Chicago (IL) – Movie rental giant Blockbuster today announced that it ended the last year with nearly 2.2 million subscribers to its online rental service, with around two million actually currently paying for the service.
Blockbuster has had a difficult time finding its place in the market with the boom of digital video and online rental leader Netflix. After a series of failed changes to the in-store rental policies, it decided to step into the online rental market by allowing users to pick movies online and have them mailed to their house.
Blockbuster Online had a difficult time competing with Netflix, which in some cases offers the same service at a cheaper price, depending on the plan. However, the “Total Access” feature, which became available late last year, allows users to rent movies online and then return them to a physical Blockbuster location for a free in-store rental. Subscribers also receive monthly coupons for free rentals.
Blockbuster Online, which offers free one month trial memberships to anyone who wants to try the service without paying up front, is still far behind the rival Netflix service. According to Netflix’s year-end projections, subscriber base to its service is about six million at the end of 2006.