Friday, May 6, 2005

Battle for the Couch Potatoes

Check out this long and very interesting discussion on Netflix vs. Blockbuster [Thomas Hawk].

Its the battle for the couch potatoes!

In one corner, we have Blockbuster, the giant dying incumbent.. taken a few shots, but still has significant resources left.

(Come on, even if the employees are all negative on Blockbuster, I'm sure they would prefer the company to succeed and survive. 84,000+ employees are not going to roll over and just let their company die... unless Blockbuster axes them all first!)

In the other corner, we have plucky upstart Netflix. Recipient of adulation from consumers all around, but still a small company competing in a tough business with few barriers to entry...

Who will win??

Other contenders include the RBOC's with their plans for digital video over optical lines and the cable operators with their plans to shower consumers with any content, any time.

If you ask me, the definite winners are going to be the content providers. All of guys above battling it out are just "pipes" into consumers' homes. They are all just delivering the same thing -- CONTENT.

What do consumers care how it gets inside their home? They just want it to be convenient, affordable and reasonable quality. Reduce hassle and you got a winner!

If the content distributors can't figure out a way to differentiate their delivery methods, they've got a problem..

UPDATE:
Apparently Carl Icahn got on the quarterly earnings call for Blockbuster yesterday and duked it out with the CEO himself, John Antioco. Read the coverage from the LA Times here.

After Icahn interrupted him, Antioco said: "Don't step on me and I won't step on you."