I feel it had been too long coming, but yesterday I finally cancelled Blockbuster Total Access. I’ve had both Blockbuster and Netflix, concurrently, for the last few months, and I’ve felt a bit guilty about it. Mostly because I’ve watched about two movies a week for the last eight weeks, and have paid for the opportunity to watch something like 4000 in that time. But also because I’ve seen one regain my trust with their improved shipping while the other takes a dump on my front door, but only after three days shipping one way and three days shipping back.
Netflix has instant access movies—kinda cool, but I don’t ever use it. They do have a nicer looking website, with more relevant suggestions, and that is all it takes to make me giggle and squirm. Blockbuster has a blocky (zing!) website, slow shipping, but you get to trade movies in-store for free rentals. While this does work out to instant access to movies, I feel more likely to be stabbed in the shady local branch than I do downloading tidily at home.
It seems like such an easy win for Blockbuster, though, because they have the indisputable advantage of point of purchase marketing. They can sell you other shit—like Posters! And Popcorn! And other Movies!—while you’re checking out your free movies. Who buys those things in such a depressing setting, though, I do not know. I do have a few ideas that seem good to me, and would be pretty simple for Blockbuster to pick up:
-In the store, have a kiosk or computer station or SOMETHING that allows you to look up your account online. I spend around 45 minutes every time I go in for my free rentals because I can’t remember what the fuck I want to see. Usually I browse around awhile, end up renting some slow movie I’ll never watch, along with “Dig!” for the 30th time. By having my queue available in the store, I’d save myself 43 minutes—but still probably rent “Dig!” most visits.
-Have trailers available online for EVERY movie. Not just new releases, but every movie. Studios that spend money on producing a trailer—then slapping it on the DVD extras to die—are bastards. Most trailers are imperfect, but they can usually point out hokey storylines better than a stale paragraph on how lethargic the main character is, and then is not.
-Have major trailers available IN STORE. When I shop at Best Buy, I need to be able to watch the televisions before I decide to buy one. It seems pretty simple if there were a similar set-up (maybe even with cross-marketing for Circuit City or BB) with full surround sound and projection television. By pressing one of 15-20 new releases, half the store would be able to hear what Michael Bay’s new movie sounds like through amplified loudspeakers.
-Remodel. Paint. Something. Replace the sun-bleached covers near the front windows. How is it that every Barnes and Noble I’ve ever been to doesn’t have the same problem with bleaching covers as Blockbuster? Block the windows up a bit more, make it feel like a theatre than a Southern California 80’s movie.
Maybe a lot of these are at some Blockbuster location, somewhere. They really should be, because they seem like “well no shit”-types of ideas than something more revelatory. Or maybe I’m just a business genius.