Amazon buys into Lovefilm
For £9.99 per month, postage included
Amazon Europe has agreed to cough the cash to acquire the largest stake in DVD-by-post outfit Lovefilm. It'll sell its own UK and German DVD rental businesses to Lovefilm as part of the deal.
Subject to regulatory approval of the deal, Lovefilm will then be promoted on Amazon's European sites.
The deal is likely to pique competition regulators' interest. Lovefilm controls about 70 per cent of the DVD rental by post market in the UK, while Amazon has been growing at the expense of Blockbuster's sidelined postal service.
The market has consolidated rapidly in the last three years, as smaller players have realised they can't compete on price with warehousing operations like Lovefilm and Amazon.
Blockbuster meanwhile is struggling to deal with the threat from Netflix on its US home turf, and has neglected the booming European postal market. Helen Davis Jayalath, a senior analyst at Screen Digest, said the dominant high street player has ignored the internet. "I don't think there's been that much of a desire to build up that side of the business", she said.
The level of scrutiny directed at Amazon and Lovefilm will depend on whether watchdogs consider DVD rentals by post a market in itself, as opposed to part of the broader film-borrowing racket.
The pairing of Amazon and Lovefilm will be well placed to attack movie and TV rentals via legal downloads and streaming, pitting them against Apple's iTunes. Lovefilm's download service is up and running, while Amazon has yet to enter the European market. ®
I was one of the original "DVD-on-tap" subscribers and it was brilliant, as soon as they re-branded it "LoveFilm" it because a total disaster and they didn't give a flying hoot about customers from that point onwards.
The problems were as such:
1) Receiving porn titles for 'U' (childrens) rated DVDs films I'd ordered for the kids.
2) Received a copy of "Analyse This" but instead of the numbering system they use now (to id/track each disc) they used the first four of the films title: On the envelope label it said "ANAL" in huge bold letters so my postman must have thought i was ordering some right absolute filth...!!!
3) They advertised a phone number to those customers "wary" of (internet only presence businesses) but for all it was worth I had a more positive response making animal noises to my 1 year old. I have far more meaningful conversations with him than LoveFilms off-shore call centre could ever manage. (Head meet brick wall moments when phoning LoveFilm) its a PR disaster. Oh and for some things like cancelling you HAVE to ring this number. Soul destroying. They must be paying a full 20 pence an hour to their livestock in this call centre.
4) Sad I know, but I WON an ASA adjudication against them for using the word "Unlimited" in their advertising when i was on a GOLD Plus membership (4 Disc Membership) they couldnt get me no more than 8 Discs a month (Pathetic considering 1 a week turnaround would be 16 discs a month)
5) Even had trading standards investigate them too, but they didnt reply to T/S.
6) They do not reply to your mails within 24 hours, no, they wait 4 days to reply and even then the reply is utterly retarded - they clearly dont read what you type, they must employ some right brain dead mongs. You have to re-explain it in baby talk and S-P-E-L-L it out very bluntly...
7) After years of DVD-on-tap with NEVER a disc going missing until the LoveFilm rebrand, Suddenly I was constantly reporting missing discs and, mysteriously, after WEEKS they would suddenly "find them" but i would LOSE out on my quota as their mongs had obviously forgotten to book-in the DVD or messed it up somehow.
8) Try and go to other DVD services who offer the same thing and you'll find they are ALL connected to LoveFilm in some way or another !!! See who runs your service!!!!
After 4.5 years in total with that company I gave it up, forefeiting half of my annual prepaid subscription and they didnt even apologise when I left not after sending my complaint in for ten consecutive weeks. No chance of a refund either even though 100% of the problems were all caused by them...
Skull and Crossbones to AVOID forever and ever like hell !!!!!!!!!
This is bad, bad, news
I suffered under Lovefilm for some months last year - unauthorised debits to my card, unreliable deliveries, high instance of faulty discs but yes, mainly a cavalier, almost fraudulent attiitude to the card detauls I had entrusted to them. It took loads of correspondence with my card issuer to extricate myself and now I'm still plagued with spam froim Lovefilm alomost every day.
I've been using Amazon happily for a couple of months now so this is bad, bad news as far as I'm concerned.
I also use, would recommend and perhaps will now use solely Cinema Paradiso
What about the Amazon DVD rental discout?
Assuming this deal goes through, and I don't see it why it wouldn't - what will happen to my discount on DVD purchases from Amazon.co.uk? Will they pull it or what? The FAQs on both sites don't even mention it.