Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dish Satellite Acquires Blockbuster

Blockbuster Video, once the darling of the rental DVD business has gone bankrupt and now sold to Dish Network. The question is why. Where is the synergy between a satellite company and a brick and mortar retail chain. And does Dish have the magic to reinvent Blockbuster to compete again.

Blockbuster's management missed the boat when accessing its competition; Netflix brought an online and mail alternative while Redbox delivered a vendor strategy to bring the DVD closer to where the consumer shopped. Redbox also hurt Blockbuster with a cheaper rental alternative. Dish needs to reinvent the Blockbuster brand to get back into the game. But does a satellite company understand the retail game.

I recall a decade ago when Cablevision bought Nobody Beats The Wiz out of bankruptcy. With so much debt owed Cablevision for its media buys, owning The Wiz must have been better than writing it off. Yet their success as a satellite company could not fix the problems of The Wiz and today the brand is long gone. I fear the same will be true for Blockbuster.

A complete overhaul of Blockbuster and perhaps a name change too to reinvigorate the brand. Expand from DVDs to add game products. Compete in the used market with Game Stop and seek other entertainment software to the mix. Push further into the subscription model to compete with Netflix and others and use a low cost strategy to gain a customer base. Will it be enough? Let's just say the odds aren't in Blockbusters favor.

Univision Ratings Catching Up To NBC

As the latest Census revealed, the rapid growth in the Hispanic population is quickly being felt. In media, the launch of more Hispanic cable networks including Nat Geo Mundo and others are to take advantage in this large population as Hispanic TV isn't niche programming anymore. "Univision last week attracted more prime-time viewers than NBC, the second time in four weeks that the Spanish-language network edged out one of the Big Four." And while Univision is not consistently beating out NBC and NBC has had some programming issues of late (Jay Leno Show), it shouldn't take away the direction that viewership and ratings are going. From the big three to four when Fox joined and now the five with Univision taking a seat at the table.

It certainly isn't lost on NBC the need to embrace the Hispanic population. In fact, "separately on Tuesday, NBC corporate parent NBCUniversal said it was launching a sales initiative called 'Hispanics at NBCU.'" No doubt other networks, wether publicly or not, will embrace similar initiatives. But it shouldn't extend as a hiring initiative. More importantly, it means more multicultural faces on TV shows too.