Can Blockbuster laugh its way past bankruptcy?

Blockbuster's financial picture is no laughing matter, but that doesn't mean the company--which is having its lunch eaten by competitors Netflix and Redbox--doesn't have a sense of humor.

The DVD rental icon is hoping to parlay its day-and-date new release advantage into a big payoff, and is hoping a light touch can do the trick. It's released an ad in a couple of small markets--Reno, Nev. and Charlotte, N.C.--that highlights the 28-day edge it has with new releases, showing, for instance, a couple at a pricey restaurant being told they'll have to wait 28 days for a table.

"You'd never wait that long," an announcer intones. "So why wait 28 days for new releases?"

The company acknowledges its budget for the campaign is tiny, but says it's hoping to highlight the differentiation.

Blockbuster, once the king of DVD rentals, has struggled against competition like Netflix, which delivers DVDs by mail with no late fees. Blockbuster currently is trying to recapitalize, and recently missed $42.4 million payment on its $900 million debt package.

As Netflix and Redbox have grown, Blockbuster has struggled to keep up, launching its own streaming service, CinemaNow, with support from SonicSolutions.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article

Related articles:
Blockbuster CEO rips Netflix's 'older' offerings
Blockbuster sees customers slipping away
Redbox looks to tackle Netflix, weighs streaming video
Blockbuster to stream online videos to PC with CinemaNow
Blockbuster "going concern risk," Netflix waits in wings
Blockbuster partners with MSOs for video on-demand

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