Remember Blockbuster Video?
There used to be one on pretty much every high street, and we all used to be members. VHS films used to be expensive to buy, so most people rented them – for a couple of quid the whole family could watch a film at home. Heck – video rental was even predicted to herald the death of the cinema! This was a multinational brand that was definitely on the up and up.
And then it all went wrong.
DVDs got popular in the mid to late 90s. DVDs are far cheaper to produce than VHS tapes, so the purchase price dropped – instead of paying more than £50 for a film that’d just been released, you can now buy them for around £15. And a few months later, you could pick them up for around £5. Blockbuster has tried to get into this game – they now hire DVDs rather than VHS, as well as selling both new and used films. Their hire prices have come down too.
But here’s the problem: Used DVDs are RUBBISH, and that’s the business Blockbuster is now in.
DVDs that other people have had their mucky paws on (i.e. rental, ex-rental, or second-hand) are covered in scratches and fingerprints and who knows what else. They don’t play properly. The skip, stick, have audio that suddenly vanishes, and frankly turn an eagerly anticipated night of home cinema into an evening of raised blood pressure that’s no fun at all.
So we’ve all started to drift away from Blockbuster. We buy our DVDs from the supermarket shelves, or increasingly from Amazon. Blockbuster aren’t defeated that easily though, and have responded with their latest offer:
FREE DVD hire for fourteen nights for new members! In fact, it’s for existing members too – we got a voucher in the post to invite us back into the store to try it out.
So we did. First night, we watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A recent release that hadn’t been through too many mucky paws. There were a couple of sticky moments where I thought it was going to start acting up, but it played OK in the end. Buoyed up, Daughter and I took the DVD back to get some family entertainment. We chose Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides. This has been out a while, and the disk was in a bit of a state.
Not surprisingly, it wouldn’t play – in fact our DVD player wouldn’t even recognise the disk. So I took it back and got a replacement. This was identified in the store as the best of the ones they had, and yet it was still scratched. They put it in their polishing machine to try and fix it, and I took it home . . . where it got half way through the first scene before freezing and skipping.
And that’s as far as we got in our fourteen day free trial – all it had done was remind me why we stopped going to Blockbuster in the first place. The cost and aggravation of dealing with Blockbuster’s crumby product means that even at free, they’re too damned expensive.
So here’s the question for you:
The price you can charge has everything to do with the quality of your product. What are you doing TODAY to improve that?