100 Questions – Whatever Happened to Blockbuster?

I have fond memories of renting movies from Blockbuster. Then there were the times that the movie was already rented, what a drag – now what were we going to do on Friday night? That left me aimlessly wandering the isles with others looking for random titles thinking – I wonder if this would be any good. This usually ended as a hit or miss. But it was awesome to get to Blockbuster early Thursday and actually get the movie you wanted for Friday before other grubby hands snatched it up! How dare them take my VHS movie, and eventually my DVD.

Then the unthinkable happened. It was mind blowing! They started renting video games which I was a big fan and player – yes, even as an adult!

But then, almost overnight Blockbuster went the way of the Buffalo. They slowly phased out of Meridianville, Huntsville AL. and the outermost parts of the world!

So what happened to Blockbuster?

The short of it – Amazon and Netflix. But there’s more to the story…There are life lessons to be learned – attention to detail and that small things matter.

From the book Tools of the Titans page 295…Chris Anderson calls it the “Long Tail” effect, for the visually graphed shape of the sales distribution curve: a low almost interminable line of items selling only a few copies per year that form a long “tail” for the abrupt vertical beast of a few best sellers. But the area of the tail was as big as the head. With that insight, aggregators had had great incentive to encourage audiences to click on the obscure items.

Blockbuster only focused, as the name states, predominantly on the “Blockbusters” which were few when looking at the big picture.

Others realized that there were a lot of people interested in niche movies – which would have been the tail of the graph but the tail was really, really long. There were a lot more “B” list movies than blockbusters that were really good.

And now you know why Blockbuster went the way of the Buffalo. They failed to focus on the little things so to speak – attention to detail.

And now you also know why you spend more time searching through Prime Video and Netflix seeing thousands of movies you’ve never heard of, than blockbusters. But rest assured that others – the niche market, are true fans of the movies you’re passing over! And Prime Video and Netflix are smiling all the way to the bank!

Small things matter…


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