We all know that Netflix dug a grave for Blockbuster, but how did it happen? It seemed like Blockbuster had a fighting chance seeing how they even had a streaming service and seemingly superior movie renting over mail program where you could even drop off your movie at a local store. Their streaming service re-engineered Netflix’s site on a superficial level but couldn’t replicate their smart algorithms that could do things like suggest the right movies to watch. Realizing that their company’s clunkier site couldn’t compete with Netflix, they tried a different approach. The company accumulated over 20,000 movies for it’s streaming website just so that they could say they had more movies than Netflix. The problem was that a lot of these “movies” were filler and consisted of videos of fish tanks, fireplaces, and bad amateur films.
Blockbuster also had to tackle the problem of overnight delivery. Netflix was able to do this but the Blockbuster team wasn’t sure how. They sent amateur spies into Netflix warehouses to snap pictures but the info they got from these missions didn’t tell them enough. Netflix had an algorithm that posted a map every six months of where the next distribution centers should be located to ensure overnight delivery. It even calculated the cheapest delivery routes and how many of a DVD the warehouse had to supply based on demand. Blockbuster was getting left in the dust wherever it tried to follow Netflix. Netflix had a long head start meaning that competition would never be able to keep up. Once Blockbuster launched online, the website couldn’t handle the level of traffic it was getting and the website would crash frequently; it was a total disaster. Because of word of mouth, most people went for Netflix. By the time Blockbuster was able to scrape together a working service, Netflix leaped ahead once again by publishing artistic, fresh new content that the consumers could get excited about. Blockbuster had no original content to show for. What Netflix’s next move will be, no one knows. My best guess is that they will continue to invest billions in original content every year to act as a totally independent entity.
Hulu and Amazon are still strong competitors to Netflix, but Hulu requires it’s paying subscribers to sit through commercials and Amazon requires it’s patrons to sometimes have to pay an upfront charge in order to watch a newly released movie. For the foreseeable future, I believe Netflix will stay on top for these reasons. The competitor’s best shot in gaining some turf would be to heavily invest in not only original content, but in good original content. For example, HBO gained many subscribers through their exclusive access to the highly regarded Game of Thrones.
How we consume media is always changing but like mentioned in the readings, it appears that the relationship between corporations and media consumers is symbiotic in nature. The power is in the people’s hands as they can subscribe and unsubscribe from any service they want. This leads to companies to tailor their service to meet the needs of the consumer. After all, consumers loved being able to stream movies on their laptops and Netflix was there to fit their demands. Let’s not forget, however, that people will always want to go to the movies and will always want to watch live sporting events and news, so as long as the demand is there, TV and cinema will be supported. So if there’s anything that media companies can learn, it’s that they aren’t entitled to anything and that giving the consumer what they want will always prove prosperous if done right. Change is always gonna come around in the entertainment industry so it needs to be expected.