Netflix and Redbox just don't cut it
This dinosaur already misses her Blockbuster: Why the bankruptcy is sad news
When it comes to movies, I need instant gratification. When the mood strikes for a mystery or a crime drama, I revert to my childhood. I want it now!
My Blockbuster store in west Memorial closed last week and it was a sad day at our house. Nestled right next to my Starbucks and my grocery store and my veterinarian, I could walk to it.
Sure, I’ve tried Netflix, but I don’t always want to watch the film that happens to land next in my mailbox. (When you’re hungering for a thriller, a romantic comedy just won’t do.)
Sure, I’ve tried RedBox, but the choices are way too limited.
For me, nothing beats going to a video rental store and browsing through the hundreds of options in the category of my momentary whim. Maybe I’ll watch something I’ve already seen. Maybe I’ll watch something I’ve been meaning to see. Maybe I’ll watch something I’d forgotten all about and it’s just there waiting for me. It’s like being a kid in a candy store with all those sweet options ready to satisfy.
Today, it got worse. Blockbuster (which is based in Dallas) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Is this the beginning of the end for movie addicts like me?
Thankfully, reports says that the Dallas-based rental giant will continue operating its 3,000 stores (at least the ones it hasn't already closed like mine) while it regroups. The company will also honor all gift cards. Business as usual for the consumer, they say.
In a statement, chairman/CEO Jim Keyes said, “For more than 25 years, Blockbuster has been the go-to source for the best selection of at-home movies and game entertainment. We are continuing to provide our customers with the same outstanding convenience, service and value that have defined Blockbuster from the start, while we take action to become financially stronger. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the best, most convenient access to brand new releases and to continuing to enhance the Blockbuster experience.”
Last March, there were multiple reports that Blockbuster was “flirting” with filing for Chapter 11 and that CEO Keyes had reached out to studios asking them to reduce the price of their DVDs in exchange for granting them a bigger revenue stake. If Hollywood would sell their new releases at a lower price, it would enable the company to better compete with kiosk and subscription rental companies.
If I could talk to Mr. Keyes, as one of his loyal customers, I would tell him there’s more he could consider to help Blockbuster succeed: Treat your employers nicer (my son worked at one of your stores, and we know firsthand that this is a real problem.) Decide on a rental plan and stick with it (don’t change late fees and memberships like some flavor-of-the-week). Treat your customers like royalty and only hire people who actually like other people. Offer more independent films and plenty of direct-to-DVD fare.
There’s plenty of good product out there that’s not, if you’ll pardon the pun, just blockbusters. Film lovers like high-brow, low-brow, and everything in-between.
Right here in your home-based state filmmakers are creating movies that beg for audiences. Maybe you could start a trend and offer some films that don’t even come from studios?