Blockbuster continues its downward spiral as it has been suspended from trading and forced to delist from the NYSE effective next Wednesday. Currently trading at $0.18 per share, Blockbuster failed to win majority stockholder approval last week for a reverse stock split that would have brought its stock above the $1 threshold and back in compliance with the NYSE. In a move that delays any immediate bankruptcy proceedings, Blockbuster was given a one-month reprieve on debt payments that the movie rental giant failed to pay on July 1st. The creditors, which hold nearly $440 million of Blockbuster’s whopping $920 million of debt, agreed to postpone any “remedies” until August 13th. In the upcoming weeks, Blockbuster is hoping to negotiate with partners to get a quick infusion of cash by possibly converting some bondholders to equity investors. This quick fix may be a little too little, a little too late and may only delay the inevitable bankruptcy as Blockbuster shows no signs of becoming profitable in the foreseeable future. More →
After a disappointing Q4 2009 performance, Blockbuster’s woes continue with the US video giant looking to pawn off its European operations as a means of generating some much needed cash. According to a report from the Sunday Times, Blockbuster has hired Winchester Capital to sell off its European division which includes 650 stores in the UK and an unknown number of stores in Denmark, Italy, and Ireland. Combined, these assets could net Blockbuster a respectable £50m ($76M USD) at a time when the movie rental king is hemorrhaging cash and straining under the weight of increasing debt which now totals $964 million. This shot in the arm may not be the Hail Mary that saves Blockbuster from its downward spiral, but it is at least a step in the right direction for the ailing company. More →
Last night was easily the best night of the year for the celebrity-crazed paparazzi. It also turned out to be a pretty darn good night for the smartphone paparazzi as well for two upcoming T-Mobile handsets were given the star treatment on their very own red carpet. First up was the HTC HD2, the infinitely lovable Windows Phone with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and gargantuan 4.3″ WVGA display, which looked as stylish as ever in Sense UI by HTC. Never one to miss an opportunity to show support for those in need, the HD2 took a moment to show off its Blockbuster app which will allow proud owners to download movies on demand. Immediately following the HD2 was the Nokia Nuron. Although the general consensus was that it was dressed more for the Kids Choice Awards than the Academy Awards, the Nuron made a bit of a stir when it shrieked at the top of its lungs how it had seen the light, converted to Buddhism and was now on a mission to convince everyone that less is more and that all other smartphones cannot possibly be as happy as it is living with S60, an OS that is on its way out. When will us ordinary folk get a chance to meet these stars? The Nuron is still a mystery, but we’re still very confident on a March 24th debut for the HD2.
Blockbuster continues its downward spiral with the once powerful movie rental company now posting yet another quarterly loss. Bad news across the board with sales plunging 16%, revenue falling 18%, and an income loss of $425 million which exceeds the $360 million loss posted in Q4 2008. Blockbuster is in tough shape; its stock is hovering around $0.31, a point that places its future on the NYSE at risk, and analysts en masse are questioning if it has the ability to repay its debts which total $964 million. In an attempt to reverse this trend, Blockbuster is closing stores, shuttering 253 of them last month with another 150 planned for April, and extending its reach by offering a video by mail service, an on-demand video streaming service, and is introducing kiosks which offer movie rentals without the overhead costs associated with a brick and mortar store. Blockbuster is jumping feet first into the kiosk market, rolling out 2,000 kiosks in 2009 with another 7,000 planned for 2010. This may be a little too little, a little too late as kiosk rental champion Redbox continues to eat away Blockbusters market share and Netflix, Blockbuster’s primary rival, is laughing all the way to the bank with $31 million in quarterly income and 12.3 million subscribers in tow. More →
It’s not a surprise that WIND Mobile and Blockbuster are joining forces to serve their own unique interests, but we’re told the partnership will be official very, very soon. All told, there will be 16 locations with 13 serving the Greater Toronto Area and 3 serving Calgary. No mention was made of any expansions outside of those two metropolitan areas after the network is up in running in other cities, but one can be forgiven for assuming that will be the case. Let’s just hope each 150 square foot “store within a store” is a lot prettier than those full-fledged WIND stores. For WIND, the partnership means greater visibility and reduced costs. For Blockbuster, well, it just means that maybe people will actually go into their stores.
UPDATE: A long-time friend of the site just sent us in a pic of one of the kiosks. So far the consensus at BGR HQ is no, the kiosks are not prettier than the retail outlets. Check it out the pic after the break.
We haven’t really covered Blockbuster’s DVD-by-mail service since this past March when a string of policy changes finally culminated in our exclusive scoop covering the elimination of Total Access’ one competitive edge over Netflix — the ability of subscribers to enjoy their free in-store rentals while they awaited new DVDs to be delivered by mail. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones appalled by the move. The following is pulled from the company’s latest 10-Q filing:
a $40.7 million decrease in by-mail revenues driven by a 34% average decline in by-mail subscribers”
So, in a single quarter, Blockbuster reveals that it shed 34 percent of its by-mail subscribers and the hejira resulted in a $40.7 million decline in by-mail revenue. Ouch. The prior quarter was no different, and Blockbuster has seen a $76.3 million total decline in by-mail revenue over the half. Time to switch things up, fellas.
[Via Zatz Not Funny!]
We’ve long since given up on Blockbuster and the debacle that is Total Access. As the company continues to struggle with the evolving home entertainment industry, Blockbuster repeatedly reminds us all that it just doesn’t get it. That won’t stop it from trying though. According to the Wall Street Journal, Blockbuster will finally begin piloting the addition of video games to its through-the-mail movie rental service sometime in June — the goal will still be to launch the service nationally in 2H of this year. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumblings of video games being added to the pot but apparently it took a bit longer than expected to get the pilot rolling. Still no word on how video game packages will be priced or whether the half-price in-store game rentals will indeed be part of the offer, but to be honest we don’t really care. The Blockbuster ship has already sailed as far as we’re concerned.
Ahhh Blockbuster. As rumors of a possible bankruptcy filing for the movie rental giant swarm throughout the blogosphere, we’ve learned of a new policy change for Blockbuster’s Total Access program that may help the company finally concede victory to Netflix and the barrage of streaming video options currently available. For those who are unaware of the service, Total Access is Blockbuster’s movies-by-mail service that competes directly with Netflix. Queue desired rentals online, receive between one and three movies at a time through the mail and then each time you send a movie back, you’ll receive the next one on your queue to replace it.
Forgetting the fact that Netflix also allows you to stream thousands of not-so-current movies online for free, the one advantage Total Access had over Netflix was the ability for customers to hand mailed movies over to any Blockbuster location in exchange for free in-store movie rentals. The Blockbuster location would then mail your movies back and you could enjoy your in-store rentals as you wait for new flicks to arrive by mail. Long story short, Total Access subscribers have movies on hand at all times, unlike Netflix subscribers who must wait between two and five days for their new flicks to arrive. It’s actually a pretty sweet deal — or “was” as the case may be. The following excerpt from Blockbuster’s Total Access terms and conditions reveals the company is quietly doing away with its leg-up, basically leaving Netflix ahead of the game in every conceivable way:
As much fun as it is to bash the top of your DVD player each of the 135 times your Total Access movie skips during playback, Blockbuster has apparently decided to get serious about movie downloads – sort of. Back in November, Blockbuster finally announced its first set top box offering, allowing users to purchase OnDemand movies on a pay-per-view basis. Yay. Blockbuster’s set top offering, shall we say, hasn’t quite been greeted with open arms, nor has the PC-based download service available on blockbuster.com. That won’t stop the stumbling giant from moving forward and exploring new ways to stay relevant of course, and its latest move is just that. CinemaNow, a movie download service that continues to expand, will now be Blockbuster-branded. While this will make movies bearing the Blockbuster logo available on a new range of devices, it does little to advance Blockbuster in the digital realm – instead, the move simply slaps a more recognizable brand on the CinemaNow service. Offerings are still pay-per-view with titles available to rent or buy, and pricing will remain the same. Blockbuster Chairman Jim Keyes claims that the company is currently examining subscription options but stated nothing finite. Netflix, on the other hand, still offers unlimited movie downloads to all subscribers with a monthly DVD-via-mail plan of $8.99 or higher.
Listen up, couch potatoes! It looks like NetFlix and Vudu might not be the only streaming services that will offer up a high definition content. Opening up Amazon Video On Demand on your TiVo now shows a tab called “Available in High Definition,” but apparently clicking on it does nothing. A teaser, maybe? Or a slip up? We get the feeling that we’ll all find out very soon, but it seems as though it’s a done deal. Blockbuster is going to have to do something about the “DVD quality” streams they’ll be doing via set-top boxes in order to keep up with the game. So, if you subscribe to Amazon’s video service and would like to do us a favor, keep clicking it every five minutes and tell as soon as it works, thanks. Otherwise, we’ll keep you all updated as soon as we find out ourselves.
A report in the Dallas Morning news suggests that Blockbuster may be planning to develop a mobile video service. The new streaming media service would be built upon Microsoft’s Live Mesh software platform that allows users to share and synchronize data between multiple devices via an Internet connection. Live Mesh-based services, like Calendar sharing, are already available on Windows PCs with expansion to Mac and Windows Mobile devices expected in the near future. The Blockbuster plan is quite a lofty one and Keith Morrow, Blockbuster’s chief information officer, had this to say about their proposed new service,
“Eventually, we’ll give customers instant access to any movie on any device with an Internet connection and a screen.” “More immediately, we could use this technology to reach into airports. Travelers could quickly download movies from Blockbuster kiosks to their portable media players.”
Morrow also describes a scenario where a user can watch a movie on a mobile phone, pause the media stream, and return to the movie from a home PC picking up right where they left off. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Blockbuster is reportedly the first big company to develop such a service using the Live Mesh platform so this is uncharted territory. No word on when this service will launch but we are hoping it is sooner rather than later.
After making an announcement ages ago, Blockbuster has finally launched its movie rental service via set-top boxes. Since word got out about the box and service, the only other option was to have DVDs delivered to your home, Netflix style, or to download movies and TV shows online. Now, with Blockbuster’s set-top box, you can snag movies with its OnDemand service whenever you want. The box is free if you pre-pay for 25 movies at the cost of $99, and while that sounds expensive, you wouldn’t be getting the box and service if you weren’t going to be watching a ton of movies, anyway – right? The set-top box works wirelessly and manages to deliver DVD quality to your screen, so if HD is an absolute must you’re pretty much out of luck with this one for now. If you’re a movie fiend and you have to have the latest hits from Hollywood, you’re still better off with the Blockbuster service as Netflix seems to be having a shortage of those movies lately. Anyone going to pick one of these up for the holidays?
For those of you that have been waiting to pick up a spanking new Playstation 3, this Sunday might be your day of reckoning. Thanks to a leaked Blockbuster pricing sheet, we’ve discovered that the recently discontinued Playstation 3 40GB version has dropped by $40, bringing the total to $359.99. It’s not a massive drop, but it might be enough to push anyone that was teetering on the verge of purchase over the edge. Keep in mind that this is a discontinued model, so supplies are likely to be limited. As such, you might want to check with your local store to make sure they still have ‘em in stock. Oh, and if the PS3 40GB bundle with an included HDMI cable, copy of Spiderman: The Movie, and Transformers: The Game, sounds like bit more appealing, you’ll be happy to learn that this too will be the recipient of a $40 drop. Excited yet?