Retro Telstar 4th Edition: Netflix Battles Blockbuster

(pub. February 7th, 2005)

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Retro Telstar 4th Edition: Netflix Battles Blockbuster

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“Retro Telstar” is a series that sifts through piles of archived articles from previous issues of the Telstar newspaper and unveils the most witty, the most archaic, and the most relevant. The series features weekly installments in its quest to connect current students with the Scorpions of the past.


To think, there was a time when Blockbuster reigned supreme and Netflix was desperately grappling to overthrow the DVD rental company. In 2005 were the days of aisles lined with candy and rentable movies. Unfortunately, Blockbuster’s days on the throne were numbered and the company slipped into the pages of history as Netflix and video on demand services grew in popularity. Netflix is now the beloved subject of countless jokes, memes, and sayings among Satellite’s population. Netflix and chill, anyone?

The nation’s largest video rental company has met its match. Blockbuster responded to fierce competition put out by Netflix, an online DVD rental company, last December by dropping all late fees. As if that wasn’t good enough, the company  announced their new online rental plan.

“Blockbuster’s new online thing is pretty much a rip off of Netflix,” said sophomore Haley Lee, “and I’m probably not going to use it.”

Blockbuster’s drive to takeover the movie renting industry has led to their domination for the past 19 years. Despite its worldwide popularity, lesser known rental services such as Hollywood Video, Netflix, and Red Octane (an online video game rental program) are starting to appeal to people like sophomore K.C. Correllus.

“I think it’s an easier process just to pay the $18 every month with Netflix than to Blockbuster,” Correlus said.

Netflix is the number one online DVD rental company in the US. By paying a monthly fee of $17.99, customers enjoy up to three movies at a time for as long as they wish. Movies are then selected from an online library of more than 30,000 titles and shipped by mail. The wait can be as long as three business days, but according to there is an 85% chance the movie will arrive in one day.

“I haven’t used it that much,” said freshman Aaron Edwards, “but my friend who uses it has only used it three or four times and it has never shown up.”

With 48 million members in the US, Blockbuster’s $5.5 billion industry is not going to bust without a fight. In January, they unleashed a $14.99 a month online rental plan, but that goes back up to $17.49 in January of 2006. “I like going to Blockbuster,” said Lee, “because I can get the movie I want and just watch it.”

The end of late fees may be the beginning of a full-out battle of the fittest. Companies that rent out movies, like Netflix and Blockbuster, need more than deep pockets to keep a multi-billion dollar industry going. The company needs to be able to satisfy the consumer, and keep the movie selection up to date.

“As long as I can watch a movie and pay a good price, I don’t really care where I get them,” said sophomore Cherah Charter.