It's March 23. Do you know where your rental copy of The Blind Side is?
The Time Warner
I say "some" renters have it because Netflix
When I saw a press release cross the wires this morning titled "Blockbuster and Warner Bros. Announce New Agreement," I figured that the country's leading bricks-and-mortar rental chain had fallen in line as well.
The Time Warner deal isn't just about in-store availability. Blockbuster is offering the film through its Netflix-esque Blockbuster By Mail program and its digitally delivered on-demand service. The press release doesn't mention the Redbox-like Blockbuster Express kiosks that the chain is opening with NCR
Either way, stocking The Blind Side is a touchdown for Blockbuster. Movie studios are afraid that discounters -- including Redbox's $1 a day kiosks and Netflix's unlimited plans -- are eating into purchases and full-priced rentals. Time Warner claims that only 25% of DVD buyers pick up its titles after the first four weeks on the market, so the studio is willing to let Netflix and Redbox devalue the product at that point.
The real surprise here is that News Corp.'s
Then again, I keep getting the feeling that Netflix and Redbox just got punked. Netflix claims that most of its subscribers don't care about new releases, but we'll see how the second-class citizenry feels after a few more delayed blockbusters. Redbox is an even bigger sucker because it's all about hot releases. Let's hope margins improve given the cheaper DVDs to make up for the credibility whacks.
Netflix and Redbox will continue to serve their fan bases, but Blockbuster suddenly feels fresher in comparison today.
Will this policy come back to haunt Netflix and Redbox? Share your thoughts in the comment box below?
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix shareholder -- and subscriber -- since 2002. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.