Blockbuster Total Access

Before moving to central Wisconsin, we were members of the Blockbuster Total Access program, which was superior to Netflix for the simple reason that instead of mailing in your movies, you could take them to any Blockbuster retail outlet and trade them in for a free movie rental. As you might imagine, that was great for us but not exactly the most profitable thing for them. With the familial constraints on our time that we have, we weren’t exactly abusing the system – I estimate we got about two or three rentals a month this way for free from the store.

Others, however, went absolutely crazy and squeezed Blockbuster dry, including one man who got 200 movies a month. As a result, Blockbuster is hiking prices on Total Access and happily waving those extreme customers over to Netflix:

The biggest change comes to the highest-tiered Total Access Premium plan, one which allows customers to have three movies out at a time and get unlimited in-store exchanges. That plan is going from $24.99 to a whopping $34.99 per month. [..]
The fee hikes for the other rental tiers aren’t as dramatic, but are still substantial. Two-at-a-time, Total Access Premium customers will see the cost of their service go from $21.99 to $29.99 per month. Those with plans that allow limited in-store exchanges will see a $2.00 per month price hike.

To be honest, I think it’s pretty reasonable to limit the in-store exchanges. This will be sufficient for the vast majority of customers, and still preserves the massive convenience advantage over Netflix. As you can see from the promotional banner above, you can get 3 movies out at a time with 5 in-store exchanges for $9.99 the first month. If it weren’t for the fact that the closest Blockbuster to me is an hour’s drive away, I’d still be with them instead of Netflix (though I have no complaints about my service with Netflix, I should note). Next year when we move to Madison I will probably re-evaluate things.