Netflix Faces Challenges From Blockbuster, Walmart


Call it opportunism, playing to weakness, or just marketing to pissed-off people: Targeting your competitor's customers after an unpopular move, one like that made by Netflix earlier this month, is kind of a no-brainer.

NPR's Marketplace Tuesday called it "anger marketing."
And Blockbuster knows from anger. Through the late 1990s until 2005, the company dealt with millions of customers angry over excess late fees and what many considered ungentlemanly collections practices. Netflix was virtually founded as a response to consumer anger over Blockbuster's late fees -- at least, it was marketed as a low-cost alternative to punishing daily fees.

So how pleased was Blockbuster, then, when Netflix launched its volley into the dead of mid-summer with a pricing change that it called "lowering rates" and Twitter screamed was a price hike, a rip-off, a sacrilege to all we hold near and dear? I only wish I could have been a fly on the wall in the office of Blockbuster's marketing executives when they realized, after all the ignomy of becoming a dinosaur, then being taken to their knees by the DVDs-by-mail upstart, they finally had a chance to turnabout. It must have been grand.