This week in Department of the Obvious, we find Blockbuster filing for bankruptcy. The only possible surprise is that it took this long. As chapter 11 was the inevitable outcome after failing to modernize their operation quickly enough and, in my experience, providing years of poor customer service. Fortunately, for them, they intend to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings having shed a ton of debt and still in business. As I tweeted yesterday, “The smart moves for Blockbuster are to shutter stores & double down on kiosks.” They’ve got a well-known, if sullied, brand and should work additional licensing deals to preserve their legacy and the business. Whatever that business turns out to be.
And on the other end of the spectrum… Netlflix, who has done a rather masterful job navigating these uncharted waters, confirmed the obvious: “We are looking at adding a streaming-only option for the USA over the coming months.” No surprise there — Netflix has repeatedly stated they expect digital video streaming usage to continue increasing, as shipments of physical DVDs ultimately decrease. The only challenge they’ll have is pricing such a service. Right now, the $9/mo single disc rental package includes unlimited online playback. And I can’t imagine they could take a digital-only package much lower. For comparison, the new discless Canadian subscription runs $8/month CAD. Unfortunately, at these price points, I fear we’ll continue to miss out on premium new releases.