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Comments

CashForFlow

"It's too early to write them off (and we need them to help keep Netflix honest)."

I respectfully disagree. Customer demands and lawsuits keep Netflix honest. The necessary number of competitors in a given industry is an unknown, because the market determines that number.

Mike K

CashForFlow,

Heheh. I wasn't saying that Netflix was dishonest. I meant that Blockbuster is keeping Netflix on their toes.

- Mike

PlungeBob

BB competes for our $'s and this keeps prices lower.

I do not think that there is another player near NF's level
that will take BBs place in this, or at least not in the near
term.

Anyone suggesting that BB's going under will be good for
the community will immediately have "the Shill Police"
sent to their house.

I like both services, and BB going under would be bad news to me.
(I just get much better throughput from them!)

um

They are in deep trouble but they are making the right, if not painful, moves to try and get out of it. I'm a fan of the NFLX service but I have to agree, more competition is better for everyone.

Jeff

I have said before; BB is in bad shape.

- raised rates
- dropped carrying SE versions of recent releases
- dropped e-coupon game rentals
- stopped (or slowed) using USPS scanning data
- slow to get some recent new releases
- slower turnaround

I will be cancelling BB this month because of this. Do I think it is good? No. The more competition for NF the better but BB is really hurting itself right now. They have only been live for about 15 months. NF had years to get where they are. BB needs to hang in there and keep offering the things NF does not. I find it interesting that churn is up but they didn't put a number to it. Makes you wonder just how bad it is.

I hope they hang in there and improve again but I'm afraid I have given them as much time as I can. I'll check them out again in a few months (if they are still around).

CJ

They're going under folks - BB business model is outdated and there is no way out with all that Brick and Mortar. BB's best bet is to close and sell all that real estate, fire everybody, and adopt the the NF business model - i.e. internet storefront only, minimial employees, and USPS delivery. It's not like BB doesn't have any inventory to start anew...

hall

Does anyone know of an up-to-date lists of BB warehouse locations ?? I found some from Google'ing but I know, or assume, it's not current. None listed Pittsburgh PA and when I tried BB for a short time, all of my movies came from there.

PlungeBob

Jeff,

"Slower turnaround"

Slower than whom?

Just curious, as I use or have tried about five
of the services and BB has the best turnaround
for me. (yes, since NF throttling started
of couple of years ago)

Emphasis on the "for me". I am in So-Cal and
probably have a distribution site near me.

Cheers

Movieburner

The most disturbing thing to me is them not getting the latest Special Editions. That right there was the #1 one reason I would never cancel Blockbuster because they had something Netflix didn't. This tells me they are losing serious money and are cutting costs anywhere possible. It's so stupid because Netflix has said they don't do Special Editions and tons of people want to see them, so Blockbuster had a big chance to help themselves out. I think that is a big reason for the big churn this quarter.
But now it is just bad. I mean now they have nothing to lure you away from Netflix.
At least with Netflix I have a good idea what movie I'll be getting but with Blockbuster it's just like throwing 30 movies in a grab bag and picking one out and shipping it. They even ship TV series out of order. I mean what am I to do with Alias disc 3 when I haven't seen the first 2 discs?(Well it doesn't bother me too much because I just make a backup of the disc and send it back.) But what about people who aren't burning them?
Lets just hope Blockbuster hangs around long enough so Netflix stays at the current price,and someone else can get in and really give Netflix a run for their money(Amazon I hope).

BoB

Good points Movieburner. The SE versions was a big reason for me to stay with BB. Speed was about the same as Netflix but I liked being able to get the SE versions of movies. I could overlook the odd queue shipping and other stuff. Now that they seem to have stopped getting them, I don't know if I can overlook the other shortcomings. Both services were about the same for me and losing the SEs will probably lead me back to Netflix.

PlungeBob

"At least with Netflix I have a good idea what movie I'll be getting "

I must agree with this completely.

I call it Queue Predictability.

Netflix is the only service that delivers on this, again, for me.

With BB I have a clue, but nothing really firm.

"Slower than whom?"

Slower than Netflix. Slower than itself.

When I first joined BB, it took 3-4 days (usually the latter) for them to ship me my DVDs as well as 3-4 days to recieve my returns. And it wasnt unusual for a DVD to go missing while in shipment. It remained that way for a few months, THEN things seemed to improve. DVDs stopped going missing, and the shipping improved to 2 days (each way). Then, just a short while ago, the shipping times increased back to 3-4 days again. And DVDs started to go missing again. Some of my returns never got back to them.

Netflix's service, even with it's throttling, is still superior to BB. I still get the occasional next day delivery. It takes no more than 1-2 days in shipping (each way), and it is incredibly rare for my DVDs to go missing while in shipping

CashForFlow

First, even if Blockbuster gave up the online battle there is still plenty of competition for Netflix. The competition is at your local theatre, large retailers, cable/satellite TV, VOD, downloads, B&M rental stores, etc. In addition, if Netflix raised prices dramatically entrepreneurs would appear in direct competition financed by venture capital/banks.

Second, monopolies are great. State monopolies are bad. How do you get a monopoly on the market? Keep lowering your prices and you'll gain an ever growing market-share. Keep increasing the quality and the same results occur. The old English word monopoly means a privilege granted by the state.

Lastly, the price will never be zero. Companies have to make profits to survive. Your dream of free movies will never come true.

PlungeBob


"monopolies are great."

Dude, you are not believable.

I want to use the S-word, but I wont!

Benevolent monopolies are great. A single giant company maximizes economies of scale, thereby minizing prices.

Unfortunately benevolent monopolies are also a fantasy. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

CashForFlow

PlungeBob,

"Dude, you are not believable."

What part of my post is wrong? I've read an economics book or two in my day, and I'm open to honest criticism.

CashForFlow

"Benevolent monopolies are great. A single giant company maximizes economies of scale, thereby minizing prices."

Nothing in my post says monopolies have to be benevolent. Companies only make profits by satisfying customer demands. Please explain why they must be benevolent.

Yet, charatiable giving is a part of the market. Those who give are buying the good feeling of helping someone in need. Similar to buying a movie that makes one laugh or cry.

PlungeBob

CashForFlow,

I have not read any Econ books, and so must
retract my statement.

....or perhaps change it to:

Dude, I have a hard time believing that a Corporation is going
to be benevolent for any reason but to make more moola.

I am reminded of a line from some old film:

"Nothing's free. Anyone telling you otherwise is trying
to sell you something."

Let's turn it around. Are you suggesting that something other
than competition puts pressure on prices.

(this is where those econ books will come in handy,
as any response will do ;0)

I apologize for any slight, unintended or otherwise.

Spater!

CashForFlow

PlungeBob,

"Let's turn it around. Are you suggesting that something other than competition puts pressure on prices."

Simply, no. I am saying only the market knows how much competition should be present. The options are zero to infinite; zero because at one time it was unprofitable to send movies (VHS form) via mail. The market may be served with one less, or one more competitor.

Also, if someone wants to bring more competition to the market they can do so with venture capital and/or banks. The threat of entrepreneurs will never go away unless the state intervenes.

CashForFlow

To 'hit the nail on the head' in regards to what affects prices:

1) Competition from any conceivable substitute.

2) The factors of labor and land that go into the production of the product.

PlungeBob

Point taken.

"At least with Netflix I have a good idea what movie I'll be getting "

The problem with Blockbuster seems to be that they finalize your Q order way before actually shipping titles. I've noticed that after changing my Q, they would continue to send movies according to the OLD Q order...

Also, I find it helps to have some "Coming soon" or "Long wait" titles at the top of the Q. They sent my movies in order when I did that, and stopped when I moved all the "coming soon" titles to the bottom of my Q.

"I am saying only the market knows how much competition should be present. The options are zero to infinite; zero because at one time it was unprofitable to send movies (VHS form) via mail. The market may be served with one less, or one more competitor."

There are now and always have been companies that rent VHS and D-VHS movies by mail. They are pricey, but no more so than renting from video stores used to be. And there were some rich people who could afford to pay back then. Despite what you may think, Netflix's business model is not new or original. It'd been done before both with tapes and DVDs.

RipperBurner

"BB is in bad shape.
- raised rates

How is charging the same price as NFLX with faster turn-around a bad thing???

- dropped carrying SE versions of recent releases

They still have thousands of special edition DVDs that Netflix doesn't. So, how does this make them worse than Netflix? They're still equal to Netflix or better. And they do get recent special edition releases. Try finding "Dead and Breakfast: Unrated" on NFLX.

- dropped e-coupon game rentals

Netflix doesn't rent games, so how does this make Blockbuster worse than Netflix?

- stopped (or slowed) using USPS scanning data

Another thing that Netflix doesn't do. They (BB) are still faster than NFLX, with less throttling. So, BBO is still ahead for me.

- slow to get some recent new releases

You might as well go to the video store as try to get ANY new releases from Netflix if you're a medium or heavy user.

- slower turnaround

They are faster than Netflix (for me), and faster than they were when I first joined. I've got no complaints. Netflix is the one getting slower. I wait 3 days for them to receive my DVDs (I always use local return envelopes too). Then they make me wait one more day to send anything. NFLX then sends all my movies from distant locations, so they take 2-5 days to arrive. Throttling - as only Netflix does best.

RipperBurner

"Netflix is the one getting slower. I wait 3 days for them to receive my DVDs (I always use local return envelopes too). Then they make me wait one more day to send anything. NFLX then sends all my movies from distant locations, so they take 2-5 days to arrive. Throttling - as only Netflix does best."

And BTW, I'm keeping each DVD 3-6 days, in addition to the 4-day throttling and 2-5 day shipping delay NFLX is now foisting on me.

mango banana tangerine

- dropped carrying SE versions of recent releases

Maybe BB is not responsible for this. Maybe the studios have told them they can't rent these special editions any more. I don't see Netflix or GreenCine stepping in to offer us any new DVDs like Titanic: SE, Big Lebowski SE, or Batman 1-4 SE. The fact remains that BBO has thousands of old SE DVDs that NFLX and others do not.

There are also some that neither company has like Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca: Criterion" and "Notorious: Criterion". (GreenCine has both, but I rented them from a local indie video store instead.) It would be great if NFLX and BBO always had the newest/best DVD version that came along. But I'll take BB's limited offerings over Netflix which hardly has any. BBO has about 100 times as many SE releases at NFLX. And that continues to be one of their strengths.

Netflix seriously needs to re-evaluate their policy of not carrying SE releases. Anybody with a good home theater system would prefer to see "Videodrome: Criterion" or "Rebecca: Criterion" or "Notorious: Criterion", than the crappy versions released by the studios. There is no contest. It's frustrating that Netflix refuses to buy ANY special editions except a hand-ful of classics and hits like LOTR: Ext Editions. It's greedy and chintzy to not buy the best versions available.

"at one time it was unprofitable to send movies (VHS form) via mail."

It was never unprofitable to send movies through the mail, because profitability is derived by comparing revenue to expenses. It can't be computed with respect to isolated actions, like "sending movies through mail." If people paid $40-50 a month for 10-12 VHS tapes, it could be profitable. And indeed, there were companies renting VHS by mail.

"BB is in bad shape.
- raised rates

How is charging the same price as NFLX with faster turn-around a bad thing???

Who says it is faster? For you? You? There is no proof BB is faster than NF. For some, maybe, but so is NF for some. Rates were raised without ANY notification. No emails, postal mail - NOTHING. For me delivery is slower - so it is a negative move.
-------------------

dropped carrying SE versions of recent releases

They still have thousands of special edition DVDs that Netflix doesn't. So, how does this make them worse than Netflix? They're still equal to Netflix or better. And they do get recent special edition releases. Try finding "Dead and Breakfast: Unrated" on NFLX.

Who cares what they did in the past. From this point forward, they no longer carry the SE versions. That is a loss of service that I was receiving (at a lower price). Maybe I have already seen all the older SE movies. I want to see the new ones as well.
----------------------

- dropped e-coupon game rentals

Netflix doesn't rent games, so how does this make Blockbuster worse than Netflix?

Again, it is a loss of service that I was receiving. Removed with no compensation. In fact, I received higher rates.
--------------------------

- stopped (or slowed) using USPS scanning data

Another thing that Netflix doesn't do. They (BB) are still faster than NFLX, with less throttling. So, BBO is still ahead for me.

Loss of service feature. Made my returns the same as 1-day. Now I must wait 3-days (as it was before they started using scanning) until they physically receive my discs back.
--------------------

- slow to get some recent new releases

You might as well go to the video store as try to get ANY new releases from Netflix if you're a medium or heavy user.

I am a heavy user 35+ discs per month and get new releases same or next day. (Charlie & Chocolate Fact, Batman Begins, Bewitched, Herbie, etc)
-------------------

- slower turnaround

They are faster than Netflix (for me), and faster than they were when I first joined. I've got no complaints. Netflix is the one getting slower. I wait 3 days for them to receive my DVDs (I always use local return envelopes too). Then they make me wait one more day to send anything. NFLX then sends all my movies from distant locations, so they take 2-5 days to arrive. Throttling - as only Netflix does best.

Much faster with NF than BB (since June when BB went to sh*t! 80% of NF discs come from intown, remining ones come from other centers. BB comes in 3-5 days from who-knows-where, sometimes from far-a-way B&M stores.

- dropped e-coupon game rentals

They haven't dropped e-coupon game rentals. The coupons still say "enjoy a movie or game on us" and all corporate stores will accept them. Just because idiotic franchises refuse to accept them doesn't mean squat. Why don't you say something that's actually true?

too good to be true = shill

"Who says it is faster? For you? You? There is no proof BB is faster than NF. For some, maybe, but so is NF for some."

There's no proof that NF is faster. They are faster for some, and slower for most. Your alleged experience to the contrary does not refute the overall pattern of throttling.

"Rates were raised without ANY notification. No emails, postal mail - NOTHING. For me delivery is slower - so it is a negative move."

They never promised us the rates would stay the same. People who signed up early got a year or more with the price guaranteed. But those who signed up later don't enjoy that privilege. Netflix can raise their rates at any time without notice. In fact, they were about to do so until Blockbuster came along and forced them to actually be COMPETITIVE. It's standard business protocol that rates can be changed at any time without notice. Read the ToS you agreed to, doofus.

"Who cares what they did in the past. From this point forward, they no longer carry the SE versions. That is a loss of service that I was receiving (at a lower price). Maybe I have already seen all the older SE movies. I want to see the new ones as well."

You haven't seen all the SE versions that BB has. And just because YOU say they will "no longer carry SE versions" doesn't make it a fact. You are the king of the shills, with your 36-42 a month on Netflix's 6-out plan. You must be lying, because Netflix throttles the higher plans most of all.

"Again, it is a loss of service that I was receiving. Removed with no compensation. In fact, I received higher rates."

You haven't lost any service. The e-coupons still say "Enjoy a movie or game on us!" It also says "participating stores." That means corporate stores, for you shills. There are a few backward franchises that won't accept them, but most probably will. YOu can't make a generality that you are losing service. It just isn't true, shill.

"Loss of service feature. Made my returns the same as 1-day. Now I must wait 3-days (as it was before they started using scanning) until they physically receive my discs back."

BB receives my DVDs in 1 day, whereas NFLX lies and waits 2-3 business to admit having them. Just because you wait 3 days doesn't mean that's the norm. As usual, your claims are WAY outside the norm. Anyone who knows BB must regard them as deliberate LIES. BBO is faster than ever now. Netflix has slowed down constantly. I never saw any consistent benefit from postal scanning. Nor did many other users, from what I've read.

"I am a heavy user 35+ discs per month and get new releases same or next day. (Charlie & Chocolate Fact, Batman Begins, Bewitched, Herbie, etc)."

Why is it you are able to get twice as much as other heavy users, like PlungeBob and I? Gee, I wonder. Could it be because you're a SHILL, with a fake rental history generated by a computer program? You can't prove that you get such ridiculously good service that nobody else gets. I can say I get 50 DVDs a month on Blockbuster's s 6-out plan. Do you believe me? You're too good to be true. And thing too good to be true usually aren't.

"Much faster with NF than BB (since June when BB went to sh*t! 80% of NF discs come from intown, remining ones come from other centers. BB comes in 3-5 days from who-knows-where, sometimes from far-a-way B&M stores."

I haven't gotten a shipment from a BB store in months. They send my discs in 1 day most of the time. Occasionally 2-3 days. Returns arrive in a day always and new movies are sent immediately the same day. NFLX rarely ADMITS receiving movies in a day, and they usually delay an extra day or two sending new movies. This cuts down my service that much more. BB gives at least 50% more than Netflix. Sometimes 100% more. Your lies to the contrary are fooling nobody. We notice that you're the only one claiming to get such phenomenal service from ThrottleFlix.

death to the shills

"Who cares what they did in the past. From this point forward, they no longer carry the SE versions. That is a loss of service that I was receiving (at a lower price). Maybe I have already seen all the older SE movies. I want to see the new ones as well."

They carry all the SE versions they already had. And there is no proof that they won't have other SE versions in the future. Your comments are totally lacking in foundation. Just because they didn't get a few SE versions that you wanted doesn't mean they aren't getting any. Let's see you prove a negative - post a list of every SE version that's been released since you say they stopped carrying SE versions. They provide links to all of those movies to demonstrate that BB doesn't offer any of them to rent. Then maybe we will believe you. Shill.

ALL YOU DO IS LIE

"Rates were raised without ANY notification. No emails, postal mail - NOTHING."

That's another lie. They sent an email to me saying the rates were going to inrease, even though my rates are guaranteed until January 2006. You're talking out your ass again, as usual. They gave notification, even when the rate change wouldn't apply immediately. So, it's BS to say you weren't notified. It was in one of their newsletters with an offer to get a free DVD. Try reading, moron.

Why is it BlockBuster supporters are so much ruder than NetFlix supporters?

The rebuttal from the NetFlix supporter above (November 12 3:01 PM) doesn't contain even one name-calling incident, nor any accusations.

The several counter rebuttals call him a doofus, a shill, a moron, and accuse him repeatedly of lying.

There's not really any point in responding to them, It just ends up a screaming name-calling contest.

"They haven't dropped e-coupon game rentals. The coupons still say "enjoy a movie or game on us" and all corporate stores will accept them. Just because idiotic franchises refuse to accept them doesn't mean squat. Why don't you say something that's actually true?"

No, they do not. Maybe if you were locked into the rate plan for a year but mine do not, On "My Account" page, the link says: "Movie Rental E-Coupon" - The coupon says: "Get one (1) free movie (DVD or VHS) rental at any participating Blockbuster store in the U.S."

When I emailed them for clarification, they replied:
"Thank you for contacting BLOCKBUSTER Online Customer Service.
Unfortunately game rentals are no longer available with the use of in-store rental e-coupons. Based on the current prices to rent a game in-store, it was not cost effective to continue this as a part of our membership plans. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused."

----------

They never promised us the rates would stay the same. People who signed up early got a year or more with the price guaranteed. But those who signed up later don't enjoy that privilege. Netflix can raise their rates at any time without notice. In fact, they were about to do so until Blockbuster came along and forced them to actually be COMPETITIVE. It's standard business protocol that rates can be changed at any time without notice. Read the ToS you agreed to, doofus.

I have never seen a company that would raise recurring charges WITHOUT any prior notice. I never received ANY notice about the impeding rate increase. I am not complaing about the increase - only that they never notified me of it. NF sent an email about theirs. Magazines, newspapers, etc notify their customers - BB did not.

--------------

Not carried SE BB versions:

Charlie & chocolate Factory 2 disc set
http://www.blockbuster.com/catalog/ViewAllEditions.action?channel=Movies&subChannel=&movieID=153243&displayBoxArt=true

Big Lebowski CE
http://www.blockbuster.com/catalog/ViewAllEditions.action?channel=Movies&subChannel=&movieID=107069&displayBoxArt=true

Titanic 3 disc SE
http://www.blockbuster.com/catalog/ViewAllEditions.action?channel=Movies&subChannel=&movieID=116548&displayBoxArt=true

Star Trek Nemesis 2 disc
http://www.blockbuster.com/catalog/ViewAllEditions.action?channel=Movies&subChannel=&movieID=116802&displayBoxArt=true

Tommy Boy Holy Schnike Ed
http://www.blockbuster.com/catalog/ViewAllEditions.action?channel=Movies&subChannel=&movieID=116716&displayBoxArt=true

Dodgeball UR edition
http://www.blockbuster.com/catalog/ViewAllEditions.action?channel=Movies&subChannel=&movieID=133993&displayBoxArt=true

Wizard of Oz, 2 & 3 disc SE versions
http://www.blockbuster.com/catalog/ViewAllEditions.action?channel=Movies&subChannel=&movieID=100946&displayBoxArt=true

I am sure there are others. All seem to be from about July & on, about the time BB went downhill for me.

BTW, you seem to imply I am some type of BB hater and/or a NF shill. I am neither. I subscribed to both services. BB carried the SE versions and game rentals but was slightly slower, NF carried more obscure and UR titles and was slightly faster. My complaint is that BB went downhill fast - loss of game rentals with e-coupons, much slower ship times and loss of SE release all for a higher price. I would not be complaining about the rate increase if the other losses had not occured as well.

"They haven't dropped e-coupon game rentals. The coupons still say "enjoy a movie or game on us" and all corporate stores will accept them."

"No, they do not. Maybe if you were locked into the rate plan for a year but mine do not."

I'm looking at my printed November coupons, and they say "movie or game." You might be right that people who signed up recently do not get games any more, but I don't believe anything from you without corroboration. In any case, Blockbuster Online never promised games. They rent MOVIES, not games. If you had signed up earlier, you might still have games. Apparently, you didn't read the fine print you signed. My deal promised the game rentals, at least through January 31, 2006. And I can still get them. I'd like to hear someone besides you saying they can't.

If a game's worth playing, it is worth the time to play, it's worth owning. I waited until the games were on sale for $20 before I bought any of my last *4* game systems. I rarely bought new games. I waited for sales around Christmas and Thanksgiving. I would wait for some schmuck to sell his copy and buy it cheap used. I always knew the games that would be worth buying, based on video and online reviews: GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Splinter Cell 1-3, Halo 1-2, Max Payne 1-2, Eternal Darkness, Tomb Raider 1-4, Metroid Prime 1-2, WipeOut 1-4, Resident Evil 1-5, Gran Turismo 1-3, Metal Gear Solid 1-2, and Shenmue 1-2... The game has to blow me away visually. It has to have a concept that is appealing. And it has to be well-executed.

Oh, and I left out some of my favorite games ever: Silent Hill 1-3. Scared shirtless. The best games don't need rentals. They stand on their own as classics, and everybody already knows they are good. GoldenEye 007 is a game that STILL holds its own against today's 1st person shooters. The graphics have not aged much at all. The game is always challenging and fun. It's probably still my favorite and widely known as one of the best games ever. They don't make 'em like that any more.

non-believer

"I have never seen a company that would raise recurring charges WITHOUT any prior notice. I never received ANY notice about the impeding rate increase. I am not complaing about the increase - only that they never notified me of it ... Magazines, newspapers, etc notify their customers - BB did not."

They notified me, but you say they didn't. I get games, but you claim you don't. Netflix throttles me 50-100% more than you say they do you. Are you sensing a pattern here? The only thing you've been right about so far is that BB hasn't gotten some Special Editions YET. That does not prove they have "stopped buying SE releases" or that they will never have any SE releases ever again.

Most of the SE releases you mention are not available from Netflix either. So you whine and moan about BB not giving you something that others don't provide, while they still give you things that others doon't. I would share your disappointment if BB stopped all SE purchases. But I would first like to see corroboration that they are doing that. So far, all I see is a current problems, with no evidence of a policy shift. Just because they don't have a few SE versions that YOU want doesn't prove they aren't getting any.

Maybe they're not allowed to get them right away any more. The studios can change their terms at any time too. Maybe they saw that people seemed to be renting the SE versions and perhaps copying them rather than buying them. (They always blame declining sales on piracy any way.) So far, you have given us nothing but theories with no proof.

TxLady

One plus for BBO. They take bank draft payments, which is wonderful for non credit card people. This is one plus for BBO over NF. As for service. I've been with them for about 6 weeks and they have actually gotten a little better with shipping times and sending me movies from the top of my queue. I can't comment on NF as I've never used them since they only take credit cards.

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