the two posters before have no idea of what it REALLY costs Netflix per rental or how many movies the "average" person rents in a month. They're just making arbitrary claims based on biased second-hand information, at best.

For the 27th time, we don't have to pay more to rent in stores. I have Blockbuster Rewards which gives a free rental every month and 2-for-1 Monday to Wednesday, at a cost of just $10 a year. ($1 a rental if I just use the coupons, $2 a rental if I do 2-for-1.) I also have my 2 BB Online coupons each month. I have Hollywood MVP. I have Netflix. I spread the rentals around so I don't have to hit any of these services too hard.

I could care less if you lose your ass(ets). You're a fool to invest in companies that by their own admission are losing millions of dollars a year. Your bubble is about to break and I hope you get soaked. Stop lecturing me on how many movies my family should watch. I take my cue from the companies I do business with, not useless flacks and shills trying to boost their stock value.

freudian slip

"They are not truly unlimited at the store level."
Neither are Netflix, BB Online, and Greencine. There are HUNDREDS of DVDs that are out-of-print or they don't carry them. Anad Netflix, as a rule, doesn't carry alternate versions of titles. ("Lord of The Rings" trilogy Extended Editions are a rare exception.) Yet most stores do carry different versions, esp Blockbuster or independent stores. Online stores are also limited because they can'truly buy enough New Releases to offer "guaranteed availability" like rental stores do. They are limited in many other ways. Cult movies which are always available at stores are "long wait" at Netflix.

"Stores concentrate on high demand new releases and have almost no back catalog."
WRONG AGAIN. The stores have 10 times as many old movies as new releases (Blockbuster, Hollywood, and Movie Gallery.) There are indie stores with foreign region discs and other obscure titles that you would NEVER find online (even at GreenCine).

"...and you had to worry about late fees."
If you can tie your shoes, you shouldn't have too much trouble remembering to return a movie. Hollywood gives you 5 days. Blockbuster gives you 7.5 days with a 7-day grace period. For me, that seems like an eternity. For most people, I think 5-14.5 days is more than enough... If you only rented that often at Netflix, you'd pay an average of $3-9 a rental. I guess you can't check out books at the library either, because you're so busy and absent-minded you can't remember to return them. I have had 2 or 3 (legitimate) late fees in my life. That is a non-issue for people who can manage their time.

You're ignoring the two main advantages of the physical stores - instant gratification and impulse renting. You see things you would never find out about through online stores. You can pick the movies up and hold them in your hand, see screen shots and detailed credits on the back. Netflix gives you a crappy little picture of the cover, quick plot summary, abbreviated credits, mostly useless reviews and ratings...

freudian slip

Also try finding movies that are only available on VHS - "Germinal", Richard Linklater's "SubUrbia", "Some Girls", etc. Most stores have them on VHS. Another way the store can still compete against Netflix if you would rather see a movie than not see it.

ZinDweller

"I could care less if you lose your ass(ets). You're a fool to invest in companies that by their own admission are losing millions of dollars a year. Your bubble is about to break and I hope you get soaked. "

What bizzare line of reasoning lead you to think NFLX is a bubble? Net flix is NOT losing value. They are spending some of their cash reserves to grow a subscriber base. Net Flix is absurdly cheap right now--perhaps more so than it has ever been. I have placed about 1/4th of my total net worth in Net Flix. Net Flix will continue to crush its less frugal competitors with its outstanding management and superior customer service.

By the way, I just canceled MY NFLX subscription to take Blockbuster up on its generous offer. 8 DVDs out at a time for 2 months, plus a free DVD, and I can cancel in 2 months and not pay a dime?

-ZD

freudian slip

Netflix's stock value is in the toilet - down 20% the last time I checked. And they are losing millions of dollars a year. Sound businesses don't operate at a loss. Those that are bubbles do. You can rationalize their declining profit and stock all you want. The reality is that they entered a low margin business and will NEVER be able to create large profits. They can only push people so far with throttling. Then their membership will take a nose-dive from negative press. The more they throttle, the more opportunity their competitors will have to overtake them.

you bastard

Hey Sindweller, I will leave "your company" when I'm good and ready. I happen to think that the company belongs to its CUSTOMERs as much as "share-holders." The company can not exist if enough customers decide to go elsewhere or stop watching movies. I will continue to expect timely, fair, and honest service - even though Nflx is a dishonest company that refuses to tell people the secret rules and hand-shakes. I want to know what the limits are in big bold letters on all their ads and I don't want to see that LIE "unlimited" on any ads or web pages again. They should tell their customers right up front "you can't have more than 1 movie per $2 paid." Just see how many customers they have after that drops. My guess is they'd be out-of-business in a month. They wouldn't be able to afford all their infrastructure if they lost their biggest prosyletizers and supporters.

I don't think I'm that much of a liability, because I'm not renting new releases which cost them millions every week, then collect dust or get sold off at a huge loss. I keep most of my movies a day or two. If they're short videos, I might watch and return them on the same day. But that's rare. How dare you tell me what to do or how I should feel about poor service. Netflix is the one at fault. IF they stopped LYING to people and playing BAIT AND SWITCH, there wouldn't be any complaints. You can always spot a share-holder, defending the dishonest and destructive policies of a company while bashing anyone that has a mind of their own (including CUSTOMERS).

jay


freud's
The reality is that they entered a low margin business and will NEVER be able to create large profits.


you are way off. Netflix is positioned
to pull in $500 million in gross profits
on 2006 revenues of $1 billion.
also current "depressed gross margins at 38%"
a sharply above Amazon's 24% and most other
e-commerce retailers.

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