In an effort to fight upstart content distributors like Netflix, Blockbuster Inc. is planning to eliminate late fees on games and movies as of January 1.
Blockbuster apparently makes as much as $300 million annually on late fees; they think they'll make up for this lost income with increased volume.
Don't know what this will mean to the future of Blockbuster, but I do know that it's just another sign that we're catching up to the future every day, and the way we think about media, content, and ownership is changing rapidly.
Update: Mike sez, "you rent a movie, you have a certain grace period within which you have to return the movie (or game). if you step over that grace period they charge you full price for the thing (minus the original rental fee). you can contest the charge, and if they take it back they'll charge you a $1.25 'restocking fee.' Restocking fees are usually put in place by electronic retailers to deter returns on big ticket items that are not defective. If you buy something and then return it, the company has to deal with more costs to handle the return. But Blockbuster's entire business is based on returns! It doesn't sell movies, it rents them to you with the expectation of getting it back. Their business model hasn't changed any. it's just a way to extort more money out of us consumers."
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
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