The Reason Blockbuster Decided to Pass on Buying Netflix

The Reason Blockbuster Decided to Pass on Buying Netflix

The Reason Blockbuster Decided to Pass on Buying Netflix

Has anyone ever heard the phrase, “That’ll never catch on.” uttered by those that think an idea that is revolutionary and appears to have no basis for success? You might actually get a good chuckle out of the fact that Blockbuster Video had a chance to buy up Netflix at one point and decided to take a hard pass on the idea since of course, streaming wasn’t that big of a deal back then and there was no possible way that video stores would ever go out of business. Now, after laughing for a few minutes at the insanity of this thought, wipe the tears of hilarity from your eyes and realize that that in reality, the CEO of Blockbuster had a chance to buy up Netflix at what, back then, was a whopping $50 million, but chose to say no. One can’t really fault John Antioco for his lack of vision, well, maybe they can, but to be certain, the internet was still trying to hit its stride in the 90s and video stores were still an American institution that a lot of people felt would be there for as long as they were needed. To be fair, they kind of were anyway, since the moment that streaming and DVDs by mail started taking over, the need started to lessen in a big way.

One can only assume that Antioco might have at least some regret for not saying ‘yes’ when offered a chance to buy the service, but that’s making the assumption that things would have gone as smoothly and that the actual stores would have still been needed. Turning Blockbuster into a streaming service would have saved the life of the massive chain, and would have left more than one store in operation, but overall, things still would have changed in a big way. Video stores were becoming a thing of the past by the mid to late 90s, a relic that a lot of us still remember fondly since those days we spent part of our time walking the aisles are still good memories of how picking a movie used to be. Instead of scrolling and clicking on what we wanted it was necessary to find a way to the store and then walk each aisle, looking for something new, something that you hadn’t seen yet, or perhaps something that a person had told you about that you wanted to see. It was more personal in a way since an individual had to be involved in the process of making the effort to go and see what was out there. In all fairness people still need to do this, but when one can do so from the comfort of their own home it’s not quite the same. It is a lot more convenient though, so there are upsides that nostalgia can’t erase.

Even theaters have taken a pretty heavy hit thanks to streaming since there’s more to watch, more options, and streaming services typically cost about as much as a single ticket would at the theater, making it a no-brainer when deciding to go out or stay in. Of course, the whole theater experience is still desired by a lot of people, especially now since the theaters have been closed for a while and are hoping to open up eventually. But when it comes to movie stores like Blockbuster it’s very easy to think that some folks are wondering why a giant in the industry didn’t take advantage of this opportunity when they saw it. The answer of course is because they didn’t see the value in it, which is a big reason why nothing ended up happening and Blockbuster continued the slow but eventual decline into obscurity. One thing can be said about this though, Blockbuster did their best to hang on and did manage to get people into their stores even as they were going out. Some folks might remember that at one point Blockbuster had racks and racks of DVDs for sale at low, very manageable prices that outdid a lot of other movie stores and big box stores that were still selling DVDs for ridiculous prices. That DVDs are even still a thing these days is kind of impressive considering that streaming is still growing and expanding and offering more and more to the people that want a better experience. But then again, DVD’s are fairly cheap if a person knows where to go, and while the technology is on its way to becoming obsolete, it’s not quite there yet.

Blockbuster was the king of the 80s and 90s since on rainy days or simply on nights that warranted a good movie or just something to watch, they were there to provide thousands upon thousands of titles that could make anyone’s evening a little more entertaining. Had they bought up Netflix though it’s hard to say what would have happened.

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