From Pine View Farm

Why Am I Not Surprised? 3

Movies that aren’t worth watching aren’t worth renting.

Blockbuster Inc., the world’s largest movie-rental chain, hired the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to explore a possible bankruptcy filing, a person familiar with the situation said. Blockbuster fell as much as 86 percent yesterday before trading was halted.

Digital no doubt has something to do with it, but I think not so much as geeks would like to think. Despite geeky fantasies, most persons aren’t going to do something on a computer rather than on a radio or television simply because they can.

Video rental places have been disappearing over the past five years. There used to be three within a seven-minute drive from here. Now there’s one.

Back when I used to rent occasionally from Blockbuster, I found their customer service policies to be a little weird This may have changed, but, back then, if you didn’t use your account for a period of time (three months, I think), they cancelled it and made you fill out the form again.

Not a great way to build customer loyalty.

And Blockbuster’s doesn’t have a back room. That’s were rental places make their margins–in the back room.



  1. Karen

    March 4, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I remember renting movies about 10 years or so ago, but no longer. First there’s nothing I want to see. If I do want to see it, I’m sure I’ll want it, so I just wait & buy it. I do remember going to Blockbuster for a movie & finding that the 3 or 4 copies they had were all out, so what was the point.

    I also wonder what effect Netflicks has played on the Blockbuster demise? It would seem a lot more convienient (yeah I’m pretty sure it isn’t spelled right & I don’t care) to have movies mailed to you, with no due date. I’m sure there was plenty.

  2. Frank

    March 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Netflicks hurt them enough that they have tried something similar.  They are also trying to crack the download market.



  3. Bill

    March 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I also wonder what effect Netflicks has played on the Blockbuster demise?

    Netflix has done a lot right while Blockbuster failed to change with the times.  NetFlix stock closed at $31.50/share on March 4, 2008.  It closed today at $37.71.  Yes, it’s actually gone up during the last 12 months – not many companies can say that.  Blockbuster on the other hand, well, it closed at $2.87 a year ago and closed at $0.47 today.  Both firms actually made money, but the old “…drive over to the store and rent a video…” days are basically gone.  There are several empty video rental stores of various names around Dover, but we still have a Blockbuster.

    If you are a NetFlix subscriber, you can watch movies online for free.  They offer a good variety of many fairly new movies online.  As for their basic mail the DVD to you house model, my wife does that and they really have it down to a science.  I doubt Blockbuster will make a significant dent in their business.  That said, four analysts rank Blockbuster a “strong buy.”  Wonder how those guys manage to keep their jobs.