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"Historic Blockbuster Store" Offers Glimpse of How Movies Were Rented in the Past (Ha!)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 25, 2014 at 11:31AM

Alas, hindsight is, as they say, 20/20.

Some Friday humor, courtesy of The Onion.

Watching this (and laughing my arse off) I remembered reading about Netflix offering itself for sale to Blockbuster, multiple times in the early 2000s (not exactly all that long ago), for $50 million, and Blockbuster management (also the largest video rental chain at the time, and for many years prior) seemingly lacking the vision to see where the home video industry was going at the time, turned their noses up at the idea.

How quickly fortunes change. A mere 10 years later (actually it too less than that), Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy and shut down all of its operating stores nationwide; while Netflix flourishes (an understatement, as the company is now valued at around $26 billion! I'm sure if Blockbuster brass could peek into the future back in the early 2000s, and see that their then $50 million investment to buy Netflix would be worth $26 billion a decade later, they'd have most certainly made the deal). 

Alas, hindsight is, as they say, 20/20. 

Granted, at the time, Netflix was still a DVD-by-mail company, and didn't have their streaming service yet, so maybe Blockbuster management didn't believe that the business, as it was then, was worth $50 million. But, in the end, Netflix still ended up beating them to the punch when it came to streaming, emphasizing, again, their lack of vision in what was, at the time, a rapidly changing world that directly affected how consumers consumed their entertainment. By the time Blockbuster came around to building its own streaming service, Netflix had already established itself, and had been embraced by consumers.

How will we be consuming our movie and TV content in another 10 to 20 years? I really can't say, but I'm sure companies that are in that space are already considering what lies ahead, in order to stay ahead of the curve, and not get left behind like Blockbuster was a decade ago.

Watch (and weep):

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