Goodbye Neighborhood Video Rental Store

It used to be we had small neighborhood mom and pop video rental stores. That gave way to the large, big box, mega retailers like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster. Hollywood Video is in Chapter 11 and now Blockbuster is hanging by a thread. Netflix was the first nail in the coffin. Now there is iTunes, Amazon.com, Boxee, and Roku among others. There’s just to need to drag yourself down to a Blockbuster and put up with their silly return rules, let alone hoping the title you want is even available.

RedBox has been a massive hit without large stores because they put their vending machines where people already are, like the supermarket. No extra trip or hassle required. And at $1 a movie, Blockbuster doesn’t stand a chance. It’s interesting that Blockbuster has watched all this go on in the past few years but has not been able to do much of anything about it. They’ve experimented with a few things, but halfheartedly and they have been failures. Someone at corporate didn’t want to hurt the mainline retail business, which was really bad strategy because that business is dead now anyway and they have nothing to show for it.

Blockbuster has misread and misunderstood most every new business reality of the digital age. There CEO talks a good game but somehow I doubt they will have the boldness and smarts to actually do what it takes to catch up. The only thing they have going for themselves is a still strong brand name. If they can just find the guts to capitalize on it.

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