Netflix Continues Dominance in Online Movie Rentals

I’ve am a long-time member of Blockbuster‘s online rental program and have been shouting from my soapbox that its in-store exchange policy makes the Blockbuster program a better alternative than Netflix. My argument took a hit recently when I was welcomed by a sign on the door of my local Blockbuster store that read, “50% off all movies. No rentals at this location.” This is the second time in the past year that I’ve gone to exchange a movie at a Blockbuster brick-and-mortar and found it closed or closing.

Without stores at which to do in-store exchanges, it doesn’t seem like there is much incentive to choose Blockbuster over Netflix. There has always been a loyal Netflix following online, but just how dominant are they now?

In the last two years, Netflix has gone from just over double Blockbuster’s traffic to almost eight and a half times as much. In fact, nearly as many unique visitors went to the member’s section to manage their Netflix Watch Now online viewing queue as went to the entire Blockbuster site last month. Unique Visitor traffic numbers are only part of overall site performance, but engagement metrics tell the same story.

In the past Blockbuster had kept pace with Netflix in terms of user engagement, but it seems that Netfix has pulled away recently in these categories as well. Over the past two years Visits per Person has gone from a back and forth battle between the two sites to yet another run-away victory, with Netflix users going to the site one and a half times more than Blockbuster users. Blockbuster still held the advantage in Average Stay as recently as March, but the sites have gone in opposite directions since then, with Netflix users staying nearly 3 minutes more per visit than Blockbuster.

Netflix completes the overall head-to-head dominance by grabbing over 33% of search referrals for the term ‘movie rental,’ compared to Blockbuster’s 19%. Redbox.com also enters the conversation here, with a solid 13% despite not actually renting movies online.

Now with no convenient place to exchange my movies in person, I may have to finally give in and join the nearly 20 million strong at Neflix.