Friday, January 12, 2007

 

NetFlix vs. Blockbuster Total Access

I'd say I'm a big movie fan, but it's actually bigger than that. I'm a fan of TV shows on DVD. I'm a fan of exploring unknown but incredible documentaries. I also love watching classic baseball games and World Series highlights on DVD.

All of which is why I've been a huge fan of NetFlix. My "wait list" is a couple hundred discs long, and quite diversified (it also includes yoga discs for the Mrs.). I love that I can pretty much always have something at home, and just use my mailbox as a delivery mechanism. Passive-aggressive movie rentals.

It was perfect, that is, until I saw four thousand ads for Blockbuster's Total Access program during College Bowl Season. If you've watched any television the past couple weeks, you've seen the ad. It pretty much describes the NetFlix value proposition for the first seven seconds, then reminds you that waiting two days for your next DVD is simply not acceptable - especially when there's a perfectly-good Blockbuster store down the road that will exchange your movie immediately.

What those onmipresent ads don't really tell you is that the offer is actually better than what they say initially. When you exchange your DVD (in its mailed pouch) at the local Blockbuster retail location, it's essentially like getting another FREE DVD rental. You pick a single DVD from their available library, and they mail back your previous DVD for you. You get a new DVD rental from the retail store, plus the next DVD in your online queue. Not too bad.

Of course, that retail DVD rental still has late fees that may apply if you don't physically take it back in time. But if you don't mind the drive, and especially if a Blockbuster retail store is conveniently located somewhere you typically drive past anyway, it's not a bad way to get a few extra DVD rentals for no additional cost.

So now, I'm a Netflix and Total Access subscriber. A month from now, I hope to only keep one or the other. We'll see how this turns out. Updates to come...

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