Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Block Against the Wall

I noticed recently that our local Blockbuster is closed. Signs offer renters the opportunity to drive to semi-nearby towns but exclaim even more loudly the death of the brick and mortar video store.

Well, perhaps I speak too quickly on that latter point. There will long be small Mom and Pop shops, some even that have a few videos on shelves (along with DVDs and whatever medium comes next). These are the places with dedicated movie geeks, the types of maintain a "secret stash" for friends and cool customers.

One of our independent shops is where I got the unrated version of Bad Lieutenant when Blockbuster only rented a safe R version. Same deal with Requiem for a Dream. Blockbuster, in contrast, was more memorable for its rows of new arrivals, all empty.

In recent years the chain "eliminated" late fees and promised guarantees of new arrivals, and it continues to attempt competition with Netflix. But it seems too late to save Blockbuster.

I haven't rented a video there for years. In fact, it's a point of contention when Jenny does. Given how much we pay for cable and Netflix, given our own DVD collection and the ease of accessing cool (and free) content online, renting from Blockbuster just doesn't make sense to me.

I guess it doesn't make sense to a lot of people.


Sarah said...

Between libraries (which admittedly is really convenient since I work a one), NetFlix, Hulu, and other online sources, I scarcely miss Blockbuster.

My parents still have an account, and here is the reason: On "take out Fridays," my mom walks down to the main commercial street with them and they have their choice for dinner and choice of movie. It is the epitome of "what do I feel like tonight." There is rarely any advanced planning (needed for NetFlix), and when they plop down for a lazy Friday night of take-out and movies, they want to plop in front of the big screen and not a computer (thus, online is out).

But can Blockbuster or other stores really survive if that is the only real customer base?

Another thought: the Safeway I go to for groceries has one of those DVD rental machine things. And there is ALWAYS someone there getting a movie. I've seen people come in just to get a movie from the machine and leave sans groceries. And there is a Blockbuster store at the next shopping center over.

Maybe other means (like those machine things) will begin to take the place of the brick-and-morter stores when the customer base of "of what is available, what do I want to watch tonight" shrinks to the point where a full store can not sustain itself.

Andrew Wood said...

Wow, do I appreciate your reply. Thanks.

Are you doing any personal blogging? I'd love to subscribe, Sarah!

LDS Kid said...

Haha yeah my family just canceled our satellite and now we just hook up my laptop to the TV via an hdmi cable. Free, on demand, high definition content and there are less commercials too! xD Its a sign of the times i suppose.