Back in Houston we ended up using Blockbuster’s movie rental service after trying out NetFlix, because Blockbuster offered such amazing value. The advantage of being able to drop off movies to the store – and to get a free store rental – just blew Netflix away. However, here in Marshfield, there isn’t a Blockbuster within a hundred miles. So, NetFlix becomes the only option again. It’s interesting to note that though Blockbuster was bleeding money earlier, NetFlix is starting to feel the heat – they just reduced prices across the board on their rate plans. That’s certainly welcome news but once we move to madison next year I have a feeling I’ll be back in the Blockbuster camp. The only way NetFlix is going to survive is if they partner with a retail chain to match Blockbuster on features; price wars alone just aren’t enough.
One possible candidate would be Hollywood Video, which has no mail service of its own. There’s actually a HV here in Marshfield but somewhat ironically, because there isn’t any Blockbuster, I’m on Netflix, and hence because I am on Netflix I have no need to go to HV! Just goes to show that the killer feature set is both retail AND mail services, but if you’re going to only offer one, then mail service reigns supreme (which is why Netflix became such a juggernaut at the start).
UPDATE – via Steven comes further bad news for NetFlix:
Netflix Inc.’s stock price plunged to its lowest point in more than two years Tuesday after the online DVD rental leader reported the first quarterly customer losses in its history and dimmed its earnings outlook for the rest of the year.
To make matters worse, Netflix’s Web site â€” the hub of its rental system â€” went down Monday evening and remained inaccessible as of Tuesday afternoon (EDT). Spokesman Steve Swasey attributed the outage to an unanticipated problem that he declined to describe. Engineers hoped to fix the trouble by 2 p.m. EDT.