In the wake of Netflix’s major price increase announced last week, Blockbuster has announced a special promotion for Netflix customers.
I had expected Blockbuster to make a pitch for their program; it would be a bit bizarre if they didn’t. What I didn’t expect is for their deal to be so much worse than the Netflix deal.
Blockbuster L.L.C. today began rescuing upset Netflix® customers by launching a limited time, nationwide promotion for all Netflix customers who switch to Blockbuster Total Access™.
Blockbuster Total Access provides benefits Netflix doesn’t offer: availability of many new releases 28 days before Netflix; unlimited in-store exchanges; games for XBOX 360®, Playstation3™, and Nintendo Wii™, and no additional charge for Blu-ray™ movies.
As part of Blockbuster’s ongoing efforts to provide the ultimate in convenience, choice and value, Netflix customers who switch to one of Blockbuster’s two most popular Total Access plans will receive a 30-day free trial. After the free trial, customers will continue to receive Total Access for a new everyday price of only $9.99 per month for “1 Disc” at a time or $14.99 per month for “2 Discs” at a time.
“Blockbuster quickly responded to the cries of Netflix customers,” said Michael Kelly, president of Blockbuster. “Blockbuster Total Access is Netflix ‘without the wait.’ The combination of DVDs by mail and unlimited in-store exchanges provides more than 100 million people living near Blockbuster stores immediate convenience and unparalleled choice.”
What the press release doesn’t tell you is that Blockbuster’s $9.99 plan doesn’t include streaming. You pay more for that — a lot more. Blockbuster On Demand costs as much as $3.99 per movie. That means that if I stream just two movies a month, it’s cheaper to stay with Netflix.
While we’re on the subject of streaming, a cursory glance through Blockbuster’s catalog shows their selection is abysmal. Half of what I stream from Netflix is TV episodes, and Blockbuster has about 30 titles, most of which I’ve never even heard of. And you can forget about streaming on your iPhone, Nintendo Wii, XBox, or PS3.
I’ll give them the video game rental. That’s actually a big plus in their column as far as I’m concerned, but what they don’t tell you is that video games aren’t included in their in-store exchange program. According to Blockbuster’s twitter customer service account, that’s an extra $4.99.
Blockbuster’s package is worse that Netflix in almost every way, with the most notable exception of brick-and-mortar movie exchanges. The success of Blockbuster’s business model, as Netflix’s success can attest and this three year old news story from The Onion shows, is in the past.