I rented my first movie from a Blockbuster Kiosk the other day and I started thinking about Blockbuster's survival. It doesn't look very good. It's three generations behind, for crying out loud.
During the early years of the milennia, I said to my dad that Netflix will never replace the in-store experience. Although the in store experience is now a kiosk at every drug store, gas station, grocery store, and truck stop, I'm still sort of correct. Yet, Blockbuster continued to maintain it's storefronts.
Image is from this article on the New York Times. Good illustration on Blockbuster's fall.
Netflix took off with it's mail DVD service back in the day. Blockbuster should have jumped on that QUICK. But, instead, they waited until Netflix had a beachhead. Worse off, they passed up a chance to buy Netflix out. It seems like Blockbuster did the same thing with the kiosk. Redbox owns the market there.
Steaming? I didn't even know Blockbuster had streaming. But so what, I'll be able to rent videos on Facebook soon.
They're just not relevant anymore. They stopped innovating and they're being retired because of it.
The last time I was at a Blockbuster was about 6 months ago to rent a game that my brother and I could play together. It seemed busy enough, but not nearly as busy as it did six years ago when I last visited a Blockbuster.
It doesn't matter now, but I wonder what will become of the brand. I remember back when I was a kid, employees knew their stuff. They knew movies and could recommend a good one at the drop of a hat. That culture seems to have waned in an attempt to save money.
If they still can, they need to go back to the movie-geek mentality and embrace it. That is the only worthy asset they have left and it's something the online video market can't reproduce well.
Close all the storefronts. Open up in-store indpendant kiosks, a "genius bar" if you will, for movies. An actual person to talk to about movies at Best Buys, Targets, Walmarts, etc. Blockbuster will pretty much run that store's movie section. Plus they still manage the unmanned kiosks (which aren't bad really, but where's the mobile app?!). As for streaming, Blockbuster should get with Facebook and partner up for the right to display ALL the movie content on Facebook.
There are too many iconic businesses closing down these days. I hate to see you go, Blockbuster, but it's your own fault.