Blockbuster have finally set into motion “pre-arranged” Chapter 11 proceedings. People just waking up from an eight-year coma were shocked at this news. Blockbuster says all 3,000 or so stores will stay open (although a tipster at Engadget claims they’ll close up to 1,000 in the near future). Blockbuster’s plan is to reduce their debt from around $1 billion down to a totally manageable $100 million. Who doesn’t have $100 million in debt these days? I owe that much just to a stock photo agency specializing in photos of cats in top hats.
The biggest winner in this is Netflix, who are growing fast and just debuted their online streaming service in Canada with media interviews in Toronto. It’s their first expansion outside the U.S. Surely they won’t do anything to squander all the good press and new investors they may gain from the Blockbuster situation. Oh wait, you mean the media footage in Toronto featured paid actors pretending to be happy customers in man on the street interviews? And the Netflix CEO also joked in an interview that Americans are “somewhat self-absorbed” and won’t notice Canada has a streaming-only plan for $7.99 while the cheapest plan in the U.S. with unlimited online viewing is the $8.99 one-DVD-at-a-time plan?
Netflix says the interviews were staged because they couldn’t get a permit to close the entire street for the event, but they could get a permit to film actors in a company documentary. Meanwhile, the CEO apologized for the joke, calling America “one of the most philanthropically-minded nations in the world” and saying they’re looking into offering a cheaper streaming-only plan here as well. Aw baby, you know I can’t stay mad at you. Now put more stand-up comedy in the Watch Instantly section before I have to go upside your head.
- A man in Taiwan who won a contest for designing a poster promoting copyright protection had to return his $1,600 prize. He had copied the design from Dennis Sibeijn’s “Truth”, pictured at left. That’s either incredibly stupid or a brilliant way to raise awareness of copyright protection (and also incredibly stupid). (AFP)
- Cambridge, Massachusetts printed 40,000 parking ticket stubs with yoga positions on them as part of public art project with Daniel Peltz. Shockingly, some residents think they’re a waste of money and don’t find parking citations any less stressful. (BostonHerald)
- Several health insurers stopped offering child-only policies last week after new federal rules took effect for children with preexisting conditions. Won’t somebody think of the CEOs? (WSJ)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- Pictured at left, “Everything You Really Need To Know About Blockbuster’s Bankruptcy”, via Consumerist
- In the battle of cash versus gift cards, cash rules everything around me. (LifeHacker)
- American adults spend 200 billion hours a year watching TV, while it took an estimated 100 million hours to create all of Wikipedia. You know what that means? People could have spent an extra 100 million hours watching The Hills. Get it together, you philanthropists. (THD)