The End of Blockbuster?????

Late Fees?  Kind of.

I was at my local Blockbuster Video and saw some pretty yellow signs posted all over the store.  Here are the key points of the changes…

  1. As of 3/1/10, Blockbuster has basically ended “the end of late fees.”
  2. Movie rentals are now all for 5 days, regardless of newness.
  3. Movies kept past the due date are charged $1/day.
  4. Movies kept past a certain time will be charges to your credit / debit card on file.
  5. If any fees such as over draft or over limit are incurred, it is your fault.

While not officially stated, the $1/day after 5 days could be looked at as late fees, but then again they could just be automatic renewal rates.  Blockbuster spent quite a bit of money on their “end of late fees” campaign to toss it out the window.

5 Day Renter or Same Day Watcher?

For those that keep movies 5 days or like to interact with other human beings, Blockbuster seems to be a viable option.  If you are the kind of person who rents at 5 PM and watches at 7 PM the same day, check to see if there is a “Red Box” in your area.  A self-service kiosk which charge around $1/day to rent.  If you keep it for 5 days, then essentially you could have gotten the same deal at Blockbuster.

Flaws in Blockbuster’s “end of late fees.”

According to unconfirmed reports, people kept movies for a very long time and never returned them.  I personally would not be in any rush to return movies, especially when in the worst case, I would be charged a$1.25 restocking fee.  Had I been smarter, I should have gone to rent a new release, kept it for a few months until I decided if I really wanted to buy it, and if not, simply return and just pay $1.25.  It would have saved my $20 for a Blu-Ray movie that tends to sit in my library and not get watched again. 🙁  Alas, I am too late.  Never mind it would be bad of me to take advantage of a company already struggling.

Next Step?  Death of Media?

It will likely take a while, I bet there are still people renting VHS tapes, but as homes become more connected with broadband and network connected media players, the number of  DVDs sold and rented will fall, until perhaps someday when there will be no physical media, and a portable device to carry around movies when on the go!

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