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Netflix Is A Blockbuster Buster

Nowadays, when I talk to my sons I feel like all of my stories begin with, “Once upon a time.”  However, it seems that I’ve begun to enjoy a modern entertainment platform to move me far away from the branding of “Fuddy Duddy Old Man,” which seems to be my default in the face of my children.
I think that middle-aged people like me believe that you have to admire Netflix.
When I was a younger man, we had video stores: the biggest of which was Blockbuster.  Blockbuster was a “super” store.  It contained a vast library of mostly family-friendly video content that was affordable and accessible because there was a Blockbuster in every neighborhood.
Blockbuster had some limitations.  It was a physical store with actual hours of operation, and even though it was open 7 days a week and closed at midnight every night, it opened at 10 am in the morning which could leave you craving video entertainment in the deepest hours of the night.  Also, Blockbuster charged late fees, and for failing to rewind the videos there was a naughty charge.  A positive was that when Blockbuster obtained too many copies of an item, they sold the extra copies at a fraction of the cost (sometimes $5), and for many of us, our video libraries were built on these purchases.  The video store was a very lucrative business.
Then came Netflix, which capitalized on the video store model and did it one better.  Netflix took old content languishing on store shelves, and via the internet, repackaged, and granted 24/7 access to that content.  There was a nominal monthly membership fee, so there was no per video fee restricting access.  You didn’t have to worry about lateness, or rewind charges, or even video availability.  You just had to worry about your wifi connection.
Binge-watching became a thing.  Watching the entire run of a favored TV series was now possible.  Not only can you watch the entire run of a TV show from start to finish, but Netflix keeps track of it for you.  You can watch several shows simultaneously or concurrently, with or without repetition.  You no longer have to wait for a Star Trek marathon.  You can watch Seven of Nine anytime you like.  (Yes, I DO know that she was in Star Trek: Voyager and NOT the original show.)
There’s more.  Not only has Netflix made your TV-watching time more efficient by demolishing your, “There’s nothing to watch” excuse, but instead of sitting back and reaping the riches of “re-runs,” Netflix has expanded it’s platform with original programming, as well.  Further, many of the original shows that Netflix puts out defy simple categorical niches.  Programs like Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, and the OA now stand a chance because they can be seen on a platform that celebrates true originality in a bold and enlightened marketplace as opposed to network television, which has to answer to picky sponsors.
You have to admire Netflix.  They busted the Blockbuster.

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Karandi
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Netflix and other online distributors have certainly changed the way people consume entertainment. It will be interesting to see in 10 years what the trend is then. (I still kind of miss video and DVD rentals because sometimes you found those weird straight to video movies that you would otherwise never hear about.)

rmcalzada
Guest

I’m glad I lived during both the era of Blockbuster and Netflix. I still have some good memories of going with my dad and best friends to the local Blockbuster on a Friday night.

talesoftheblackforest
Guest

Karandi, I totally agree that finding those Diamonds in the Rough was an unexpected pleaure of our visits to Blockbuster, but even trying to find them was difficult in most video stores that would rather rent movies with top stars doing amateur work. Rmcalzada, I too have great memories of wandering video store aisles with my family, trying to figure out what would be appealing entertainment to all of us. For a family of eight, it was an almost impossible task. Thanks to the both of you for sharing. I’m glad the article provoked deep thoughts and pleasant memories.

Jade
Guest

It’s crazy how much technology has evolved in just two decades. From VHS and LDs, to DVDs and Blu-rays. And now, streaming services! It’s cool that movies are so much more accessible these days. But I do miss going down to the stores and choosing movies based on covers. 😉

thehorrorjd0127
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Blockbuster had a huge impact on my life. I sometimes still miss going to the store, browsing through the aisles with the family and arguing over what to watch. Now we just do that from home lol

talesoftheblackforest
Guest

Jade and HorrorJD, there is a sense of nostalgia provoked by the thought of Blockbuster that seems to strike at the heart of familial bonds. In particular, Sunday afternoons with my huge dysfunctional family arguing for the right to choose the movie. Mom always wanted action; Dad wanted something meaningful; we kids always wanted horror.

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[…] added my dad to the author list and about me page. He’s already written a few things such as Netflix Is A Blockbuster Buster and An Argument For Watching The OA. EGC still remains very much my own endeavor, but my dad is […]