Netflix 1, Blockbuster 0


In my quest to choose one online DVD rental service, I’ve pitted NetFlix against Blockbuster’s Total Access in an all-out head-to-head.

Today, both services received a returned DVD and send me notification that my next disc was being shipped.

Netflix has let me know that my new disc will likely arrive tomorrow. Blockbuster has told me I’ll have to wait until next Tuesday.

Now, to give Blockbuster a little credit, I did ask for a possibly-obscure Pittsburgh Pirates World Series highlight DVD, so it’s possible that they only have this particular disc in an East Coast-based distribution center.

But that still doesn’t bode well for Blockbuster in my little competition. I’ve ordered similar discs from NetFlix, and most have come straight from their Tacoma-based distribution center. Except for when Sundays get in the way, that typically means a next-day turnaround.

Is Blockbuster counting on their “return it immediately” policy to build slack-time into their distribution center chain? Is this an effort to cut costs – fewer nationwide distribution centers with less inventory, and fewer monthly DVDs to customers to keep costs low and profits high? Or am I overreacting less than week into my Blockbuster free trial?

Time will tell…

Jan 13 Update: Blockbuster today committed another DVD to the mail – with an expected delivery date of next Thursday. Every with the MLK holiday, that feels like a long ways away.

Meanwhile, both of the DVDs Netflix committed yesterday arrived today.