Blockbuster Finishes 2006 with 2.2 Million Online Subscribers

Tech News

Blockbuster is saying it finished 2006 with 2.2 million online rental subscribers. Around 200,000 of those are just trying it out while the remaining 2 million are paying subscribers. The company was able to sign up more than 500,000 paying customers in just the last three months of 2006.

Blockbuster claims the increase is a result of its “Total Access” program, which allows online customers to return DVDs through the mail (the traditional way) or at Blockbuster stores in exchange for in-store movie rentals. The company has been trying desperately to play catch up with arch rival Netflix. In fact, Blockbuster had a holiday promotion that let Netflix subscribers rent Blockbuster movies for free.

Blockbuster Chairman John Antioco explained that “Total Access” has picked up without much broadcast advertising. Only a couple of test markets were used for advertising but the majority of subscribers seems to be attributed to other factors (blogging, anyone?).

But Blockbuster may still have a ways to go if its goals have anything to do with catching up to Netflix. The red envelope company had forecast its subscribers would be over 6 million by the end of 2006…

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