Monday, November 6, 2006

Blockbuster Total Access

If you're a Netflix subscriber and you'd like to get more for less, the time has come for you to look into Blockbuster. When I had Netflix I was never satisfied by how many movies I could get in a month. Once they admitted that their UNLIMITED movie rentals were actually unlimited unless you're like Ryan and get lots of movies in which case you are LIMITED, I started looking at alternatives.

I've blogged about this before, but for the three-at-a-time plan with Blockbuster ($17.99) they would give me four in-store rentals a month, plus four more if I had rewards. Combine that with the fact that they weren't throttling bastards like Netflix and you've got a recipe for success.

Enter Total Access, a new plan where you can return your movies to the store rather than in the mail and essentially get a free in-store rental for every movie you return that way. This means that with Rewards, I can go in on a Tuesday with my free rental coupon and three online movies in hand, walk out of there with five movies (three for the online returns, one with the coupon, and one from Rewards). Then if I happen to be using my one "Blockbuster Favorites" rental per month with rewards I could get one more, bringing the total to six movies on one trip. To boot, they'll ship my three online rentals the NEXT DAY.

It used to be that the Blockbuster online system couldn't hold a candle to the power and ease-of-use that the Netflix interface had. After a recent update to the page I'd say that Blockbuster is at least on par with Netflix if not better.

The bottom line is that they really are this generous. I talked to a manager at Blockbuster last night and he just said that the plan relies on people not thinking like I do in order for it to succeed. Remember the motto of my college econ prof Tom Rusticci as you take advantage of this program, "Gifts are good".