Netflix vs. Blockbuster

Monday, October 18, 2004
This is my comparison of Netflix and Blockbuster. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone. Below is the long version of the story but for those who don't want to read the whole thing let me paraphrase.

I live in LA. Pasadena to be exact. I wanted to do a comparison between Blockbuster and Netflix's DVD by mail service. In the end Netflix was MUCH better than Blockbuster. Not only were the movies I placed in my queue more readily available (several Blockbuster titles had short or long waits) but the delivery time was much better. Blockbuster would tell me they mailed the DVD but often it would take 3 or 4 days for the DVD to show up. In one case it took 8 days. That sucks because not only do you not have the movie but you can't get another one back. So if you want my opinion go with Netflix. Below are the details.

Day 1 - Saturday. I signed up for Blockbuster's net service today. I went with them initially because they are cheaper by $2 a month and they give you two in-store rentals a month. That is a pretty good deal I think. I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that many New Releases, the titles I'm most interested in, had a short wait for them. This makes me think I will need to look at Netflix.

Day 3. My movies were mailed today from Blockbuster. One of the movies is going to take a little longer than the other two, strange.

Day 4. I got two of the movies in the mail today. I watched both today and sent one back early enough to get the late delivery at the post office. Blockbuster should get it by tomorrow.

Day 5. I decided to sign up with Netflix today so I can really compare the two. The early reviews are favorable to Netflix. All the movies I put on my queue are available now as opposed to many short waits for Blockbuster.

However, Netflix told me the movies would ship today, I signed up at 9:00 a.m., but then changed the message to that they would ship tomorrow, Thursday. First rule of marketing, don't tell a customer one date and then change it to a later date. I would have been fine if they just told me it wouldn't go until Thursday, I would totally understand. But they set my expectations for shipment today so I was excited to get them by Thursday and consequently disappointed that I would not get my movies.

Blockbuster lost some points too though. Its 4:15 in the afternoon and the site is "Down for scheduled maintenance" Who the hell schedules maintenance for 4:00 in the afternoon. As someone who is a supposed expert in availability I have to say this GREATLY disappoints me.

Day 6

Blockbuster is doing really badly. Right now I have NO DVDs from them in my possession. They shipped one DVD three days ago but still not here. They supposedly shipped another yesterday but still not here. I still haven't gotten a Netflix DVD yet but if their delivery is at all better Netflix is going to win hands down.

Day 7

I got all 3 of my Netflix DVDs today. Will have something to watch this weekend. Still missing a Blockbuster DVD which I ordered last 7 Days ago. Blockbuster is screwed unless Netflix really drops the ball somehow

Day 8

Mailed back one of the Netflix DVDs today. We will see how good their return service is. I Just got the DVD I ordered 8 Days ago. 8 days! That is pretty bad. Not only do I have to wait for the movie but it prevents me being able to get another movie.

Day 10

Today is Columbus Day. I forgot about that. No mail. Oh well. Somehow Netflix still got the movie I sent on Saturday. That's a pretty good sign. They sent me another movie already.

Day 11

Got two more Blockbuster movies and one more Netflix movie. One of the Blockbuster movies i already got from Netflix, i screwed up my queue. That's OK. It should give me one more time for Blockbuster to send me a movie.

Day 12

Have 2 Blockbuster movies and 2 Netflix movies on the way. Lets see what happens.

Day 13

Didn't get anything from either. Strange.

Day 14

It's over. I got one of the Blockbuster movies and 2 of the Netflix.

Day 15.

Canceled Blockbuster. Still waiting for that other DVD.


Sergio said...

Netflix rules! (especially when you can't get reception on your TV). I signed up a few weeks ago and I'm defintely happy with the service. I even got "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the mail the day after the DVD it came out.

Jenny said...

a.) How can you possibly have that much time to watch that many movies?!

b.) Did you really keep a diary of entries? Or was the diary compiled after the fact?

T said...

I actually got Farenheit 9/11 the day before it came out, I got it from Blockbuster not Netflix.

As for Jenny's questions

I only had them on as background so I didn't watch any of the movies really in depth. Its like how I always have the TV on.

As for the timing, i kept a log as I went. I just saved it as a draft each time. Some days I wrote the previous 2 days but for the most part I kept up.

T said...

I also made a conserted effort to watch all the movies as quickly as I could becasue I wanted to get an idea of how fast the turnaround time actually is.

Kat said...

i signed up for 2 weeks of blockbuster for free so i can get a free ipod. i hope i really get a free ipod.

richard said...

Blockbuster is far superior to Netflix, simply because of the additional in store rentals allowed. Blockbuster and Netflix cost the same for 3 DVD rentals at a time, but Blockbuster offers the aditional plus of one in store rental a week (which is awesome if you are in between DVD mailings and want to wathc a movie). Netflix has not stores. I have nver waited more than two days for any Blockbuster rental to show-up, once they indicated it was mailed, and this is normally the same day one of my returns was received (usually returns show-up at Blockbuster the very next day after I mailed them. maybe I'm near a Blockbuster distribution center; I don't know). Anyway, I have been very happy with Blockbuster's service, and think they are superior to Netflix. NOTE: I had tried Netflix originally, and thought the wait time for some movies was too long.