With Netflix arrival, vidstore eyes streaming service

As Netflix takes its first major steps into Latin America, Blockbuster Mexico says it is ready for the fight, and eager to get online.

Blockbuster Mexico has been a dominant force in the local rental biz for 20 years, running 320 stores nationwide.

Now, Net-flix is knocking on the door, locking down content deals this week with Televisa and TV Azteca, and the brick-and-mortar biz is taking steps to keep abreast of the competition.

“We hope to offer (streaming service) this year,” said Blockbuster Mexico prexy Edward Arguelles in an interview with the Spanish-language press. “It doesn’t depend on us, but our contracts with the studios. If it were up to us, we would start tomorrow.”

Seeing the entry of Netflix as “healthy competition,” Arguelles acknowledged that Blockbuster has also been talking to TV Azteca and Televisa to secure content-sharing deals.

To its advantage, Blockbuster Mexico has a customer base and long-standing brand recognition here. Arguelles said its home delivery service, begun in Guadalajara in May, is seeing weekly growth of 15% to 20%, and the company is hoping to expand it next year.

Most observers believe that Netflix will stick to a streaming-only service when it enters the market.However, Netflix is coming backed by the revenue of 25 million subscribers.

Bottom line, the turf war is coming.

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