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Friday, November 22, 2013

When Blockbuster Goes Broke -- Reflections


Blockbuster is closing its final 300 stores-save for 50 independent franchises-just nine years after 4,000 stores littered the nation. On demand video and online streaming have put it under for good. In the scheme of things, it was a short-lived experiment and it comes to teach us a lesson that we seem to repeatedly learn: technology alters all of life and tends to start with entertainment.

In the past century, look at how different devices and services have come and gone. Some lasted longer than others, but they all vanished as suddenly as they appeared.

Music devices are a good example. We’ve gone from stereos to record players to Walkmans to ipods. Big to small, physical to virtual, stationary to portable.

Computers went from heavy desktops to portable laptops to smart phones and tablets. Big to small, physical to virtual, stationary to portable.

TV, Radio, books, and other staples of information and entertainment are transferring their delivery systems and the consumer experience with them. It is the natural order of the technology evolution at play.

So why do some of us get upset to see such changes take place?

True, no one will miss walking the aisles of Blockbuster for 20 minutes, looking to find a movie they haven’t yet seen and that is also available. No one will miss late fees because they forgot to return a video they misplaced. No one will miss getting a VHS tape home to find it’s damaged or the wrong movie. No one cared to come to the store to find out it had just closed. BUT, once you get used to a certain way of life and see it as an improvement over the prior way, you get a bit sad that suddenly such an institution is completely gone.

I try to go with the flow, especially when something new is truly better. But it takes time to adjust. And then once you get acclimated to change, boom, something new arrives. For a nation built on honoring tradition and durability, sometimes absorbing constant change can challenge us. 

Blockbuster was a good thing while it lasted. And the increased availability of content via the Internet that replaces it is even better. There’s no question about that. But I still pause at the rapid pace and depth of change that continually redesigns our entertainment and information landscape.  I can only look around and wonder:  What’s next?

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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