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blockbusterEver visit a rental store to pick up a movie you are excited about, only to discover that it’s out of stock? The nation’s largest movie rental chain plans to ameliorate that problem with a new service called Direct Access. Blockbuster’s new service went live today, and puts every film in the company’s 95,000-plus catalog within a few days’ reach of its B&M customers.

According to Video Business, the program “lets customers order movies that are out of stock in their store and receive it by mail within three mailing days at no extra charge and without the requirement of being in enrolled in Blockbuster’s Total Access by-mail program”. Customers will be charged $3.99 for a DVD or Blu-ray title and given a one-week rental period to return their films to the store or mail them back with prepaid postage. Blockbuster’s website will also allow customers to check for title availability at locations in their area.

Blockbuster chief information officer Keith Morrow declared the following about the new service:

“We’re no longer confined to the square footage of our stores, which typically carry between 3,000 to 5,000 titles. . . Our customers can leave the store satisfied, knowing that if they can’t find what they want in store, they can find it in their mailbox.”

The new program is the latest effort in Blockbuster’s multi-channel push to maintain its relevancy in a video rental era increasingly dominated by Redbox and Netflix In the near future, Blockbuster plans to link its VOD inventory to its physical locations and by-mail service, as well as swell the ranks of the devices that support Blockbuster Video On Demand. A mobile app for local inventory information and, eventually, mobile movie watching is also rumored to be in the works.

What do you think of this latest move by BB, Insiders? Would you leave the store empty-handed but “satisfied” knowing that your preferred movie is in the mail? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

[via Video Business]

16 Responses to “Blockbuster Launches “Direct Access” Mailing Service”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    curtis [visitor]

    I’ll stick with Red Box 3.99 is too much money .

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    1st timer [visitor]

    $3.99 for a difficult-to-find movie is a pretty fair deal and is a good strategy. These kind of movies will never be stocked by Redbox. I think this puts more pressure on Netflix than on Redbox since I can cancel my Netflix subscription and stay with Redbox. When I want something that BBI carries, I’ll order it from them and essentially have an a la carte Netflix sub.

    The only drawback I see is that BBI’s library is considerably smaller than Netflix’s especially when you rent foreign films.

  3. Member [Join Now]
    The Turnip [the-turnip]

    “Would you leave the store empty-handed but satisfied knowing that your preferred movie is in the mail?”

    Yes. This addresses my biggest, long-standing gripe about Blockbuster – leaving the store empty-handed. The last few times I tried to rent from BB, I honestly left with the feeling that the “quality” older movies had worn out and nobody bothered replacing them leaving rack after rack of direct-to-DVD junk. (I can’t imagine why that particular location closed!)

    I’m a long time Netflix subscriber so there is do doubt that I’m pleased with DVD-by-mail. However, I would never use this service from BB since I’m already getting the same thing from NF for about $1.50 / movie.

    Good for BB, I think this is a great option for their customers.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    FesteAinoriba [visitor]

    Besides the competitive price of $1.00 for a one-night rental, the single most important reason that I will frequent Redbox and not BB Express or even take advantage of this BB “feature” is that that redbox has proliferated its locations so that there are several kioks within a few minutes drive time AND its online reservation systems ensures that when I get there, the movie I wanted will be waiting for me. I hated going to BB to get a movie, finding out that it wasn’t there, asking the clerk to rifle through the return box to see if one was turned in. Looking around to find a different movie, going back to the check out, begging the cleark to check the drop box again for my first choice only to end up going home with a movie I had no intention of renting when I started out on this adventure.

    Now, I log in to Redbox, within a minute, without leaving my house, I know if the movie I want is available and at which kiosk. I can reserve it from work on Tuesday morning and know that it will be there when I get there that evening.

    When I want to rent a movie for Friday night entertainment, I don’t want to drive to BB, find out it isn’t there, but get it mailed to me for Monday evening at four times the cost.

    I would much rather find out that it isn’t in stock at redbox, and wait until it is for $1.00 per night than waste my time driving to BB to find out I have to wait until later to pay $4 to watch it.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Mike [visitor]

      I think you are missing the point of the whole service. It is for those customers who are looking for older more obscure product that normally isn’t carried in the majority of the B&M stores.

      It is not for New Releases that every Blockbuster and Netflix routinely carry.

      There are titles that you are never going to see in a Redbox machine no matter how long you want to wait to pay $1 a rental.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Consumer [visitor]

        And with this option, you only have to make one trip to the store. I think $3.99 is a little high but fair. And you have up to 7 days to watch it and return it to the store or put it in the mail with a 7 days grace period from what I have heard. And I don’t know about any of you, but the Christmas season can play havoc with plans and schedules. :)

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          1st timer [visitor]

          I must have misunderstood this service. Is there a way to just have BB send it to me directly for without going to the store and charge my credit card? Or do I have to go to the store and see that they don’t have it and ask them to send it?

          If I have to go the store (even once), I’ll stick with Netflix’s 1 out at a time plan.

    • Member [Join Now]

      Redbox only carries new releases and popular old movies. It also appears that redbox does not get all the new movies that come out. This is for BB customers who are possibly losing patience with them. Most customers of redbox grew tired of BB a long time ago, so this would not concern them. It could be a good plan for people who were either, old netflix customers and hated their service (netflix is a lot better now with instant activity and better customer service) or customers that don’t want to sign up for a monthly plan. However it will not do well, who want to waste gas and go to a store(not get the/a movie) and then recieve a movie 3 days later. At 3.99 a movie plus gas you might as well get the 8.99 netflix plan. Also while I don’t know where you live but the redboxes in chicago are crap. I was one of first few to start using this service and it has really gone down hill. A lot of new releases don’t come out on there respective dates and their online rental service is always down by my kiosks.

  5. Member [Join Now]
    Doug [mouthsmasher-2]

    …Or you could pay $8.99 a month to have whatever movie you want delivered right to your mailbox every time without even having to go to a “brick and mortar” store. Not to mention that within that month you’ll have enough time to rent far more than 3 (the number of movies from Blockbuster it takes to equal more than $8.99) movies. Blockbuster, I think I’ll stick with Netflix.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Richard [visitor]

    One advantage blockbuster has over netflix and redbox is that for $11.99 a month you have unlimited rentals by mail and they can each be exchanged for one in the store (right now unlimited exchanges, usually 5 store exchanges per period). Also the advantage of blu-ray disks, which if you add that in the cost is less than $2 per blu-ray movie. I order the hard to find by mail and get the new relkeases in the store. Works for me.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      jb [visitor]

      From experience, not an advantage when you only get 1 or, if your lucky, 2 movies by mail a week for such a low price. I paid $36 for the unlimited in store exchange per month and the maximum amount of movies you can get by mail at a time. It is easy for me to forget that number because they never had in stock the movies I wanted to have sent to me . Great with new releases tho Still Redbox is soooo much less of a hassle too.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Richard [visitor]

        jb blockbuster has worked to improve their mailing service. I get dvds as fast as netflix and then get another movie at the store. So far rented 8 movies in a four week period, not rushing. All bluray for average of less than $2 per movie. I have no problem finding good movies to rent. I used redbox for 3 years and can’t always depend on the machine. Last time I rented it spit out two movies at the same time. As the machines get older will they be as dependable. I know no one will probably read this post since it is from an older thread.

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          jb [visitor]

          Well I agree with you about how the machines are not always dependable. There were several around where I live that were charging ppl for movies that were not dispensed, the movies would just not come out. It didn’t happen to me because a friend warned me of the 2 she knew of that were having problems. They have now been repaired. :) But I really have a problem with Blockbuster. I was a member of the blockbuster online program for approx 3 years. I have never wanted to pull my hair out like I did with them. lol
          Seriously though, they would have a movie that I would want; I would put it at the top of my queue where it was marked as “available,” but then go in to look at my queue or add movies,etc. the very next morning or even perhaps later that day and the status would change to “Long wait, Short wait, or Very Long Wait” for some reason. I was under the impression that if you put a movie in your queue you were “in line” as it were for the next copy available, but that is not how they work. The program is supposed to work that way though. Sometimes I would have a movie at the #1 spot for 8 months before they would send it to me if ever. And when you have say a TV series in your queue they usually don’t care what order they send them in. For example, if Disc 3 of the season is available to send to you, but Discs 1 and 2 are not available they had no reservation about sending that 3rd disc. So you can watch the end without knowing the beginning. That was just unacceptable to me. At least Netflix will hold the entire series and send them in order. I have only had them send one (1!) out of order in a year and a half or so, but then I would get the previous disc(s) the very next day (must have been slow mail?)
          Anyway, if it works for you, great! I just got tired of them. It seems the longer you are on the program, the more they mess up too. pretty neglectful, but they did get back to me quickly, usually in the same day, when I complained or reported a problem.
          1 more thing. I am sure you have no problem finding movies to rent. But after being with them so long I had rented so many movies. The are great with the new releases. but special programs like some foreign films (French, Japanese, etc.) and anime were so hard to get through them. If you want a series in one of those categories, good luck. They often had only half or the were so scratched they would need to be returned for a better copy to even watch it.
          so good luck, beware, and happy renting! jb

  7. Member [Join Now]

    Just a subject i wanted to participate in. ANYONE bit*hing about redbox codes not working or being sent to their phone is about as low class as u can get. If redbox had never offered this free code service, everyone would be all about redbox anyway. Like for price. But being nice and giving out codes is just too much for someone to bear when their phone sucks. So use your damn computer then! Retail is the same way, offer a great deal….but then bit*h that you were days too late. Cuz yeah…….you’re so important that the store should call you and let you know so you dont miss out on this great deal. Ass. No one deserves something for nothing when they think they’re entitled to it.

  8. Member [Join Now]

    I am waiting for some newer blockbuster movies to come out
    so I can sign up for their FREE 30 day trial (unlimited movies}
    then cancel, cause I’m already with Netflix, but the
    problem with Netflix and their treatment to long time
    customers is that they are

    TURTLE slow

    on delivering the NEW films.