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October 28, 2004

Blockbuster promises faster delivery times

Blockbuster, who has painted a big red bullseye on NetFlix by offering a competitive service, has introduced a new distribution system which should make getting DVDs in the mail faster. NetFlix competitors have have been popping up all over lately with Walmart, Blockbuster, and soon likely Amazon, all vying to get into NetFlix's turf. Blockbuster, flipping through it's own list of competitive advantages, may have found a way to convince people to switch services.

I've been a NetFlix subscriber for a couple of years now, and I'm in love with the service. Over time, I'm sure I lost more money in movie late fees than I did when the Internet bubble popped (although it would be close call), and NetFlix has a slick service that avoids those fees and reliably sends you three movies at a time via the mail.

The downside for some people is the lag between sending in a movie that has been viewed and receiving a new one. It can take 4-5 days, even in my case as I'm less than 100 miles away from a distribution center. For those people in GodKnowsWhere, Alaska, I'm sure it may take a little longer.

Up until now, the competing factors have been price and name brand, both of which has been handled pretty well by NetFlix. Blockbuster is trying to shake things up a little and is doing a smart move here by using it's advantage of having 1000's of stores and using them as ad hoc distribution centers. We'll see how it all plays out, but if they are successful, it could cut the time down consirably. Not to disparage all local Blockbuster employees, but I've run across a few that have been less than stellar, so we'll see if indeed they are capable of achieving error free, faster results.

At the end of the day, Video on Demand may make this a quaint old debate like the merits of 8-Track vs. cassette, but for now, it will be interesting to see how the market changes.

(Hat Tip: TVPredictions.com)

Posted on October 28, 2004

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