Blockbuster gives widescreen the finger?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob_Chase, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. Bob_Chase

    Bob_Chase Stunt Coordinator

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    For the last 3 weeks I've gone to a local B-buster to rent new releases on DVD. I was completely shocked to find they've only stocked full-frame versions. I had asked the salesperson what the story was, and she informed me that they got tired of everyone complaining about 'the black bars.'

    After expressing my displeasure with their latest practices, she had the audacity to ask me if I'd like to renew my Rewards membership.

    No thanks.

    Has anyone else on this forum had the same experience?

    I'm very concerned that this is a sign of things to come.[​IMG]
     
  2. Roger Li

    Roger Li Extra

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    Yes. I've had exactly the same experience. . . well, not exactly because in my expreience the Bolckbuster employees don't know the answer to most questions, and just make up answers. On my last few visits I have noticed that ALL new release dvds that have a separate p&s and WS version, are only rented in p&s. Blockbuster still SELLS the WS version. When I asked the employees (at two different stores) why this was, I got a number of different explanations. One said that "spme people like the fullscreen and some like the widescreen." OK. . . I like the widescreen (as do most people who know anything about movies) but they can't accomodate. At another store I was told that Blockbuster has no control over what they rent, they have to rent whatever the studios send them, and they sent them p&s. This is simply nieve. Blockbuster is the largest (by far) video rental chain in the US. Blockbuster has the power to dictate to the studios, not the other way around. I think the real reason is that the studios are trying to dump the p&s versions, and are giving Blockbuster a lower price.

    I am really upset at the situation. I refuse to watch a p&s movie on my 16:9 HDTV. What do we do? Blockbuster has an almost complete monopoly on video rental in my area. There is a Hollywood video, but it is more than twice as far away. I cannot afford to buy every dvd movie I want to see, that's why I rent, and I don;t rent often enough to justfy Netflix. Any suggestions???[​IMG]
     
  3. Sherry H.

    Sherry H. Extra

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    Roger,

    If Blockbuster is your only local alternative, you might try renting online. You said that you didn't rent often enough to use Netflix, however there are other online rental stores that allow you to rent on-demand. One that comes to mind is DVD Overnight, although I've never used them so I can't address their service. I know that Rentmydvd also allows this type of rental, however I can't really recommend them unless their service has improved of late. I cancelled my monthy rental membership with them some months back because of increasingly long and frustrating turnaround times and lack of availability of titles. That may not, however, be as big of a problem with on-demand rentals.
     
  4. Roger Li

    Roger Li Extra

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    Sherry, thanks, I will check out DVD Overnight. I've also learned that NetFlix has a "lite" plan, which allows you to rent two at a time for a total of 4 per month. That may also be an alternative.
     
  5. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Always remember your local library as well. Luckily, most dvd's at my local library are widescreen and the price is definitely right. [​IMG]
     
  6. StuartEWatson

    StuartEWatson Auditioning

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    Hello All,

    Thought I'd share a reply I received from "Blockbuster Corp" as to my own question "WHY" they have quite stocking wide-screen versions on many new DVD releases. After reading the forums here I decided to send an e-mail to their corp. office. Here's what they had to say...

    Thank you for your e-mail. Customer feedback is very important to us
    and we are
    glad you took the time to write.

    The movie studios determine whether or not to release their DVDs in
    standard
    (full-screen) or wide-screen versions. It is our preference, and the
    preference
    of our customers that because of the versatility and storage capacity
    of DVD
    technology, DVDs include both versions on one disc. In the past, when
    the
    studios have chosen to release separate standard and wide-screen
    version DVDs,
    it has caused confusion amongst our customers. To minimize our
    customer
    dissatisfaction, we have chosen to carry only one version of a title on
    DVD, and
    our research has shown that more customers prefer the standard than the
    wide-screen version. We take your comments and suggestions as a welcome
    show of
    interest and loyalty. We are forwarding your comments to the
    appropriate
    department for their review.

    At Blockbuster, we realize that nothing is more important than our
    members are
    and we value your good will and continued support. Thank you for your
    interest
    in Blockbuster. If you need further assistance, please contact your
    local
    Blockbuster store.

    Sincerely,
    Blockbuster Consumer Services

    So there is is...for what it's worth. I'm hearing that because too many people don't know how to READ the bottom or back of a DVD case and mistakenly grab the wrong version "for them" , they then complain to Blockbuster for displaying the movies in a confusing way. Thus the Blockbuster solution is, we'll just take away your options if it's that confusing to Joe Blow customer!
    I don't know what else to say...perhaps if MORE people e-mailed their displeasure at this policy it could be changed. It seems that their current policy is a direct result of customer feedback. If it's important to us then we need to do the same! IMHO!

    Good luck to all!

    Stuart

    btw - here is the e-mail address if you'd like to express your thoughts and feelings about this issue and policy.

    [email protected]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Never underestimate the complete stupidity of the buying public. J6Pers will be the death of us all.
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    That's just their form letter they send to everyone who bitches about it
     
  9. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
    Supporter

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    Well, by catering to the lowest common denominator (those who can't read), Blockbuster simply becomes the lowest common denominator.
     
  10. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    My Blockbuster is only carrying full-scream and pan & scam versions of Bloodwork, Unfaithful, and The Bourne Identity, so I asked to speak to the manager so that I could lodge a formal complaint.

    Ramone, the manager, turned out to be an OAR enthusiast himself, but explained that people complain if the film has "black bars," and others complain if the film isn't OAR. No one in their store orders movies, but this is how the corporate office decided to go...and shipped the aforementioned travesties.

    I mentioned that even though people might complain if a film has "black bars," it will not stop them from renting it. But on the other hand, if people specifically ask for the OAR versions and they are not available, they will most likely not rent anything...and will probably just go somewhere else. So, given the choice between pan & scam or OAR...Blockbuster made the wrong business decision. Ramone agreed, and took down my formal complaint.

    Then, just to make sure, I contacted Blockbuster Corporation through their website, and also got the automated response from them. I e-mailed them right back to comment on their response. This is what I wrote...


    >In the past, when the studios have chosen to release separate
    >standard and wide-screen version DVDs, it has caused confusion
    >amongst our customers. To minimize our customer dissatisfaction,
    >we have chosen to carry only one version of a title on DVD, and
    >our research has shown that more customers prefer the standard
    >than the wide-screen version.
    >


    Your research is faulty. To "minimize customer dissatisfaction" you would need to carry both versions of DVD titles.

    DVD started off as quickly as it did because of film-buffs. These people know what they are missing in a pan and scanned version of a movie.

    A lot of us who were early adopters of DVD are now purchasing the new 16x9 widescreen televisions. Where are we to go to rent our movies? They are fully available in the correct, un-cropped, format in which they were filmed...but you have chosen to ignore our needs because you are unwilling to educate your less knowlegeable customers in the fact that they are getting "less" by renting "Standard" versions.

    Destroy their "confusion" by letting them know what widescreen truly is...


    >We take your comments and suggestions as a welcome show of interest
    >and loyalty.
    >


    Well, don't. If you continue to try to make your customers view chopped up versions of movies when correct, anamorphically-enhanced, widescreen versions are available, then I will be going elsewhere for my movie rentals.


    >We are forwarding your comments to the appropriate department for
    >their review.
    >


    I appreciate that. Hopefully a "real" person will read my letters and realize that your company is spitting in the face of true movie lovers everywhere.


    >At Blockbuster, we realize that nothing is more important than our
    >members are and we value your good will and continued support.
    >


    Then put your money where your mouth is and give your valued customers (who know better) what you are denying them.



    Of course I didn't hear anything back on my response, so I wrote actual letters (that were much nicer) to their corporate office, as well as Viacom's CEO. I haven't received any comments back...

    And since then, I did what I had foreshadowed...I went to my local Hollywood Video. It's not walking distance like Blockbuster, but not that far...just far enough that I had not rented from them before... Upon entering, I was happy to find out that their rentals are about a $1.00 cheaper than Blockbuster, and that even their NEW rentals are for five days! Also, if you rent a new movie and bring it back in 24 hours, they credit your account for $1.00! That makes new DVDs around $2.00 less than Lackluster!

    This impressed me greatly...but not so much as the fact that (at least my local) Hollywood Video DOES NOT carry full-screen copies of DVDs for rental (unless there is no OAR release)! I praised the clerk and told them that they have all my movie rental business from now on.

    The clerk replied..."Uh, thanks."

    I have since written actual letters as well as e-mails to Hollywood Video letting them know how much I appreciate OAR.
     
  11. Roger Li

    Roger Li Extra

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    Robert, please post any response you get from Blockbuster to your letters. I too have now switched to Hollywood Video, though mine is about a mile and half farther away than Blockbuster. As some of the previous posts point out, it is much easier to educate the "full-screen" customer, and they will rent a OAR movie while I will never rent a P&S. Part of the blame also has to go to OAR customers who I have heard complain, but still ending up renting the P&S DVD. If we all stop renting P&S, maybe Blockbuster will reconsider.

    On another note, where have all the independent video stores gone? There are none left within 10 miles of where I live in suburban Cleveland. I know its hard to compete with the megastores, but the cost of DVDs is so much less than the cost of video tapes when they had "rental" versions going for $80+. Can't someone open a national DVD ONLY rental store?
     
  12. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    Roger,

    If I hear anything back from Blockbuster, I will definitely post their response.

    The biggest problem here is that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Joe Sixpack complains to Blockbuster's staff if the DVD has "black bars"...and this gets taken under advisement. We OAR lovers don't say anything when things are going our way, so the store's only comments from members is a dislike for widescreen movies.

    If we offered praise to these stores when they are doing things right, then they would know that a lot of their customers like their widescreen content.

    To make sure that the same horrible pan & scam thing doesn't happen at Hollywood Video, I've made it a point to let them know how much I appreciate that they carry OAR. I also called their customer service phone number (on their website) to thank them...and wrote a snail-mail letter to their corporate office.

    Incidentally, I did hear back from Hollywood Video. I received from them an actual non-electronic response thanking me for my kind words...
     
  13. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I believe there is an old saying that "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar". [​IMG]
     

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