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You have to hand it to Blockbuster, having to deal with monetary losses, layoffs and watching rival Netflix take all its customers. Then there is Apple, Sony, Google, Microsoft and others all offering online TV for free or at a low cost. Whats the ailing monolith supposed to do?
Well, they seem to be coming back with a vengeance. The company, from evidence at the CES show last month are throwing a myriad of new developments at the consumer. From DVD rental kiosks to internet streaming straight to your TV, mobile device or phone. You can even visit your local store and downloading movies to a memory stick.
“If you think of a movie, we’ll get it for you,” Bruce Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of Blockbuster OnDemand, said at the show.
Even the kind of antiquated concept of renting a DVD gets a makeover. If you cannot find the dvd you want in a Blockbuster store then they will mail it to you – but without any monthly contract setup. Dont want to order a physical product? Well, Blockbuster are expanding its internet video streaming service, allowing viewers to buy or rent movies online. You can order a movie using your phone (yes, Blockbuster do have an iPhone app) then download it. If you dont want to watch your download on your 14 inch laptop screen, no worries. Just view it on another device like a Blu-ray player or an Internet-connected hd television set.
All great ideas, but available elsewhere and is it really just too little and too late? The company reports 2009 financial results later this month and has said it expects a net loss for the year of as much as $193 million. Several top executives were recently despatched. Looking at their bitter rivals must hurt. Netflix have increased their customer base by a million in the fourth quarter and achieved profits of $116 million for 2009.
Netflix are now âthe’ DVD by mail company and Apple pretty much own the mobile phone tv market with its iPhone and coming iPad device. Game console streaming is dominated by Microsoft, Sony and Netflix. Whilst the video rental kiosks from Redbox are a big hit too.
It seems that its rivals have managed to adapt to changes in the industry faster says Kurt Scherf, principal analyst with market research firm Parks Associates:- “Blockbuster had that opportunity a few years ago to set the standard,” Scherf said. “I’m just amazed that they got passed so quickly by all these other players.”
Can Blockbuster survive by just copying what everyone else has done? They need to start dominating a market or you can only see one outcome. There is of course phone tv market, which apart from Apple and its iPhone still needs filling. Lets hope Blockbuster move a little quicker on this one.
Last night i walked past my tv and saw the cabinet next to it gathering dust. The reason? Because i never go there anymore, and that cabinet holds my dvd collection. Slowly i have accessed them less and less to the point now where i never go there.
And its not just me, why bother renting a dvd by mail from Netflix or Blockbuster when you can download the movie of your choice quicker with just as good quality and not be tied to watching it on a dvd player. If you want watch on your television, your pc or your mobile phone.
There are so many ways now to stream Internet services directly to your TV or internet connected device using a set-top box, your games console. Theres the Xbox, PlayStation 3 and Wii game consoles. Also quite ironically, you can send streams to your tv straight from the latest Blu-ray video players.
You can even watch streams in high-definition quality at up to 1080p with full surround sound audio thrown in.
The DVD hasnt quite been killed off yet, Blu-ray is popular and Netflix claim they will continue renting discs by mail for the forseeable future. But if there are many more people like me using the many options for internet movie streaming, im not sure how long that future will be.