It’s 2009 and just like you have alternatives for how you listen to music (radio, satellite, CD, digital player, etc.), there are a growing number of alternatives for how you watch video content as well. Gone are the days when you were restricted to watching video on your television from cable or satellite. You’ve got choices now for free or subscription based content delivered through your Internet device or from a home subscription service. This can make a big difference in your monthly budget. Right now I pay $52 per month for expanded basic cable TV (No movie channels, No High Definition, No DVR, yaddy yadda.) That’s $624 annually for 100 channels of programming of which I probably view 10-15. There’s opportunity for cost savings for sure. But what about buyer utility? What about choosing the content I want to see?
In this post I’ll take a look at mail order alternatives from Netflix and Blockbuster. I’d like to look in general at how these programmers are marketed and at the difference in features. In a follow-up post, I’ll look at free online streamed content.
I found that Netflix focuses on two primary features in its online Marketing: The ability to have unlimited rentals each month and its ability to stream content to your PC or TV at no additional cost. They are a few mentions of television episode programming as well. I think this will become a larger feature for them in the future as they compete with traditional television and programming. They also heavily promote the speed of the turn-around service you receive for DVDs.
Blockbuster focused its marketing effort on promoting the fact that they have a mail-in option that can be combined with in-store returns and exchanges. Their subscription plans vary with the fee for exchanging in a store versus a mail-back. They also promote the ability for just a simple return to a store which releases the next mail-order DVD in the mail to you.
|Shipping||Free shipping both ways||Free shipping both ways. Additional option to return to store for exchange for discounted rental.|
|Television Programming||Yes (limited over 5,600 DVDs)||No|
|Movies||DVD and Blu-ray||DVD and Blu-ray|
|Streaming to PC||Yes (limited selection)||Yes with Movie Link|
|Streaming to TV||Yes, with converter device (limited selection)||Yes, with converter device|
|Contract Required?||No, cancel at anytime||No, cancel at anytime|
|Free Trial||Yes, One Month||Yes, two weeks|
So what’s your experience with either of these two services? How is the customer service? What is the quality of DVDs received in the mail?