Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rant #479: Dish it Out-A Blockbuster of a Deal

I truly do not understand Dish Network's purchase of Blockbuster.

These are two former giants that have fallen on hard times. It's like a marriage of one guy who has been married 10 times with a woman who has been married eight times.

There is a reason both are failing at what they do, and a marriage isn't going to solve those problems.

Dish Network is second in a two-team race to DirecTV in the satellite television business. And I mean a distant second in a two horse race.

Dish absolutely cannot compete with the more formidable DirecTV, so it doesn't try to, although it does whether it wants to or not.

Dish prides itself at being the lower-cost provider, and it is just that.

But as always, you pay for what you get.

And with Dish, it is a diminished lineup of stations, especially compared to DirecTV.

In the New York area, you can't watch the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils or any other professional sports team with any regularity, because Dish has either taken off their networks (MSG, SNY) or has never had them to begin with (YES, MLB). And when they have them and there is a pricing problem, they just don't negotiate anymore. They take the networks off without warning to customers.

And their customer service is as lame as a limp noodle. Probably lamer.

Blockbuster was once the giant of the video stores. They were over-priced to begin with--a point that nobody seems to bring up--but they had a good selection.

They absolutely killed those mom and pop video stores that opened in the 1980s. Murdered them to oblivion.

But their fortunes began to tumble when tapes gave way to DVDs. There were so many other ways to get the movies that people wanted--including buying them, since prices fell to manageable levels with the advent of DVDs--that people started to ignore Blockbuster.

And when video rental machines came out, and charged $1 for the same movies that Blockbuster was charging nearly $5 for, well, that tipped the scales. Blockbuster has even gotten into this business, but it's too little, too late, especially with streaming video and NetFlix out there.

They have closed thousands of stores, and are a casualty of their own complacence.

And Dish is too.

So what does this marriage mean?

I have no idea. I guess Dish can now market itself in the Blockbuster stores that remain open.

Maybe with their combined resources, they can make something new happen in the delivery of movies to customers.

I simply don't know. On the surface, it looks like a plan doomed to failure.

Maybe these two former giants have something else in mind.

I just don't know. I really don't.

If video killed the radio star, then complacence killed the video store.

What Dish Network has in mind--other than probably increasing their rates to customers to pay for this deal--is beyond my comprehension.

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