Once I read about it all, I sent a message to the MovieShack guys asking a few questions. One thing I wanted to know was whether they were going to keep the price points the same since, in my eyes, there was now a lack of competition in the all you can eat DVD market in New Zealand.
A few hours later, I received a reply.
What does this mean for us?
Of course, they said that "it wasn't a monopoly since you can rent DVDs, buy them, watch TV or go to the movies". Absolutely, I agree. But ... there is now a complete lack of competition in the send to my home as many DVDs as I can consume in a month type companies. Before this announcement there were three companies that did this, now there is just one (and please let me know in the comments if there are any others in NZ I don't know about).
The good news is that they said "the price points will be lowering." By how much, I don't know but hopefully they'll stick to their word. I'm sure that whatever they lower the prices too, it won't be as low as the special offer they gave me earlier this year.
I was a member last year for the 3 DVDs for $40 thing. I decided to stop since that's a lot of money. Earlier this year they then sent me a "come back" offer of 3 DVDs for $24 which is an absolute bargain. I suspect the regular prices won't go as low as that though I also expect mine not to go up. If it does, I shall complain and if that doesn't work, I'll quit. Not to be difficult but it'd be hard to justify anything more than that per month. I couldn't justify it last year, I wouldn't be able to justify it this year either. $24 is about okay though and I know I'm getting my money's worth.
Will it be really any better?
Who's to know and it's up to the future to tell us as it happens. There are a few things to consider here though:
- Price - which would be better if they stick to what they told me today.
- Service - hopefully synergies between the companies can help
- Selection - the catalog will grow bigger I'm sure
- Website - luckily for me, they'll be using the MovieShack system (I didn't like Fatso that much and the DVD Unlimited site is basically unusable since there is flash everywhere)
So yes some things will improve but I now consider it a monopoly so I'll be watching with keen eyes over the next few months when it all comes together.
Why I use a DVD-at-home system
There's no doubt that the level of service from MovieShack has been fantastic both times I have been in it. I love the convenience of just popping the DVDs back in the envelopes. It also works out reasonably priced in comparison to some video stores. Granted, you can get 5 DVDs for $5 for a week from a shop but I'd never watch them all, have a smaller selection and would have to take them back before I knew what day it was. With postal DVDs, you can take your time as well as getting documentaries, TV series as well as films.
It's no wonder my TV hasn't been plugged in to the aerial since April.
Before I go, I should say thanks to James at MovieShack who answered my email earlier on today. It was very much appreciated to learn a little more about the whole thing. I hope it all goes well (I know how data migrations can be painful) but I also hope it does end up being a better deal for us consumers :-)
Edit: It would happen, just as I posted this, I got an email from MovieShack telling us about it. I guess this post is more about the merger than the announcement anyway.