Growing up there was a special place just down the hill from my house. You could drive, bike, or walk to it. Either way, at the bottom of the hill a bright blue and yellow building shined bright under the Southern California sunshine. The word above the doors of this building was Blockbuster. To the left were the video games, to the right was the movies and tv shows. Up front at the counter was a whole array of movie snacks, candy, and popcorn. Going to blockbuster was an experience, and a commitment to tell yourself that you would be watching a movie that night, or renting a video game to play non-stop until the rental period expired.
Then, at almost perfect timing of when I was told I wasn’t a ‘kid’ anymore, Blockbuster started heading down the tubes and Netflix emerged. This new company ultimately brought an end to my childhood entertainment rental experience. This downfall and emergence is highlighted in a Business Wars podcast called “Sudden Death.” After listening to this podcast and critically thinking about the outcome of these two companies, it’s clear that Netflix started surging for a few main reasons. One, when society wanted things faster and easier, Netflix delivered. In the long run, it’s simply cheaper too. Renting one DVD from blockbuster was almost as much as a monthly Netflix subscription. This doesn’t even include the fact that to watch a DVD you also have to buy a DVD player, while with Netflix, you can watch the show on a TV, Phone, Tablet, Computer, or Laptop.
Aside from Blockbuster, Netflix also altered the concept of watching a TV show at a specific time on cable for many shows. I could watch the entire series of a show in one night now, on my own in my dark bedroom at 1am on a school night. Before this, watching a show was usually a family event on the TV in the living room with my family. However, according to the article “Questioning Netflix’s Revolutionary Impact: Changes in the Business and Consumption of Television” by Cameron Lindsay, Netflix is not just another way to view TV shows that could have been viewed on cable, as they also offer their own shows. Netflix Originals are unique to Netflix. So, the more popular these shows become, the more people will need to subscribe to Netflix to watch them.
As much as I have some amazing memories at Blockbuster, Netflix has provided some as well. When you’re bored with friends you don’t have to go down to a store, you can pull up your show instantly or start a movie night spontaneously. With that said, not everyone uses Netflix. Some use Hulu, some use Amazon Prime, some use Crackle. All of these, though, have the similarities of being a streaming provider which really came with the ‘Netflix Effect’ of wanting things instantly and creating original content. This movement of new media has swept the nation, and the world. Blockbuster was the original rental movie giant, but times change and Netflix took over the market.
*Maybe though, if I want to relive the glory days I’ll trek to one of the last remaining Blockbusters. Yes, there are a few real Blockbusters still around! Just like this one in Alaska:
(Blockbuster in Alaska)