Friday, June 29, 2007

NetFlix Answers Blockbuster

On June 13th I wrote in response Blockbuster's (BBI) announcement they were cutting rental fees, "What happens if today Netflix (NFLX)comes out today and matches these new prices? It did not take very long as Netflix announced yesterday they lowering their prices to match those at Blockbuster.

Netflix is now charging $13.99 a month to rent up to two DVDs at a time, down from $14.99 previously. The service mails another DVD after subscribers return one of their other discs in postage-paid envelopes. This matches the plan Blockbuster announced three months ago. Blockbuster did say it plans to close 282 stores in the U.S. this year to improve operating margins and expand domestic share, according to a SEC filing.

So were are right where we were 3 weeks ago at Blockbuster except they have now voluntarily decreased their revenue. Revenue is not the main problem at Blockbuster, costs are. What would have made more sense was to leave the pricing where it was and accelerate the store closings. 282 stores, while a good start is just a drop in the bucket. They cannot compete with Netflix on price because their cost structure is just too high, reduce it, and they may have a chance. They are going about this backwards.

What is Blockbuster going to do now? Pay us to rent DVD's from them?

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