As odd as this might sound, the other day as I was cleaning out my very old wallet I found a blockbuster card! I’m sure you all might remember the little blue cards that you would pull out at the register every time you went into a store.
Now you might be laughing at the idea and it’s not hard to understand why, it’s been about 6+ years now since the movie rental giant went belly up but there are still a few independently owned ones left. I visited one the last time I flew home to Texas.
It was fun to roam the aisles and look at the movies, I rented some and enjoyed my night in. Despite the nostalgia I couldn’t help but be a little pissed. Why, you ask?
In my opinion, Blockbuster’s failure “killed” the idea of physical media, because when a giant falls, people are bound to notice.
Back in 2000 Reed Hastings went over to talk to Blockbuster video, the idea was to have Blockbuster buy out Netflix for a reported 50 million dollars. Blockbuster said no and the story played out as we know it today.
Blockbuster did put up a fight but it was too little too late. They tried their own DVD by mail service and they even tried to get into the Kiosk market to compete with Redbox but neither of these ideas worked. Instead of being the leader and innovating in a market that was essentially theirs, they clung to the past and died.
Netflix however would invest heavily into the future and have become a giant today. Still, with that being said, their streaming service does not offer everything you’d like it too and we can’t even count how many times we've seen news stories of “what’s leaving and coming to Netflix”.
It’s not Netflix’s fault, it’s all sorts of licensing agreements but when it comes to the idea of a rental service, the model is still sound. A store buys the movie and then turns around and rents it to the customer for a price.
Despite whatever you might think, you cannot see everything on Netflix. Sad but true. Surely you’ve been scrolling through their view list only to be disappointed time and after time. It happens to me a lot.
This is where a video store would come in. They will have something that you can find to watch. Most stores, even the small ones will have dozens of movies that you never even heard of! They’ll have movies that you’d completely forgotten about, and now you’ll get the chance to see!
So, how does this make me hate Blockbuster? Because of their failure to innovate out of fear or stupidity they made people believe that video rental of any kind was “dead”. They made the idea of going to a store feel antiquated, when in reality, it’s something that you need in your town.
Because of their failure people think that they have to just accept whatever is on Netflix or Amazon prime and if you’re okay with that, then fine.
Me however, I’m not. I know that there’s some obscure title out there that could be a fantastic movie. Maybe it was an indie film that didn’t get the buzz that it deserved or perhaps it’s a great movie that got left behind and was never transferred to DVD, which should be considered a felony, my point is this, despite what you might think about a video store, they shouldn’t die out.
If you’re a true fan of movies, this should be considered one of the best places on earth. May independent stores live on!