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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Blockbuster vs. Netflix

As I had posted earlier, we joined Netflix in October. Have been watching 3 DVD's a week, DVD's that came to our door by mail.

Recently found out that blockbuster was giving away a free DVD to Netflix members if they brought our Netflix address label to any blockbuster store(which we throw in the garbage anyway) Blockbuster.

At face value, this sounds nothing but ridiculous ! Last weekend, we got the 24 Season 5 disk 1. San and me watched it and as usual couldnt handle the suspense after the first 4 episodes of 24. So, off I went to the local blockbuster to get the next two disks. At the store there was a long line of people waiting to use the only computer against a wall. I asked the guy at the desk what was going on and he says..

"you get one free DVD if you sign up for blockbuster online". I asked him, does this have to do anything with Netflix and his response confused me.. Then I came home and told San. As usual, she did her detective work and found out that we can get two DVD's free. One for signing up with blockbuster online, and one for bringing over our Netflix address label!!

Now, I thought there was some catch in this whole thing. But when San finally knocked it into my head that this was for real, I realized something profound :

Laziness rules!
Capitalistic Laziness rules better!

A lesson well learnt. Apparently, Blockbuster is upset that they are losing business to Netflix, inspite of their having so many stores. So it appears that they are trying to get business back by using the fact they have stores and an online business compared to Netflix which only has an online business. What is the only weakness in the Netflix setup ? The US Postal service.. If you get a DVD and return it today, it reaches them tomorrow, they ship you a new one tomorrow and you get the day after.. this means you get to watch only on alternate days.. and the USPS does not work Sunday's !!!!

So, Blockbuster, in their infinite wisdom are

1. Trying to increase their online business by making people signup for online accounts (the lure is a free DVD)
2. To make it more lucrative for people who are Loyal to Netflix to defect over (I think loyalty doesnt make any sense in todays capitalistic world.. you are only loyal to your own best interest if you are a customer!), they are giving away another DVD free to netflix people who will try this "total access" idea.

I am allllllllllll for Blockbuster now. They were pricey at almost $4.50 a DVD. But not anymore !

For those who dont know the details here goes.

1. you go and sign up with blockbuster online, same price deals as the Netflix memberships(you get one DVD free at a local blockbuster store).

2. you show them your netflix address label (you get one more free DVD at the store)

3. you get a free trial period (just like Netflix) on the online thing. Somehow these guys at Blockbuster have a online menu with the exact same look and feel as Netflix. I am sure there is some patent violation somewhere, but these are big companies and they can get away with murder! As an inventor, I got pissed with that.. but that is Netflix's problem now to find out how someone else can have the same system of a queue, "add" buttons which look alike etc. etc..

4. you add movies to your queue. And the first movie gets mailed to you the next day.

5. NOW FOR THE BEST PART OF THE DEAL : After you watch the movie, you have two options.

a. Return it by mail and wait for two days to get your replacement (like Netflix.. which means you are without any new DVD for a day!) or

b.just take the DVD with the mailing envelope, return it at the local store, get any available DVD from the store for FREE ! when the online store gets the DVD you returned, your next DVD ships.

Two advantages.

1. You are never out of a DVD at home. There are no dead days because of the US postal service delay.
2. If you are watching serials like 24 and you dont want to wait every alternate day for the next disc, this is the best deal. You put disc 1,3,5 in the queue and pick up 2,4,6 from the store!! Works great.

So, go forth and conquer, my fellow capitalists.. The customer always comes first!

My grandma used to tell me when I was a kid "keerikkum paambukkum sandainna, koothadikku dhan kondattam".. which translates to "if there is a real fight between the mongoose and the snake, it is the charmer who gets to benefit"

This is exactly like that.. If Netflix and Blockbuster fight, WE win!

ps. On the first two blockbuster envelopes we got two coupons for full size PapaJohn's pizza's for 99 cents ! Dont know if it is standard for all the new guys who sign up or if it is some luck of the draw thing..

pps. just noticed that you get one pizza for 99 cents if you order another one full price.. sorry I didnt mention that earlier this afternoon.. still not a bad deal.



I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:03 AM, Blogger Kavi wrote...

Still cant piece together the whole deal. Looks like its exciting the family quite a bit !!

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 8:30 PM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan wrote...


summary: guys with store and online business are giving you access to both as opposed to the guys with an online business only!

we are thoroughly enjoying it.



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