By : Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 16 Dec 2009
Blockbuster Inc. Dec. 16 said it would start shipping hard-to-find and out-of-stock movie rentals to customers’ homes within 72 hours as part of a new service dubbed Blockbuster Direct Access.
The Dallas-based No. 1 DVD rental service, which has been challenged this year stocking adequate copies of new releases due to liquidity issues, said the service gives store customers access to the more than 95,000 titles carried in Blockbuster's distribution centers.
Customers do not have to be a Blockbuster Online subscriber to use the service. They can either mail it back in the provided postage-paid envelope or return it to a participating store. Customers also have the added benefit of exchanging the movie at their local participating Blockbuster store for a $1.99 discounted movie rental or $4.99 discounted game rental.
All Direct Access rentals — DVD and Blu-ray — are $3.99 with no extra shipping charges and have a seven-day rental term, which begins on the day following the estimated arrival date printed on the store receipt. Return dates are also noted on customers’ store receipts. E-mail order confirmations, shipment notifications and overdue rental reminders are also sent to customers.
Blockbuster, which next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will showcase a seamless networked distribution platform linking in-store, by-mail, online and kiosk channels, said customers can now verify online at Blockbuster.com a local store’s stock level for a particular movie title or video game.
To do so, customers simply look up the title of the movie, and click on the "check for in-store rental" link under the “rent DVD in-store” option to get up-to-the minute availability.
“The idea is to provide all of our customers easy access to all the movies and television shows they crave,” said Keith Morrow, SVP and chief information officer at Blockbuster. “With Direct Access, we’re no longer confined to the square footage of our stores, which typically carry between 3,000 to 5,000 titles. So now our customers can leave the store satisfied, knowing that if they can’t find what they want in store, they can find it in their mailbox.”
Separately, select Blockbuster stores in Toronto have begun selling Wind Mobile cellular phone service from Egyptian-based Globalive Telecom following the overturning of Canadian regulatory measures limiting foreign-owned businesses.