The Blockbuster Killer

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 17 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

A while back, Scoble wrote about a new product Verisign was rolling out:


Here’s what they were demoing: a peer-to-peer system for selling and distributing high-def videos. It really rocks. I downloaded a movie while there in the booth and the quality wasn’t distinguishable from the HD-DVD’s I get from Netflix.

It made me realize why would any of us go into a Blockbuster in the future, or wait two days for a DVD to show up from Netflix.

Scoble called it “a Netflix killer.” Maybe.

For the past few months, Blockbuster has been running an ad campaign targeted at Netflix users. The basic idea is this: We (Blockbuster) do pretty much the same thing Netflix does (send DVD’s to you in the mail). But we make it better, if you want to watch another movie now (and not wait for the mailman), just come to Blockbuster and drop off your DVD and get another one for free.

It was a pretty good campaign. Until now.

A while back, I got the chance to get into Netflix’s WatchNow program. I played around with it a bit and thought it was pretty cool. I had an hour free yesterday between some classes, what better way to fill the time than to watch a movie (or at least start watching it). Mom had recommended Born into Brothels, so I started that. The quality was pretty good.

After lab today, I wanted to relax. All my Netflix movies were in the mail, I went for a real movie this time: The Untouchables. It wasn’t quite DVD quality, but it’s nothing I’d miss. Read as: The quality was awesome for what it was, streaming a full length feature film over the Internet with less than 60 seconds of buffering time.

Netflix basically just said: Blockbuster had a great a idea. Why make people wait for the mail? But why make them drive to store as well? You don’t even have to get dressed, now you can watch movies online for free (for every dollar you already spend at Netflix, you get one hour of online movie viewing per month).

The only downside is that you have to watch it on your computer and you have to be connected to the Internet. This isn’t a huge hurdle for me and it’s not a deal breaker since I watch most of my movies on my laptop anyway.

The WatchNow feature isn’t completely rolled out to everyone yet, but it will be soon (June, I believe).

[tags]Netflix, WatchNow, Blockbuster, Scoble, movies, online, verisign, Born into Brothels, The Untouchables, DVD[/tags]