Blockbuster Inc.

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Blockbuster was founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1985. It is one of the world's leading providers of videos, DVD's, and video games. According to the research group Burke, Inc., Blockbuster has nearly 100 percent recognition among active movie renters in the United States. Combined with market leadership, this makes Blockbuster one of the strongest entertainment brands in the US.

The main purpose of this paper is to show how Blockbuster is using information technology to gain a competitive advantage, and if it has in fact achieved a competitive advantage. The first section of the paper is an industry analysis detailing the ins and outs of the movie rental business. The next section, Company Analysis, we will describe in detail the lagging three-year performance of Blockbuster, and the missions and strategies it hopes to implement to start recording better profits. In the Problems and Opportunities section we will discuss the problem associated with Blockbuster, and other video stores, becoming obsolete because of, among other things, very strong competition from online rental services. The next section talks about Ethical Issues facing Blockbuster such as the controversial removal of "late fees." In the final section, we will talk about how Blockbuster has tried to use information technology to gain a competitive advantage in the renting business. Blockbuster is a part of the commodity industry of video disc and game rental. It is called a commodity industry because the products don't change. One movie is not going to differ from one store to the next. What matters in this industry is how the product is delivered. In the industry of video tape and DVD rental there are approximately 18,689 establishments open in the United States, with sales, shipments, receipts, and revenue totally about $9,363,597. There are 24,300 video rental specialty stores in the U.S. These stores included the major public chains such as Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, and a significant number of independent retailers. It is estimated that just under 50% of video specialty stores currently are single-store operations. Another 4,100 non-specialists, primarily supermarkets and drugstores, also rent video as a regular part of their business. ("Facts about Video Industry", 2005) The major competitors of Blockbuster are not video rental specialty stores. The main competition comes from online video renters such as Netflix. Netflix offers its users unlimited video rentals for $9.99 per month. Blockbuster has also broken into the online rental market. Blockbuster is now at around 500,000 subscribers and Netflix at 2.6 million. Netflix, which held a 97% market share of online rentals in 2003, saw that share decline to 85%, due to new competition from, according to the NPD Group, which tracks DVD rentals and sales at retail through its VideoWatch service. "The competition will no doubt become fiercer as the business model matures, as broadband becomes even more ubiquitous and as these companies expand their customer base beyond the current demographic set," said Russ Crupnick, president of the NPD Group's Music & Movies division. (Netherby, 2005) In this semi turbulent, declining industry, the order winning criteria is a large assortment of recent, and old videos, DVDs and video games ,with multiple quantities of disks being available to be viewed for as long as possible. Availability of new releases and convenience of getting these products are the most important criteria for consumers. Video rental store market shares are dropping in the industry. And their competitors include more than online rental services. "On demand" movies are provided by local digital cable companies. This form of renting videos is the quickest and most convenient. With the click of a button, viewers at home can watch the latest movie releases at good prices. The outlook for movie rental industry does not look...
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