Excerpt from a timely Randall Stross reality check
It took Blockbuster almost three years after introducing its online store to get around to integrating its bricks with its clicks, with its “Total Access” program started in 2006. The plan initially delighted Blockbuster’s most profitable customers — its high-volume renters, who now could rent and return to the store as many movies as they wanted for one low, flat rate. But it would be a financial disaster for the company. Subscription prices for unlimited-exchange plans had to be raised sharply, alienating many of those same high-volume users.
Today, with broadband widely available, Netflix offers a streaming option to its members for many titles and now has that second distribution channel it was lacking. Or hundredth channel, depending on how you count the various devices, like the iPad, that can stream Netflix movies.