TiVo Two-Times Netflix, Promotes Blockbuster

Dave Zatz —  April 19, 2006

Rumor has it the TiVo sales call center is going 24/7, so I did a little poking around the TiVo store last night and uncovered a new partnership with Blockbuster. Netflix has stated there “is no work going on” in relation to TiVo, so why not play the field? For about $10 – $15 more than TiVo’s current 1 year hardware/service bundle, you can include a Blockbuster Online subscription (1, 2, 3). Why anyone would want to lock themselves into a contract for Blockbuster’s inferior Netflix service is beyond me… unless you can browse and reserve movies directly through the TiVo. I’m not sure what, if any, relation this development has to TiVo’s VOD aspirations, but I’ll be updating the post once TiVo removes the store links OR issues a press release with more details.

UPDATE: TiVo has removed the links. Hope you got your orders in and screenshots out! ;)

25 responses to TiVo Two-Times Netflix, Promotes Blockbuster

  1. Nice! i actually like blockbuster over netflix so im glad they are partnering with TiVo

  2. Why do people beat up Blockbuster’s online service. They don’t meter fullfilment like Netflix does. We get fast turn around on dvds, typically 1 or 2 days. They have great customer service. For thos impulse moments when I want a new movie right now I get free rentals from their store.

    New world my friends, netflix sucks.

  3. netflix is corrupt frequent renters get screwed over dosnt anyone read the news anymore they screw over people who rent to many movies wow some company they were great when they were the only ones offering that service blockbuster is way better especially since they dont screw frequent customers over…

  4. Why is browsing and reserving movies through the Tivo any better than using a web browser on a computer?

  5. I agree – cancelled NetFlix and went to Blockbuster Online. Turn around time was a little slower, but the free movie per week was nice touch and comes close to paying for the service. Also – I had terrible luck with bad dvd’s from netflix.

  6. Michael, if it’s anything like Fandango it’ll be decidedly worse than PC. However, it?d be a far more interesting business proposition than the pure marketing fluff of cross promotion ?- and some might actually be interested in that type of service.

    From a business standpoint it seems like Blockbuster makes out OK in this deal (whatever its nature) by locking customers into a year contract, thus limiting churn.

    Unless or until VOD arrives, I can’t say any of this excites me.

  7. Nice screen capture Dave! It would make sense if Tivo keeps track of the type of movies that you like to order, recommends ones, provides short descriptions and allows you to select them there on the TV screen. This would be a nice step toward VOD when the rights get worked out – which a small movie house or two might experiment with.

  8. Do you guys all work for Blockbuster or something? Because… THEY SUCK!!!! I guess if you like cut-up and edited movies loaded with commercials, than Blockbuster is the way to go. I’ve NEVER had a problem with Netflix, ever!

    This is a stupid move for TIVO, especially at $15 more a month.

  9. I really hope they are considering it and will bring the link back up. I’ll order it in a heartbeat. I’ve used Netflix and BB side by side the last few mo’s and there is not a difference that I can tell. I actually prefer BB right now because of the in store rentals.

  10. Cut up and edited movies loaded with commercials??? That is a lie. The movies are the same movies. Until you have subscribed for both services side by side for 4 months and then picked the clear winner keep your opinions to yourself. The tide is moving slow, but people are starting to see the real benefits of BBI. You get all of the benefits of NetFlix, plus in-store coupons, plus discounts on previewed movies, and as a loyalty bonus they have sent me three coupons for a free previewed movie to keep from their stores. Hmmm, NetFlix never did that. They just gave the new customers all of the good movies, while the bottom of my Q got filled.

  11. I’m sorry… “Keep my opinions to myself”? What are you two years old? The last time I checked this is a blog-site, and that’s kind of the point! Which further convinces me that you WORK for Blockbuster. And they DO edit their movies! If you seen a movie more than a few times — you know where the edited parts are.

    They do it for the crappy parents that can’t or won’t read the letter “R” on the front of the box, knowing this movie isn’t for kids, than call to complain about all the sex and violence in it. You should know this… you work there? Next you’ll be denying that Blockbuster doesn’t over charge people on late fees either.

  12. Keep the opinions coming… discussion is good. As long as it’s relatively civil and people don’t pump stocks, I’m cool with it.

    To address a few concerns I’ve seen posted on the Yahoo finance forums and Ars: I have not bought, have not sold, and do not own stock in any of the companies I write about. I have no vested financial interest in them. Additionally, I have not fabricated this screenshot and information was not leaked to me. I modified an existing TiVo.com store URL on a whim (well maybe 25 whims) and got lucky. Hacking Netflix has posted another screenshot and there?s been discussion on the TiVo Community Forum amongst folks who viewed the links before they were removed.

  13. Just talked to BB online customer care, they Tivo/BB deal starts on 4-24-06.

  14. Blockbuster doesn’t edit DVD’s. Not sure where you got that from.

  15. Blockbuster does not edit their movies, they can’t…duh. They are allowed, yes, allowed (through a contract with the studios) to release their movies. If they personally edited them they would lose their contract and crash. Why do you think movies have an fbi warning on them saying no unlicensed distribution or exhibition?? You have to go through the studios…there is no way at all that any company would be allowed to edit their movies unless specifically allowed by the companies…which, of course, would have to advertised on the box.

  16. Agreed, they dont edit the movies. Blockbuster couldn’t unless they want to be sued bigtime. Selling DVD’s and Editing Movies are two different parts of the Video Industry.

  17. With Blockbuster Total Access, it is really going to give Blockbuster one up on Netflix. With the convenience of exchanging the DVD at the store, something Netflix can not offer. It is going to put pressure on Netflix to step it a notch. I think this going to put Blockbuster ahead in the poll.

    See for yourself: http://todayspolls.googlepages.com/blockbuster_vs_netflix_poll

  18. The question of whether or not Blockbuster does or ever has edited movies came up recently and for the straight answer I shot an email to the corporate communications manager (Jeff Seig) at Blockbuster who got back with quite promptly to let me know that BB has NEVER edited movies or been sued for such a practice. There are a few movie editing houses (clean flicks, family flicks) based in Utah which have been forced to close their doors recently due to litigation. Blockbuster in the past has opted to carry the “cleaner” R-Rated cuts of “harsher” movies such as Requim for a Dream and Last Tango in Paris, but these cuts were furnished by the studio upon request and are clearly labeled as such. This is become far less common in recent years, especially now that the “Unrated” version of films are becoming the hotter ticket for the 20-something set.

  19. It’s quite possible that people have gotten the idea that blockbuster has edited movies in the past due to reading wikipedia… here’s a paragraph from there ‘Critics of the chain, including Naomi Klein in her anti-globalization book No Logo (1999), allege that Blockbuster is involved in “censorship,” because it not only bans certain titles, but has allegedly edited videos for release beyond the standard retail cut, or allegedly used its significant market share to influence studios to do so. Blockbuster’s critics claim this alleged editing to secure more “family-friendly” ratings is a necessity for studios if they want their products to reach a wider video market.’ And i would never use a blockbuster service, they’ve cheated me twice now….

  20. sounds like a waste of money to me

  21. Blockbuster has pulled a fast one! They got us all signed up (which we refused to do for so long) then a bout a month in after we were good and spoiled, WHAM! they are upping their prices and reducing the amount of in store exchanges to 0 unless you want to pay dearly for it. What a scam they have pulled off! They suck and I will be cancelling my account!

  22. blockbuster has raised there prices and now have slower turnaround when you ship the movies back.
    Also when you call costomer service they treat you like you have interruping them and never seem to answer the question.
    They are not giving the services they use to!!!!

  23. Blockbuster Sucks, the only movie not on “long long wait” in my que, is 10 years old. My god, “We Are Marshall” has been unavailable since it came out 3 months ago… You can forget any recent movie being availale. I just rent old crap to get the movie to trade at the store. I’m going back to Netflix, at least they had some new releases available within the first 3 months!!

  24. My email interactions with Blockbuster after talking to several people and finding out that I’m being charged way more than others for a lesser plan…

    My first e-mail:

    “I would like to know why my service charge is raising when my friend who has the same subscription as I do is still only paying the first price of $17.99 for 3 movies at a time and unlimited in store exchanges. I have talked to several people and they did not even get the first price raise last year and have not had their subscription price raised this year. I don’t think it is fair to raise some peoples subscription and not other peoples. Everyone I have talked to has not had a raise in prices from your company so why am I subjected to the price change and not others twice? The postage hasn’t raised and your program hasn’t got any better.

    This is a copy of her subscription price. If you are not going to raise everyone’s subscription price, I don’t see how you can raise some. As you will see, she is still paying the first price of $17.99 for what I am going to be paying $29.99 for and she is still receiving e-coupons which I haven’t received since the last price hike less than six months ago. That’s not good business. I want the price she and everyone else I know is getting. I don’t see paying twice as much for what they pay so little for.

    BLOCKBUSTER Total Access Premium
    $17.99 / month (plus taxes)
    3 at-a-time, unlimited mailings
    unlimited in-store movie exchanges
    +2 FREE bonus Movie or Game Rental E-Coupon / Month

    Next Billing Date:
    January 26,2008″

    —–

    Their response:

    “Thank you for contacting Blockbuster Online Customer Care.

    I appreciate the opportunity to address your concern today. We believe you’ll agree that Total Access Premium provides an enormous value that comes from unlimited rentals and in-store exchanges, and we’re adjusting our pricing accordingly. The price adjustment enables us to bring our online subscription plans more in line with our in-store subscription pricing and strikes the right balance between providing great value to our subscribers and getting a fair return for the company and our shareholders.

    Please note that we’re not changing any plan benefits; you’ll continue to get all the same great benefits and value from Total Access. With the variety of rental plans we now have in place, you’ll have a lot of choices available, should you decide you want to move to a different plan type.

    Always here to help,

    John
    Customer Care Associate”

    —-

    My 2nd email:

    “That is the exact same email I received from you last time to a T. I would like a real response on why I am being charged more than others for less services. Could you Please read my first email I sent then respond properly to it? Thank you.”

    —-

    Their final email to me:

    “I apologize for any misunderstandings. Our price restructure took into account a number of factors, including plan usage. There are some instances when some existing subscribers may not see the same price change as another in the same plan.

    We believe you’ll still find your membership to be a great value, and with the variety of rental plans we now have in place, you’ll have a lot of choices available, should you decide you want to move to a different plan. We do offer Mail Only plans at extremely competitive prices. For example, we offer 3 out unlimited for $16.99 per month, 2 out unlimited for $13.99 per month, 1 out unlimited for $8.99 per month, and a recently reduced price of 1 out/2 max per month for only $3.99 per month. We are happy to offer a wide variety of options to meet the needs to every customer.

    Always here to help,

    John
    Customer Care Associate
    BLOCKBUSTER Online”

    —-

    So I’m getting punished for being a faithful costumer and using the service I pay for???
    My plan is unlimited rentals that doesn’t mean unlimited till you rent too many then we raise the price and nowhere in TOS does it say that such a price hike will happen if the plan is overused…

    http://www.blockbuster.com/corporate/termsAndConditions

    If you agree that this is wrong please repost..

    Thanks for reading!!

  25. I left netflix and signed with BB. That was a mistake.
    Customer service hung up on me. I was not rude in anyway. I sent an e-mail 4 days ago and no response.
    Netflix was always quick and Customer service good.
    I left because I had requested a dvd and it was unavailable for a month. I thought BB would be more effective, But CSR sucks and @ the end of the month I will be switching back to netflix.