Thursday, October 26, 2006

Struggling Blockbuster Eliminates Rental Fees

"Why rent from anywhere else?" Waters added. "Seriously, let us know of any reasons you may still have for not renting from us, and we?ll remedy them immediately. Immediately."

While two pieces of identification, a valid credit card, and proof of residence were previously required to open an account at the store, customers will now only need to walk through the door of any franchise location, whether by accident or not, and make brief eye contact with an employee to qualify for membership.
Under the Gold Rewards Membership, customers can rent up to 50 movies at once as well as be driven home by Blockbuster chauffeurs, who will also install a brand-new 32-inch flat-screen TV upon the first rental.
They also plan to unveil new promotions, including a company pledge to go out and purchase, on the spot, any movie customers cannot find on their shelves, as well as a new policy allowing customers to keep rented material for seven years, and up to 12 if it is not a new release.
"And if that's not enough?which many of us fear may be the case?as a special introductory offer, cancel your membership with Netflix anytime in the next three months and we?ll do literally anything you ask of us," Antiano added. "We mean it."

Barron's financial reporter Steven Hirsch said that though the new plan is risky, even getting curious potential renters in the door could double the company's 2005 profits "just from the loose change that may drop out of customers' pockets."

Miami resident Scott Patterson, however, was only one of many consumers who said they were unimpressed with Blockbuster?s new offers, including "Two-Dollar Tuesdays," in which customers are handed $2 cash for every new release they rent.

"I don't know," Patterson said. "Something about that place just rubs me the wrong way."

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