Netflix busts competition

Ken Kutska, A&E Editor

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It looks like the era of the Saturday evening rental is a thing of past, left to the mercy of Redbox, Netflix and Amazon.  Dish Network shut down its remaining 300 Blockbuster rental locations and ended mail-order rentals.

The blue and yellow video giant is now defunct because it failed to adapt to the new age of digital online streaming. It has been apparent for a few years now that movie rental stores are in a bad spot. No one wants to go and then return to the store or be hassled by rental fees.

The development of online technology and streaming formats such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have made renting easier and cheaper. At $8 a month, Netflix streaming has led many people away from box store rentals. A lot of the television and movie studios have realized that Netflix and Amazon are the way of the future for video rentals.

Blockbuster and other rental companies like Hollywood Video didn’t do enough to get with the times and were left behind. Blockbuster had a great idea starting a mail-order online service, which is top-notch. The company could have done so much more with the available technology and could have stopped Netflix right from the get-go with its own streaming service. I always thought Blockbuster would have ultimately beaten Netflix if they had just adapted.

They had so many opportunities, but perhaps it’s because their owner, Dish Network, prevented them from changing their model or they were blind to Netflix creeping up on them.

When the company was bought out there may not have been enough capital left to develop such services. Seven years ago, Blockbuster had enough cash to make a bid to buy Circuit City, which went out of business. Had Blockbuster invested that money in future technology and not in a dying box store, maybe they’d still be viable today.

I don’t know how Netflix sneaked up on Blockbuster, or why from the beginning it was never taken seriously as a competitor.  It always looked like Netflix was nothing more than a knockoff Blockbuster that people could turn to if they didn’t want to drive to a rental store to peruse the shelves of new releases.

Netflix has ended up destroying the last of the dangerous competition in the rental business at this point.

On the horizon, cable and satellite companies are already starting to feel the pinch in the realm of television with Netflix starting to produce its own content.

There is nothing in the current market, other than Amazon or another company like Google or Comcast, that could eventually develop their own online streaming markets big enough to topple the Netflix empire.

In the end, Blockbuster fell victim to its own inability to adapt its business model to the new age of digital and evolving technology. The time for action is now for non-streaming services to either evolve or fade away like VHS.

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