Blockbuster begins campaign to poach angry Netflix customers

Competitor emails Netflix subscribers with special one-time offer

Blockbuster, the former DVD rental powerhouse that went bankrupt and was purchased by Dish Network in April, has begun an email campaign to woo Netflix customers outraged by that company's 60 percent price hike announced earlier this month. Greeting email recipients with "Netflix Customers, Say Hello to Blockbuster" -- and how did Blockbuster get the email addresses of Netflix customers, unless it's just carpet-bombing? -- Blockbuster Total Access offers the following: * $9.99 a month for one disc at a time * $14.99 a month for 2 discs at a time

Both plans come with a 30-day free trial and include "unlimited in-store exchanges of by-mail rentals." Also, Blockbuster claims "many new releases (are) available 28 days before Netflix and Redbox." (Not sure what "many" really means here.) Netflix is being blasted by customers for raising its rates for unlimited monthly DVD rentals. One DVD out at a time, plus unlimited streaming, will cost current customers $15.98 starting in September, up from the current $9.95. New customers will pay the new rate immediately. The company also offers separate monthly DVD rental and streaming plans. One DVD at a time costs $7.99, while two costs $11.99. Unlimited streaming-only goes for $7.99. Blockbuster (unless I'm missing something) offers unlimited on-demand viewing at no cost. Dish Network clearly is counting on anger toward Netflix to drive its poaching strategy, and you can't blame it. A survey last week by YouGov BrandIndex shows that "since the Netflix announcement on DVD rentals and streaming, the Los Gatos-based company saw its consumer perception with adults sink rapidly below competitors Redbox, DirecTV and even with bottom-score dweller Blockbuster, which resides in widely held negative opinion territory." Blockbuster: Now, you'll hate us no more than Netflix! Maybe not the firmest ground on which to launch a marketing campaign, but you have to start somewhere.

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