Blockbuster is in the Magazine Business

Blockbuster is in the Magazine Business

When was the last time you heard anything positive about Blockbuster Video? Last we (the general public) heard, their business was floundering, as physical stores were shuttered and customers were moving to Netflix.

Well, Blockbuster isn’t giving up without a fight. The latest development is their iOS based Newstand magazine. Here’s Mike Schramm’s thoughts over at TUAW:

They must be pretty far down the idea list over at Blockbuster Video, because this one suddenly appeared out of left field. The video rental chain has released, of all things, an iPad-based digital magazine.

Blockbuster Magazine, available through Newsstand, is a free publication featuring trailers, interviews and other content about new and upcoming movies – specifically targeted at what Blockbuster has for rent. It does look like Blockbuster did a nice job on it, but does a digital magazine on your iPad really encourage you to go out and rent videos? We wonder.

It appears that Blockbuster is distancing themselves from their older business model in more ways than just the magazine. Their site describes themselves now with “Movies, New Releases, DVD Rental, Movie Trailers, Movie Reviews” in their site tag line. The notable parts are ‘trailers’ and ‘reviews’, which services like Redbox and Netflix are not known for. Come to think of it, Blockbuster isn’t in spite of their current efforts.

I looked over an issue of their magazine, and it’s okay for a new publication with a lot of room to grow. The content is awkward to navigate depending on where you find yourself, and the graphics are very busy and contrary to effortless readability (which is what I want on my iPad and iPhone). Still, the content is better than might be expected. In the currect issue, there are exclusive interviews with actors who have played James Bond, and a more notable exclusive with Andrew Garfield of The Amazing Spider-man. Not bad for a free magazine. It appears to pay for itself with a significant number of ad pages sprinkled throughout the content.

I guess at the end of the day it would be painful to read though, if for no other reason than the lag time it takes to load its pages that are image intensive. They need to rethink those images. Go easy with them, okay, Blockbuster?

And there are the aggressive ads… Boy, Blockbuster is trying everything to survive. It used to be you never saw specials for video rentals from Blockbuster. All the more power to them…

But I think that all of their efforts will be for not. As it currently stands, It sure would be nice if some competition for Netflix to avoid a monopolization. But if Blockbuster is going to survive, they will have to improve their price model and services. I would be inclined to use them if their services were more like Netflix’s, but with their kiosks as easy exchange points. I’m thinking that if I got a DVD in the mail, and wanted to take it to the local kiosk at Publix to exchange it for another movie right there on the spot, that would be a great service that no other video business could boast.