B is for BLOCKBUSTER


A – Z

I’m proud to be a part of a wonderful organization called the Writers of Kern. They are having a “Blog Challenge” and I’m participating. I’m writing my normal two blogs per week but challenging myself to be prompted by the alphabet. Hope you can read all twenty six from A-Z. For more good reading check out the Writers of Kern’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/95572300558/

B is for BLOCKBUSTER

Seems funny that the first dictionary definition of the word “blockbuster”
is still “A HUGE EXPLOSIVE BOMB.”
Many decades ago Hollywood, Broadway and Publishers took that word and used it to promote successful movies, plays and books. They still do. Yet dictionaries still insist the first meaning of the word is a bomb…the exact opposite of what the media means.

In 1985 it was the perfect word for a movie rental store.

Maybe?

Blockbuster should have observed Valentine’s Day the way the Los Angeles Public Library is this year. The LA library just sent out an amnesty Valentine’s plea asking that all books please be returned with no “late fees” from Feb 1st to Valentine’s day.
That’s nice.
They have even guaranteed that no matter how late you return their books, you may still check out new books in the future.
That’s nice, too.

Years ago Blockbuster should have done that, they still might exist.
Probably not, but hey, just sayin’.
Blockbuster Video

Blockbuster pissed off a customer, Reed Hastings, who kept the movie “Apollo 13” too long. They charged him $40 in late fees. Hastings had a friend and former co-worker, Marc Randolph who wanted to sell something, anything, over the internet.
Reed said he knew just the thing they could sell together. And they did.

Behold NETFLIX!
netflix-logo

After organizing in 1997 they began their monthly subscription of DVDs in 1999. They had immediate success. Anyone who looked at their business model knew the sky was the limit. But, businesses are created to be sold and in 2000 they offered NETFLIX to Blockbuster for $50 million.

Blockbuster said, “ehhhhhhhh—shove it.”
By 2004, Blockbuster had 60,000 employees and over 9000 stores. They didn’t need Netflix.

The rest is history.

Last week, Netflix reported that it had 75 million subscribers worldwide including 44 million in the U.S.

The last financial report from Netflix showed a market value of $32.9 billion.
That’s two billion bigger than the entire CBS Network.

In the meantime Blockbuster tried the DVDs in the mail thing.
They filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
Disk Network bought them and scrapped their plans to compete with Netflix. They offer a “video on demand” service and still have a whopping 51 rental stores open (down from 9000).

Maybe all the dictionaries had it right all along.

Blockbuster is a great big BOMB!

Hope you have a wonderful relaxing fun weekend!

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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5 Responses to B is for BLOCKBUSTER

  1. Jenny Estes says:

    You are too funny, Dan! I enjoy your tongue in cheek style. I never liked Blockbuster. You bring in such interesting facts. Very enjoyable.

  2. joanraymondwriting says:

    Blockbuster was our go-to place to get movies for years. Seems I remember there was a huge fee if you ruined your VHS movies by leaving them on the dash during our wonderfully warm summers. Netflix was easier, plus you didn’t have to worry if you kept the movie out past midnight on it’s due date. Thanks for the fun post.

  3. dluhman says:

    Ha-ha! Another good one, Dan.

  4. khotisarque says:

    Netflix has long been one of my favorite companies; everything works extremely well and the selection of DVDs is immense. Your insight into its origination is fascinating. But the day of the DVD will surely pass, like the audio cassette and 8-track and VHS before it; technology is such a transitory thing. Let’s hope the Blockbuster equivalents, bookstores and libraries, manage to preserve their niches, even if only on the scale of sheet music and vinyl records.

    The real blockbuster bomb, 12000lbHC, was a monster. But its successor at the end of WW2 was even more so, the Grand Slam 21 feet long and weighing in at 22000 lbs. Big enough that, to carry it, bomb doors had to be removed [or carried externally on a B-29] There was one, a casing at least, at a base I served on in the 1960s. For a picture go to https://shortfinals.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/a-bigger-bang-the-22000-lb-mc-grand-slam-bomb-brooklands-museum/. Used against Germany in the final weeks before they surrendered. After that one, the next step up was a whole new technology [Hiroshima and Nagasaki]. The T-12 in the late 1940s was even bigger, 20 tons, but has never been used in anger.

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