Flatlined: Can a dying brand be saved? Part 1

Perhaps you recall the advertising slogan: “Blockbuster Video: Wow, what a difference!” Those ads haven’t played in years and over 60 percent of their stores have closed their doors. Yet, depending on your age, there is a solid chance the Blockbuster slogan still rattles around in the ol’ noggin. That should come as no surprise, given that in the 1990’s their TV spots played like gangbusters.

What’s that worth? Is a dead, but, yet recognizable brand still valuable?

Back in April, Dish Network successfully purchased Blockbuster Video for $320 million in a bankruptcy auction. The purpose: To utilize Blockbuster’s brand, streaming catalog and studio deals to position themselves as a legitimate contender in the digital streaming market. Clearly, Blockbuster’s on-demand streaming service and studio contracts (select studios make their films available to Blockbuster 28 days before Netflix and Redbox) are a major asset and were the driving force behind the purchase. Adding these features to Dish Networks existing services makes it a more significant product and puts them right up there with Netflix and Amazon.  

Side Note: In December 2009, NCR struck a deal with Blockbuster, permitting the usage of the Blockbuster licensing on their DVD kiosks. In May, Dish Network has asked to terminate the partnership, due to the fear of further damage the brand.

Will the consumer care? The service may be better, but Americans are brand loyal and normally only turn on a brand if it turns on them first. There is such a negative connotation attached to the Blockbuster brand, mainly due to years of extremely poor customer service, absurd late fees and refusal to transition away from the brick and mortar business plan; it may be impossible for this shrewd marketing ploy to work. On the other hand, the brand is still globally recognizable and that—in itself—is valuable. If this is going to work, Dish Network is going to have to completely re-brand Blockbuster from the ground up.

Could there be a solution that will not only make Blockbuster a force in the movie rental business again, but could transform Dish Network from a second tier satellite company to one of the premier entertainment providers?  So what is the solution?

Stay tuned for part 2—coming soon to a blog site near you.