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No more Blockbuster


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#1 Evan Winter

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:28 PM

Well it looks like Blockbuster is losing the fight to Netflix and after closing 526 stores and losing $35 million this past quarter the end may be in sight (http://www.news.com/...-9809950-7.html).

I can't help but wonder how this'll affect the Indie film scene. Blockbuster was no doubt the largest single purchaser in North America of straight-to-video indies and if it closes shop Netflix may not pick up the slack.

To be honest, I was never really that concerned about the whole downloading thing. I saw it mostly as the next evolutionary/technological step with regards to media. However, I expected a smoother transition and it's unsettling to see music label after music label go under and then watch Blockbuster lose customer after customer to a combination of downloading and online rental services (the latter isn't necessarily bad).

A simple and immediate concern for me is this - if Blockbuster closes and the mom and pop rental shops do too then what happens when I have a burning desire to watch Citizen Kane on a cold wintery Saturday night? Are my only two solutions to add it to my Netflix list and wait a couple days or hop onto The Pirate Bay and download the movie?

Traditional media (Music, TV, Films), as one big industry, are in a very weird place and I think two things are certain:

1.) It'll get worse before it gets better

and

2.) In the days (years) ahead there will be massive opportunities for smart people to capitalize on the inevitable restructuring that will occur and those smart people will soon be added to the illustrious Forbes list.

Evan W.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:42 PM

A simple and immediate concern for me is this - if Blockbuster closes and the mom and pop rental shops do too then what happens when I have a burning desire to watch Citizen Kane on a cold wintery Saturday night? Are my only two solutions to add it to my Netflix list and wait a couple days or hop onto The Pirate Bay and download the movie?


Well, I don't even rent from Blockbuster -- I go to places like LaserBlazer mainly, sometimes CineFile. I suspect DVD rental stores in major urban centers like LA or NYC catering to movie snobs like me will probably stick around until downloading becomes the dominent method. Otherwise, there's Netflix.

Of course, VCR's didn't even come out until I was graduating from college, so the notion of "what if I want to watch 'Citizen Kane' tonight?" wasn't even an option back then. You waited until movies like that showed up at a revival theater, or on TV.
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#3 Tom Lowe

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 07:44 PM

The writing has been on the wall for about 6 or 7 years now. As soon as large numbers of people started getting broadband, it was clear what was coming next. If Blockbuster had a clue, they would have pumped a hell of a lot of resources into becoming the king of online movie downloads. They did not, so evolution will pick them off like a wildebeest with a bad knee. They basically tried to copy netflix's model two or three years too late. Meanwhile, netflix itself was already moving to the next phase - online downloads.
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 07:56 PM

Blockbuster was no doubt the largest single purchaser in North America of straight-to-video indies and if it closes shop Netflix may not pick up the slack.

Was it really the largest? Netflix seems to have a lot more titles than Blockbuster, but I may be wrong since I haven't rented from Blockbuster in over ten years. I'm always amazed at how many titles Netflix has.

then what happens when I have a burning desire to watch Citizen Kane on a cold wintery Saturday night? Are my only two solutions to add it to my Netflix list and wait a couple days or hop onto The Pirate Bay and download the movie?

Evan W.

Netflix does downloading now, so you won't have to wait when you want to see something now, and not wait. They don't have many titles yet since it's pretty new, but I'm guessing that they'll eventually have most of their titles available that way.
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 08:07 PM

Well it looks like Blockbuster is losing the fight to Netflix and after closing 526 stores and losing $35 million this past quarter the end may be in sight (http://www.news.com/...-9809950-7.html).

The quoted "news" article is in fact a blog, the personal opinion of one Don Reisinger, a freelance media journalist. Blockbuster's got serious problems but they haven't made any decision to pull the plug.
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#6 Bill Totolo

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 08:08 PM

... what happens when I have a burning desire to watch Citizen Kane on a cold wintery Saturday night? Are my only two solutions to add it to my Netflix list and wait a couple days or hop onto The Pirate Bay and download the movie?...
Evan W.


Well that or Best Buy. I mean, really, you should own Citizen Kane already. Shouldn't you?

Personally, I have three memberships:

1) Vidiots in Santa Monica (love all the pixelfest DVD's)
2) Netflix (watching "The Blue Kite" this weekend)
3)Cinephile in W. LA

I also drop way too much cash in Ameoba. The Criterion section is a killer.
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#7 Jay Taylor

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 09:47 PM

Hey guys,

I worked at a Blockbuster for a little over a year, here in Nashville. Oh, the horror stories I could tell! Good riddance! I hope they go under!

I hated having to call people and ask if they ever returned two movies that we never received. And then telling them I'll have to charge $300 to their credit if they can't return it.

And lets not forget the security tape of our boss in the back office with some woman who wasn't his wife! And when the tape was presented to the district manager, he told us to grow up!

True stories! And many more?

Netflix works for me!

Jay
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#8 Pete Von Tews

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 10:36 PM

Keep in mind that your local library has MANY great movies (dvd & vhs) to view for free. I watched many, many great movies and classics that the video rental/stores do not carry.

The library in my area lets me search on-line for books/movies and put them on hold for pick up.

Libraries are a wonderful resource and a great use of our tax money.

-pete
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#9 Tom Lowe

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 11:21 PM

Hey guys,

I worked at a Blockbuster for a little over a year, here in Nashville. Oh, the horror stories I could tell! Good riddance! I hope they go under!

I hated having to call people and ask if they ever returned two movies that we never received. And then telling them I'll have to charge $300 to their credit if they can't return it.

And lets not forget the security tape of our boss in the back office with some woman who wasn't his wife! And when the tape was presented to the district manager, he told us to grow up!

True stories! And many more?

Netflix works for me!

Jay


LMAO!!! So many block buster employees have great stories.
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#10 Dominic Cochran

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 11:35 PM

A simple and immediate concern for me is this - if Blockbuster closes and the mom and pop rental shops do too then what happens when I have a burning desire to watch Citizen Kane on a cold wintery Saturday night? Are my only two solutions to add it to my Netflix list and wait a couple days or hop onto The Pirate Bay and download the movie?


Cable/Satellite On Demand is expanding too, in addition to the options already mentioned. Too bad the compression is terrible (for now)!
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#11 Walter Graff

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 12:39 AM

>>Well it looks like Blockbuster is losing the fight to Netflix and after closing 526 stores and losing $35 million this past quarter the end may be in sight (http://www.news.com/...-9809950-7.html).>>>

Evan, this statement is so far off as to be absurd. And many of the suppositions are absolutely incorrect here about both companies mentioned and in fact the growth of online rentals. Blockbusters losses are about their organization and the overhead they have, not because people are not renting. The guy who wrote that blog obviously knows very little about he wall street and the industry of movie rentals, and how it works. And he should have read the entire financials, not simply taken what he needed to make his argument work. In fact blockbuster rentals are up right now from the same time last year. I'll give you a few reality checks about Netflix and BB:

Netflix lost 55,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year and gained 200,000 members since although Wall Street seems to think its fantastic news. Blockbuster has gained double. NTFLX revenue is down from the beginning of the year. They have continually lowered their year-end subscriber targets, a few times this year alone to a range from 6.8 million to 7.3 million members. They started out hoping for a gain of 2.1 million. That has dwindled to a fraction of that number. Churn rate which is an industry term for how many left as customers is rising and is currently near 5%, a pretty big number. The competition? Blockbuster continues to add twice as many customers as Netflix even though as an online service it is a third the size of Netflix in online income. Just a few weeks ago the NY Times ran a story of how netflix subscriber base has dropped while Blockbusters continues to grow.

You folks are trying to explain something but not looking at the cause. It's not about movie rentals as much as other realities like the overall quality of what is available in the movie industry. It's dismal and folks are finding better ways to entertain themselves. I myself have struggled in the last year to find movies to rent that I am interested in. I find some great films but it's not as fun to look. And its about how companies structure themselves, not about a direct relationship with rentals and how many stores a company closes. TV viewing is now at an all time high so folks are still looking for entertainment, but not necessarily renting films. Then again there are only about 11 million customers to any of these services as a whole (both blockbuster and Netflix) so it is in fact a very niche form of movie watching and an industry that might have potential for only twice he growth it has now, but then again the home rental business as a whole found its peak a few years ago and whether it be your store or online the industry is stagnant as a whole and in fact decreasing.
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 01:45 AM

I don't rent from Netflicks. I'm way too impulsive about my movie viewing, selecting movies to fit my mood or whim. I can't plan what movie I'm going to watch next week or three weeks from now any better than I can plan what mood I'm going to be in.

I rent from Blockbuster and a Mom&Pop "arthouse" called Videotheque down the street. Blockbuster for price and convenience, Videotheque for the selection. The Mom & Pop buinesses survive because they provide something that the larger chains and "e-tailers" don't.

So far the quality of downloads I've seen just doesn't match DVD, let alone HD DVD. I'm sure in time that will change, though.
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#13 William A Chapman Jr

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 02:22 AM

I used to rent from Hollywood Video, except from the new releases they don't get anything new. I still rent from them when I get the free coupon in the mail, otherwise I just use netflix. I live so close to the warehouse I get them the next day.
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#14 Chris Keth

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 02:31 AM

So far the quality of downloads I've seen just doesn't match DVD, let alone HD DVD. I'm sure in time that will change, though.


Not to mention that Netflix downloads don't support anything except windows. :angry:
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#15 William A Chapman Jr

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 03:39 AM

Not to mention that Netflix downloads don't support anything except windows. :angry:


That will probaly change with time as well
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#16 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 02:25 PM

Keep in mind that your local library has MANY great movies (dvd & vhs) to view for free. I watched many, many great movies and classics that the video rental/stores do not carry.

The library in my area lets me search on-line for books/movies and put them on hold for pick up.

Libraries are a wonderful resource and a great use of our tax money.


I'll second that.
I get most of my DVDs from the library. I search online through the entire system.

Admittedly the waiting list for popular new releases can be quite long. & many turn out to not be worth the wait.
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#17 Matt Pacini

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 06:31 PM

They will change, but they will not go away.

And people have been predicting that everyone was going to download movies several years ago.
Didn't happen, mostly for the reason I kept saying: who the hell is going to gather around a computer to watch a movie? Absurd.

Having said that, I stopped using Blockbuster when I found out they edit the movies that come in.
I love my NetFlix!

MP
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#18 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 08:47 PM

And people have been predicting that everyone was going to download movies several years ago.
Didn't happen, mostly for the reason I kept saying: who the hell is going to gather around a computer to watch a movie? Absurd.


That's changing too. I don't view my TV downloads on my computer (even with a 21" screen); I put them in my ipod and feed them to my SD TV over S-video. They look surprisingly good in SD, although still short of full DVD quality. With the proper connections or Apple TV it's not hard to view downloads on as large an HD screen as you want.

Unfortunately the price of downloads still seems disproportionately high for the lower quality and missing extras compared to DVD's.
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#19 Walter Graff

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 09:24 PM

Having said that, I stopped using Blockbuster when I found out they edit the movies that come in.
I love my NetFlix!

MP



This thread started with a mostly false and unsubstantiated rumor and now it has turned into the full Matrix. BLOCKBUSTER DOES NOT EDIT THEIR MOVIES. THIS IS ANOTHER INTERNET MYTH.
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#20 Tom Lowe

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:11 PM

The future is direct 720p and 1080p downloads. As mentioned, this is already happening on bit torrents, and I think it might be possible on Xbox Live. It's up the studios now to move quickly to monetize video downloads. Unfortunately, the movie and recording industries have dismal track records in terms of dealing with new technology.
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