South Jersey Entrepreneur Thinks He Can Steal You Away From Netflix

Cherry Hill's John Adams wants to rent you movies the old-fashioned way. Sort of.

In January 2001, South Jersey entrepreneur John Adams thought he had a great idea: Set up a kiosk at Philadelphia International Airport and rent movies on DVD to people in transit. Problem was, there was already such an operation at the airport, and that business had a non-compete clause in its contract. So, Adams decided to sell the movies outright from his PHL shop instead, and We Got Movies, Inc. was born. But then, just months later, 9/11 happened, and like so many air travel-dependent businesses, We Got Movies was gone.

More than a decade later, after spending several years as part owner of a communications and computer-support company that recently sold, Adams, now 38, thinks he has another great idea: deliver DVDs to your home. By car, no less. And he’s relaunched We Got Movies as a DVD delivery service, with rental stores soon to come. “We all grew up going to Blockbuster and West Coast Video,” says Adams. “Well, we’re bringing back that model and adding home delivery to it.”

Here’s how it works. If you join during the introductory period, you pay just $10 per month for 20 movies, five per week. You let We Got Movies know what day and time you want your five new movies in your queue dropped off and your five old ones collected, and they’ll drive one of their little gas-consuming We Got Movies cars to your house. For an added fee, they’ll even bring you popcorn, movie candy, sodas, and Wii games and consoles.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: I thought the DVD was going the way of the VHS tape and the laserdisc. Well, it is. Even the more “modern” BluRay is on its way out. No one predicts otherwise. But, it will be years before the technology takes its final breath, so why not capitalize on it while you still can?

Of course, of those people who are renting DVDs instead of streaming movies or renting them OnDemand or using BitTorrent to illegally download them, the vast majority are already getting their DVDs from Netflix or RedBox, for the most part. But Adams sees inherent flaws in both of those models.

With Netflix, he points out, each DVD takes about two days to get to you and two days to get back to NetFlix before the company will send you the next movie in your queue. “Netflix actually delays entertainment,” says Adams, without laughing even a little.

And with RedBox, explains the CEO, selection is extremely limited, you have to leave your house both to pick up and to return the DVD, and if you don’t get your movie back by 9 p.m. the next day, RedBox assesses late charges.

All of these things are true, but does that mean that hiring a car and driver to deliver movies is a good idea? I’m not so sure, but then, at 38 years old, I’m not in We Got Movies’ ideal target market just yet, which he puts at 40-plus.

Adams insists he is moving full speed ahead and is about to look at potential locations in Center City as well as other locales for the rental stores. His goal is 250 stores and 3,000 jobs by 2017. Meanwhile, the delivery service is up and running, in case you just can’t wait for the Netflix to show up to see the latest Mission Impossible.