Blockbuster yesterday made a surprising announcement, saying they were eliminating most late fees from movie rentals as of Jan 1. That could take a sizable chunk out of the video retailer’s wallet, as industry estimates have late charges accounting for anywhere between 10-16% of Blockbuster’s total revenue ($5.82bln last year). There’s little doubt the success of Netflix and cable VOD helped to influence this decision-although a Blockbuster spokesperson denied cable’s influence, pointing out that retailers get the latest titles a month before PPV and VOD. Fulcrum says the new policy is "an incremental negative for the cable industry," as so much of the value of VOD is derived from a no-fee, no-hassle product. Fulcrum adds that cable ops will "increasingly need to seek other methods for highlighting the advantages of their VOD platform."

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