Blockbuster benefits from Netflix's social media criticism

MCKINNEY, TX: Blockbuster has seen positive results from its "Hello Blockbuster" campaign, launched in response to consumer comments expressing criticism of Netflix's new pricing model.

MCKINNEY, TX: Blockbuster has seen positive results from its "Hello Blockbuster" campaign, launched in response to consumer comments expressing criticism of Netflix's new pricing model.

The campaign was created immediately following the announcement that Netflix is increasing its prices by 60%. After seeing many “Goodbye Netflix, Hello Blockbuster” tweets that day, Marc Lumpkin, a spokesman for the Dish Network, which owns Blockbuster, said the company “took advantage of the angst” by offering consumers low-priced promotions.

The company targeted former Blockbuster customers and fans through emails, which included the greeting, “Netflix Customers, Say Hello to Blockbuster.”

“It's a social media concoction of a campaign that we are now using in our stores,” Lumpkin added.

Consumers who prove they are Netflix subscribers can now sign up for a new Blockbuster promotion—a one-disc plan for $9.99 per month, with Blu-ray dvds included.

Blockbuster is spreading the word to consumers about the campaign through its Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as through traditional media platforms, like press releases. The campaign launched a little less than two weeks ago and has already proven to be a success.

“We've seen an increase in traffic in our stores and in followers on our Twitter page and Facebook page,” Lumpkin said.

The company's in-house PR and marketing team is in charge of the campaign, but the idea was originally developed by Blockbuster CMO Kevin Lewis, president Michael Kelly, and Lumpkin.

In addition to promoting new deals, the campaign is meant to create consumer awareness that Blockbuster still has more than 1,500 stores open around the country, despite facing bankruptcy issues in the spring. Through social and traditional media, the company plans on continuing its outreach to customers.

“We think there are a lot of opportunities to show our current and future customers that there is an alternative with Blockbuster and we offer so much more than Netflix,” Lumpkin explained.

Although Blockbuster doesn't have a streaming video service like Netflix, Lumpkin said it's looking into providing one in the future.

According to Steve Swasey, VP of corporate communications at Netflix, the company plans on sticking with its price changes. He added that the many negative remarks stemming from the announcement do not represent a significant percentage of the Netflix membership base.

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