Even though Blockbuster sent a bottom-dwelling collection agency after me for a late charge on an out-of-state account that was over 10 years old, I believe with new ownership from Dish Network the one-time household name can be saved. But Dish must make some quick moves to save the dying giant, and the ol’ school method of doing business isn’t going to work.
First, Dish must do whatever they can to offer a monthly subscription-based streaming service exactly like Netflix. That means, none of this a-la-carte or PC-only business. Blockbuster should bite the bullet and offer as many titles as they can online with the goal of offering more mainstream and blockbuster titles than Netflix. And, offer as many titles as they can in HD quality.
Second, Blockbuster needs to keep ahead of other online distributers by maintaining their agreements with studios to get films day-and-date with DVDs. If they can stream new releases earlier than competitors such as Netflix and Amazon (who just signed a deal to stream CBS titles) they may be able to gain some ground.
Of course, getting new films to stream under an unlimited plan is probably just fairy tale material. Newly released mainstream films are just worth too much. However, Blockbuster could potentially offer new releases streaming a-la-cart. That way customers would at least know their online movie provider is getting the hit films right away, even if they are pay-per-view. Customers who don’t want to pay to view a single title can wait until it becomes part of an unlimited plan.
Dish bought Blockbuster with DVD agreements already in place. If digital-delivery isn’t included, alter the existing agreements or create new ones that would allow streaming movies online. Why would the studios disagree? The more distributors bidding on their titles the better for them.
Third, modify existing rates on the DVD-by-Mail service to be slightly more competitive. Blockbuster is offering unlimited movie rentals just like Netflix with three plans costing $11.99 (1 Disc at a time), $16.99 (2 discs), or $19.99 (3 discs). (Although they have a disclaimer for online rentals limited to 5 free in-store movie rentals.) Blockbuster includes Blu-ray discs at no extra charge (an advantage over Netflix). And, the company now offers video game rentals (another advantage over Netflix). With Netflix’s announcement of increased fees due to the splitting of services, it’s a perfect time for Blockbuster to make a move.