Blockbuster have launched Blockbuster Online, as service that allows subscribers to choose films from the company’s 25,000 title catalogue – and then have them posted to their home.
Not quite the giant leap we were all hoping for, and a bit late, but it’s a step forward. This is essentially the same service that Netflix and others have been providing for, well, months. Years, even.
Blockbuster don’t think they’re late to market at all: “We think now is the opportune time for Blockbuster to enter the online rental business, and we plan to quickly establish ourselves in this arena by aggressively marketing, pricing and combining our online program and in-store capabilities,” said Shane Evangelist, Blockbuster vice president and general manager of BLOCKBUSTER Online. “Very simply, we plan on providing the best online movie rental service available. To this end, the BLOCKBUSTER Online monthly fee is currently priced below our biggest competitor for the three-out rental plan. Plus, we are offering 25,000 new release and catalogue titles. We believe that all of this, combined with our marketing savvy, should help Blockbuster to develop a substantial share of the online rental business by the end of next year.”
Certainly, recognition of the Blockbuster brand should make it easier for them to gain ground in an already established market.
Subscribers can rent unlimited films, up to three at a time, for US$19.99 (€16.30) a month. As they’re paying a subscription and can only hold three titles at a time, there are not late fees – so that copy of Three Weeks Notice can sit there unwatched for as long as you like, just because you can’t get to the post office.
Blockbuster will be offering free rental coupons valid in its stores to encourage subscribers to still pop into the local branch now and again – of course, posting DVDs means that customers won’t be buying so much high-margin popcorn and chocolates anymore.