I still drive by the Blockbuster stores in my area from time to time, wondering if there most recent plea for business is doing anything to stir up customers. They were advertising $0.99 rentals not long ago (but not for new releases), but now I just took a look at their website and it appears to be all about stealing Netflix customers after Netflix’s 60% price hike. It’s quite funny too. They APPEAR to have a streaming twitter feed of people talking about how they switched to BB and love it, but when I go to #HelloBlockbuster on Twitter, it’s just as many people (if not more) saying Blockbuster stinks and they won’t switch.
But I started writing this to say that even though I am a Netflix customer (and used to be on Blockbuster’s plan which was fine before streaming came along), I still like the option of walking through a video store and seeing both new releases along the wall and the “oldies” available as well. Redbox is great, but just doesn’t have the selection. Netflix, for some dumb reason, never quite shows the new releases when I select “New Releases” from the menu. However, when I know one is available that just came out and I search for it, it pops up. I don’t get that. Blockbuster also had a decent amount of used games for purchase, though their rental prices were outrageous.
I read this article today about a video store called Vidiots in Santa Monica today and it’s very interesting what they are trying to do. The goal is to make the store more of a social gathering for people not only wanting to rent movies, but discuss them and even participate in movie-themed events:
These happenings don’t actually happen in the store itself — they are staged at “a sleek space called the Annex,” which opened about a year ago. “We felt that with Netflix and the internet, what we should be focusing on was community and people talking to each other,” says Patty Polinger, co-owner of Vidiots with her business partner, Cathy Tauber. “We just wanted to go to the other extreme.”
They also go on to talk about the knowledge of people at the video stores in regards to movies. This is not always a plus, as I don’t want someone recommending Frederico Fellini’s “8 1/2” every time I am there. If I am in the mood to watch “Crank 2” (which I’m not), I don’t want them making a face when they go to ring me up. In other words, “knowledgeable about film” usually translates to “movie snob”.
As I said, even though I have not stepped in a brick and mortar movie store in some time, I would love for them to continue to be a fabric of society. I’ll hope for some kind of resurgence if not for me or my children, but for my children’s children’s. By that time, they probably won’t need a TV or monitor to watch a movie, but rather they will see it in the air around them, much like the kid of SyFy channel’s “Alphas.”
Now I think I will go watch something on Netflix.