Comcast & Blockbuster Devolve (DVDs by Mail)

Dave Zatz —  August 8, 2010 — 12 Comments

While Netflix shifts their focus to online streaming, Comcast (?!) and Blockbuster have teamed to provide DVDs By Mail — a soon-to-be-archaic method of content distribution and quintuply befuddling given Comcast’s large data conduit into millions of customer’s homes. I assume DVDs By Mail is primarily a marketing arrangement on Comcast’s end and potentially good for Blockbuster, who has been living on borrowed time – with imminent bankruptcy proceedings? (Put a fork in ‘em.) Netflix does anticipate their DVD shipments will peak in 2013 (or sooner). So there could be a small window of opportunity to capitalize on here… although I don’t see it happening.

(via HackingNetflix)

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12 responses to Comcast & Blockbuster Devolve (DVDs by Mail)

  1. Looks like the domain/url is “owned” by Blockbuster and as Richard Lawler of Engadget suggests, Comcast probably doesn’t have much skin the game: “Crosspromotion is cheap, maybe stop some switchers”.

  2. What you fail to mention and I can see why since it really isn’t pointed out is that this deal also includes game.

    The package is pretty sweet actually since it basically is a combined Gamefly and Netflix by mail order account rolled into one with the option for in-store exchanges. Some might not think the in-store part is a big deal but it is pretty nice once you have tried it a few times. That also has no late fees as part of it as well.

  3. In-store doesn’t help me, given the massive number of store closures in my region over the last few years. But game rentals are indeed appealing. In fact, I’ve been an on-and-off Gamefly subscriber — both the cost and convenience appeal to me given my limited attention span regarding how quickly I cycle through games that are not Call of Duty.

  4. “Comcast (?!)”

    Makes perfect sense to me. They’re trying to buy NBC too.

    Either they’re bearish on the future of cable, or like a bunch of other media/telco/computer companies right now, they see a rare opportunity to Take Over the World.

    Media consolidation has reached a point like a late-stage game of Risk…

  5. “DVDs By Mail — a soon-to-be-archaic method of content distribution”

    Depends on how you define “soon”, no?

    It does seem like we’re only a couple of years away from something like semi-acceptable quality 720p streaming going mainstream. But could anything like the current infrastructure really support a third of American homes all streaming 720p at the same time? I have some doubts.

    And, of course, even when that rolls out, there are folks with large TV’s for whom Blu-Ray will still hold attraction on PQ grounds for movies.

    And of course, of course, negotiating the rights issues on streaming always seems to take longer than one would imagine. And streaming will more likely than not have “windowed” distribution for content once it goes mainstream.

    The USPS is still the last-mile delivery system of choice for folks who are picky about their content or their PQ. That’s going to pertain for a reasonably long time. And even for the non-picky, DVD By Mail is only going to become archaic slowly…

  6. Oh, I agree physical media isn’t going anywhere. It’s “DVDs by mail” that have a limited lifespan – and Netflix has that market locked up. The in-store swaps of Blockbuster could be appealing to some (as mentioned above), but their brick & mortar footprint is in decline. Whereas I expect kiosks by Redbox, and possibly even Blockbuster, to prosper in the near term. Heck, Redbox is now doing Blu-ray (but not the machine nearest me) and inked a deal with CVS.

  7. Master Blaster August 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    “It’s “DVDs by mail” that have a limited lifespan – and Netflix has that market locked up”

    In case you haven’t noticed Blockbuster’s total access is by far a greater value.

    Netflix can’t offer you games and charge you extra for Blue-ray. There DVDs are also restrited by the 28 day window. The only value add Netflix has is in its streaming which gets old quick.

    The in-store feature is great if you have a store nearby. There are still a lot of Blockbuster stores that make money. In time the stores will probably only be available in heavily populated areas.

  8. Better deal or not, Netflix owns the mail order market. And when we’re talking a buck or two difference, the value is inconsequential to many. Until last summer, I lived in Montgomery County, MD which has about a million residents – my three closest Blockbusters were closed. Not sure the history of my new VA ‘hood, but I do know I don’t have a convenient outpost. (Plus, I admit to being ahead of the mainstream and prefer renting via Amazon VOD.)

  9. BTW, thanks for the link to Hacking NetFlix. I’ve been wanting to find a site exactly like that, and now I have.

    (Misleading site title, but it’s still the info I’ve been wanting.)

  10. “Until last summer, I lived in Montgomery County, MD … Not sure the history of my new VA ‘hood”

    Did they make you change your voter registration from D to R at the border?

  11. Dave, BB actually added games to its online library, so it looks pretty sweet.

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