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Blockbuster vs. Netflix

The struggling video chain offers free rentals to Netflix customers through Dec. 21. Fight! Fight! Fight!

It seems their online rental program wasn’t the only move that video rental chain Blockbuster could muster to compete with online giant Netflix: From now through Dec. 21, Blockbuster is offering free movie rentals at their retail locations for Netflix members who bring in the Netflix mailing labels they’d normally toss out. The promotion, according to a recent story in U.S. News & World Report, “highlights the advantage that Blockbuster has over its Web-only competitor: physical stores for video renters’ immediate gratification.” “We want these movie fans to experience getting the movie they want without the wait,” said Blockbuster CEO John Antioco in the piece.

It’s an interesting idea, but it remains to be seen whether or not renters will brave December’s artic chill to head to a Blockbuster outlet as opposed to the mailbox on their corner.

Here’s what movie mavens online are saying:

“I think Blockbuster has given away its own competitive edge. True, the convenience is in the mailing process, but so is the inconvenience. There’s always that two-day mailing limbo that gets in the way, especially if it’s over a weekend. So, if you have a few people over and want to watch a movie, you can’t because your DVDs haven’t shipped yet.” — Owen Lystrup,

“In all honesty, it doesn’t seem to make much sense. The folks at Blockbuster say the point is to remind Netflix customers how nice it is to be able to get in-store rentals if you want. But for me, all it really does is make me proud to be a Netflix customer. Because not only do I get rewarded with great selection, speed, service, and ease of use, I am now being given the opportunity to rip off a huge conglomerate. For free. Win-win, baby.” — daveghax,

“My ass is so going to take advantage of this and promptly never go to Blockbuster again as soon as the promotion is over.” — Jasmine,

“So, Becky and I got on the craplist for Netflix again by renting too many movies this month. Because we rented ‘too many’ movies we were given the 4th and 5th movies on our list. However, when we got our movies today I was able to take the slips to Blockbuster and get free rentals of the top two on our list that got skipped over.” — Brett,

“I don’t understand the love for Netflix, a company that employs ‘fairness algorithms’ to rip off their customers. I tried Blockbuster Online when they began and ditched it quickly. Came back recently and stayed as the service has much improved.” Adam Webb,

Talk: Is Netflix in a fix? Or has Blockbuster lost its luster? Or are you already pirating your movies anyway? COMMENT

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