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Blockbuster TV, Radio Ads Tout ‘Windows’

1 Sep, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel


It may be knocking on bankruptcy’s door, but that hasn’t stopped Blockbuster Inc. from waxing creative in a series of humorous regional TV and radio ads touting its 25th anniversary and 28-day advantage on new-release movies from three major studios.

Dallas-based Blockbuster earlier this year inked revised distribution deals with Warner Home Video, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment that grant it access to the studios’ new releases 28 days before Redbox and Netflix — both leaders in kiosk vending and by-mail DVD rentals, respectively.

In a recently concluded series of TV spots in Charlotte, N.C., titled “28 Days: Less Waiting, More Watching,” a couple is told their table in a restaurant will be available in 28 days; in another, a flight is delayed 28 days.

In Columbus, Ohio, a TV spot titled “25 Years,” offers discounted DVD rentals in conjunction with Blockbuster’s 25th anniversary this year. A radio ad in Reno, Nev., called “Recorder,” offered a three-month unlimited video game rental pass for $49 with no late fees.

With media reports suggesting Blockbuster will file for Chapter 11 financial reorganization within the next two weeks, if not sooner, the rental chain’s ability to advertise its 28-day advantage on a wider national scale has been limited to banner ads on the Internet and targeted e-mails.

Blockbuster reportedly spent about $8 million on media buys in the first half of the year — an amount it would be hard pressed to increase given the current skepticism among its creditors, according to Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securites in Los Angeles.

“If you look at the new releases in a Redbox ad, you wouldn’t know Killers (Sept. 7 from Lionsgate), Solitary Man (Sept. 14 from Anchor Bay) and Prince of Persia (Sept. 7 from Disney) were available at Blockbuster unless you actually went there,” Pachter told AdAge. “Their creditors will say, ‘What will that cost us for a nationwide rollout?’ And unless they can demonstrate a meaningful uptick in revenue, I don’t think that will happen.”

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