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."
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.
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