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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Look Who's the 'Hottest New Star' in Blockbuster's Latest Newsletter -- DirecTV

7 Jun, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I'm a proud subscriber to Blockbuster's electronic newsletter, which according to the "standing head" greeting is designed to let me and my fellow subscribers "find out about the best offers in your local Blockbuster store and online at blockbuster.com."

With the wealth of hot new video releases coming out, I was looking forward to seeing which movies Big Blue would be promoting in its mailer, particularly since this one's seven pages long (I always print these things out before I read them).

Lo and behold, what's No. 1?

No video, folks. The top spot in Blockbuster's latest newsletter is a pitch for DirecTV -- specifically, something called the "Blockbuster Ticket."

"It's the hottest new star to hit your television," the pitch begins, and the proceeds to promise me a multi-room DirecTV system package "for only $24.99, including one receiver, one universal remote, an 18-inch multi-room dish," and assorted other extras, including free installation, free service and free rentals for one year.

"With Blockbuster Ticket... you'll get up to 55 movie choices on pay-per-view each day! Get new titles available on pay-per-view every week!"

Clearly, Blockbuster must have stumbled onto something. Those better "returns per square foot" chain executives were predicting when they first signed the deal with DirecTV? Those visions of better returns must have come true -- why else would Blockbuster be promoting its satellite dishes and services before mentioning even a single new video release?

I'm a true believer in the gospel of diversification, and applaud the general move by retailers to transform themselves into "e-plexes" (I know, I know, that's Bruce's word -- but I like it so I'm appropriating it).

If Blockbuster wants to push satellite dishes to a mailing list composed primarily of video renters and buyers, that's Big Blue's perogative.

But Blockbuster must also realize that with every one-sided pitch such as this -- a new video release, Castaway, isn't even mentioned until midway into page 2, far longer than the average e-mail reader's attention span -- there's going to be a turnoff factor.

Whoever said diversification doesn't have its risks?

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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