Say goodbye to Blockbuster movies…

2 11 2007

It looks like the bottom has finally fallen out of Blockbuster. After numerous failed attempts at attracting new customers, the company is finally spiraling out of control.

Sad as it is, the end is near for Blockbuster, and all that pressure it has been placing on Netflix will be lifted.

And in the end, Netflix will be left standing to fight another day.

Although Blockbuster tried everything it could to create a compelling reason for us to use the service, the company could not overcome its downfall. For years, it was hated by those people who saw it as a monolithic organization that enjoyed charging exorbitant late fees and had little or no care of what the customers wanted most. So when Netflix offered an entirely new service, the dynamics of the industry was inexorably changed, and Blockbuster was left playing catch up.

According to the company’s third-quarter results released Thursday, Blockbuster’s revenue slid 5.7 percent and the company harbored a net loss of $35 million. Worse, it has closed 526 stores in the past year, and the number of employees will be reduced to offset high overhead costs to the tune of $45 million. Blockbuster’s injured stock price continues to fall and was priced at $5.06 at Thursday’s close.

But if that’s not enough to signal defeat, Blockbuster Chairman Jim Keyes admitted that his company’s focus on Netflix was damaging and has decided to pull the plug on his demand for higher Total Access membership. Instead, he wants Blockbuster to focus on increasing overall membership.

Sorry, Jim, but I think you’re out of luck.

Much like the print media and retail stores refusing to change, Blockbuster has been a victim on an online company finding new and inventive ways of bringing a product to a customer. And due to its size and outdated corporate culture, there really is no salvation for Blockbuster at this point. Try as it might, the future of Blockbuster is bleak, at best.

Sure, the company still enjoys revenue that climb into the billions of dollars, but with an ever-increasing net loss and a public refusal to focus on Total Access–the area where Netflix continues to dominate–what is the impetus for us to jump on the Blockbuster bandwagon?

Simply put, Blockbuster is doomed. And while many of us have known it for a while now, it’s amazing to me that the chairman of the company admitted this in a not-so subtle way, as well.

For Blockbuster, there is currently no prospect for growth. Not only is it incapable of breaking the Netflix shell, the brick-and-mortar stores are failing, and there is little chance it will be able to capitalize on the future of movie rentals–downloading.

The way I see it, Blockbuster has two options: sell off the company as soon as possible or spend huge sums of cash on research and development and strategic partnerships with distribution companies to make downloading movies a viable alternative to Netflix.

But unfortunately, I simply don’t see this happening. I think Blockbuster will try to stay the course in the hopes it can find a way out. It won’t.

I’ll give it two years before this company goes under.

Sony will drop prices for its Blu-ray DVD player – Confirmed

2 11 2007

Sony Corp.’s Blu-ray DVD player will drop 20 percent or more in price this holiday season, the head of the company’s consumer electronics division said.The price for the high-definition movie player, which produces sharper images than traditional DVD machines, will decline to less than $400 from $499.99 now, Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics, said Thursday. The Sony player and HD DVD, backed by Toshiba Corp., are vying to be the new home-entertainment standard.

Blu-Ray players for $299 this holiday? and HD-DVD player for $98???

2 11 2007

Will this be the holiday season of the $299 Blu-ray player? And will such a low price usher in mass acceptance of high-definition video discs? Could be. Here’s a leading indicator: Sony says it will have Blu-ray players priced at $399, possibly lower, during the holidays. Already some Blu-ray players are in the $350-to-$400 range, while the competing HD-DVD spec is flirting with $199 and $99 price points.

Today, Sony Electronics president Stan Glasgow said, “[Sony] Blu-ray will be down to $399 and slightly below that, but not much lower.” That means Sony will take action to get the price of its least expensive player that low. Sony’s cheapest, the BDP-S300, is about $410 to $420 with aggressive pricing. Six months ago, it was $600. Other Blu-ray players typically run $400 to $1,200 now. My projection of a $299 Blu-ray player before Christmas is based on this reasoning: Other brands can undercut well-known Sony by $25 to $50 a unit. If Sony gets to $375, competitors can do $325, and if they can do $325, a couple of stores will look to the magical $299 price point. (Though that’s not as magical as $199.) Not bad for a product category that came to market in mid-2006.

More Sony news after the jump.

450%20Walmart%20HDDVD-2.jpg  Read the rest of this entry »

Best Buy Drops Toshiba HD DVD Player to $99; Supplies Very Limited

2 11 2007

In the immortal words of Crazy Eddie, Best Buy is now offering Toshiba’s entry-level HD-A2 HD DVD at a price so low they’re practically giving it away.

Coming only a week after retailers almost universally dropped prices for the 1080i player below the $200 mark, Best Buy has lowered its price on the player to just $99. This latest price drop from Best Buy follows this morning’s news that Wal-Mart would offer the same player for just $98 as part of a special in-store one day sale this Friday.

There is a hitch, however. Although Best Buy’s website listed the HD-A2 at its new low price earlier today, it also stated that the player was sold out. Some consumers have had better luck finding it at the chain’s physical locations, but there too, many have reported that the player is out of stock.

At press time there was no word on whether new allotments of the player would be offered by Best Buy.

Read Full Article here