[opendtv] Blockbuster Tries a Remake as Movie-Rental Business Transforms

  • From: Monty Solomon <monty@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: undisclosed-recipient: ;
  • Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 01:20:40 -0400

Blockbuster Tries a Remake as Movie-Rental Business Transforms

July 26, 2004

On a recent weeknight, Andy Landsman, a lanky, dark-haired Manhattan 
high school senior, was checking out the DVD rentals at a Blockbuster 
store on Manhattan's Upper East Side that he and his girlfriend, 
Georgina Blackett, frequent.

But Mr. Landsman's regular visits may soon be coming to an end. "I've 
been too lazy to join Netflix, but I am about to sign up,'' he said, 
referring to the online video-rental service. The reason for his 
change of heart is his purchase of a DVD player, which has increased 
his appetite for watching films. The idea of not leaving the comfort 
of his living room to pick them up is increasingly appealing.

Although analysts have been predicting the collapse of video-rental 
chains for years, the departure of the teenager, Mr. Landsman, from 
Blockbuster's active customer base of 20 million is a particularly 
foreboding one.

The rise of online rental services like Netflix and the booming sales 
of DVD's at mass merchants have been eroding profitability at 
Blockbuster and other chains. And as cable operators put their 
marketing clout behind video-on-demand offerings, which allow 
customers to rent a movie by pushing a few buttons on their remotes - 
and not worry about late fees or schlepping DVD's back to the stores 
or the post office - the pressure appears more acute than ever.



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