Blockbuster Delivers Netflix a K.O. Punch with "Total Access"

blockbuster total access envelope[OPINION] I just walked down to my local Blockbuster to try out Total Access since I’m a Blockbuster Online subscriber and everything worked as advertised. Of course, when I got there all the new signage was up but the pimple faced guy behind the counter had little clue on how to take the exchange – by exchange I’m mean, taking my sealed movie disc envelope and swapping it for an off-the-shelf title. Anyways, after passing that minor hurdle, I realized the true affect of Total Access. Gone are the days of having to wait for snail mail to deliver your movies to a distribution center and then having to wait 1-2 business days for your next movie order to be arrive.

So where does this leave Netflix? Exactly in the same place they’re at now – stagnate and un-advancing. There have been reports that Netflix is working on deals with TiVo for video-on-demand, but does that really matter? You’d be guessing wrong if you think Blockbuster isn’t developing a similar technology with a high-profile electronics partner. So why the K.O. statement? At this point there’s no compelling reason to stick with Netflix. You’re paying about the same price monthly for less. Moreover, if Blockbuster really wanted to put the final nail in Netflix’s coffin, all they would have to do is combine unlimited in-store rentals with their Blockbuster Online service.

Think about it. At this point it wouldn’t be that difficult to create an all encompassing account that would allow users to check-out off-the-shelf movies as many times a month as they wanted and also have the convenience of ordering movies online if they were too lazy/busy to go the store. Bundle that for under $20 and you can start the countdown.

Disclaimer: I do not own shares in either Blockbuster (BBI) or Netflix (NFLX)

Filed in: Content Providers

  • Dave Zatz

    Doesn’t matter how good the deal is… I have no intention of standing in line, finding movies out of stock, fighting for parking, dealing with surly teenagers. I’ll wait the day or two for Netflix. If I can’t wait, I’ll download a flick via Movielink, CinemaNow, or iTunes and hook my laptop to the TV – video quality is good on an SD TV (which we have in the bedroom).

  • irishbeaver

    Look like they did. I tried this yesterday with success. What a great value. The Total Access code the store gave me was 41050B. :)

  • alister

    I will stick with Netflix for now also. If Blockbuster were to include game rentals in this also then I may consider the switch.

  • Genius74

    Good point alister. I’m interested in switching though.. Sems like I’ve been blacklisted by Netflix or something, because it’s not a day or two anymore it’s a week (unless I ‘hold’ movies for a week then return them, then I see the 1-2 day turn around.)

    Question is Alex, am I tied to just one Blockbuster to return them or can I drop ‘n swap at any of the ten stores that’s on the way to work? It would be sweet to beat the rush by going on lunch to BB by the job and get the latest releases (before the soccer moms).

    Also guys no one said you have to use this feature. The good thing is that when you use the drop box (if you’re out, don’t go out of your way), when the BBE checks the movie in, the next movie(s) in your online queue are triggered to be sent at that point. Granted, I haven’t tried BB Online, but Netflix is jerking me…

  • jennyfur

    This wouldn’t be enough to get me to switch either, because the reason I left Blockbuster in the first place was due to their absolutely horrible service at their stores. On numerous occasions, movies I’d returned on time were listed as late, and once a movie I’d returned even ended up “lost” at the store (they found it over two weeks later, but tried to charge me some ridiculous amount for THEIR mistake). The mere thought of having to deal with the clueless teenagers who work there makes me cringe. And judging by your first experience trying to swap an Online movie with a Store one, I’m not confident that my location would be able to figure it out and do things smoothly even after this has been available for some time.

  • Alexander Grundner

    Genius74 said: Question is Alex, am I tied to just one Blockbuster to return them or can I drop ‘n swap at any of the ten stores that’s on the way to work? It would be sweet to beat the rush by going on lunch to BB by the job and get the latest releases (before the soccer moms).

    It looks like it doesn’t matter which store you use since they did not ask to see my store membership card. All they did was scan the envelope and then scanned the off-the-shelf movie and handed me my receipt. It’s a fast process. Actually, I should cut the Blockbuster employee some slack for my comment earlier because I was the first customer to arrive at the store trying to make a “Total Access” exchange (remember: Total Access launched 11/1). Since the employee behind the counter wasn’t sure how to take care of it, the manager came out instructed all of them on how to do my exchange as the example.

  • Genius74

    Way to go bashing the teen Alex! (the teen years are already so much pressure! :D )


    Sounds good to me.. I wish the games were included, but this should resolve the wait I currently experience with Netflix. As far as the waiting in line (as expressed by others), well I wouldn’t go on a Friday night expecting to get the past Tuesdays new release (not like I can get it via Netflix either), but I could go Tues. morning/lunchtime at the one closest to the job and trigger the next in cue & get the latest release.

  • beiramae

    I wasn’t expecting to read employee bashing when I stumbled across this site..but I felt the need to stick up for my local Blockbuster employees! Maybe because I’m a regular and know them all pretty well….anyhow, I’m pretty excited about total access. I already exchanged my online rentals in the store an got three new releases I’ve been looking forward to seeing. My next online rentals are on their way too….
    The store near me switched their monthly free offer to a two week trial. But because I’m a regular they told me that instead going to and entering the promo code 55740B I could take the B off the end and just enter 55740 to still get the free month….it works!

  • xfactor

    I think this new total access is great. I tried the promo code 39326B and got a free trial. I am so impressed that I am going to stick with it, even after the free trial is over. You can’t beat the price!

  • chris

    Netflix vs Blockbuster. A friend at work told me about this Total Access program at blockbuster… Online and instore rentals, blah, blah, blah… At first I said I wasn’t going to support corporate america, but then I realized I use Netflix (duh… no hypocrite am I) so I decided to use a scientific approach to test them. I accessed the blockbuster website (used my friends promo code 08141B) and listed the top 10 movies on my netflix que and waited. In a nutshell, not only did I get my online movies faster than with netflix (all within the 2 week trial), but I also ended up with 9 MORE movies from the store. I even hate to admit it, but I even got a recommendation from the goofy blockbuster guy for Everything is illuminated (great flick despite elijah woods). I switched over not only because I got so much more for the same price, but I found the blockbuster employees were not the same ignorant, annoying brats I remembered from years past.

  • nok

    For anyone who wants to try Blockbuster Total Access
    one month free trial (3 DVD out at a time plan)
    go to
    use promo code: 1842ta

    Happy Holidays

  • chris

    have had the program now for a couple of months and I can honestly say it is awesome. I thought too good to be true at first, but I have to hand it to blockbuster they have really come through… I found out the other day that part of the program also includes a coupon every month for a free movie OR GAME!!! When a game costs 7-8 bucks each time how can you go wrong! I used code 08141b, but I am sure there are several others out there.