The sad demise of the high street has continued this week with Blockbuster calling in the administrators. Days after both Jessops and HMV filled for administration, the video rental chain called in Deloitte to look for a new buyer. Over 4000 jobs are at risk, adding to the 6000 potential redundancies from the two other companies.
The writing has been on the wall for Blockbusters for several years. Quite frankly they have not been able to challenge online companies and the offerings they provide. Like HMV, Blockbusters failed to adapt and suit its customers new buying habits. Instead of diversifying and offering DVDs by post and then by online streaming, Blockbusters were content to stay in store.
The internet has changed the way customers obtain and view movies at home. When Blockbusters realised the threat online, they were too far behind to catch up with their competition. The combination of running brick and mortar stores and competing with cheaper online options has inevitably been too much.
The role of Smart TV, games consoles and smart devices such as tablets have all contributed to Blockbusters downfall. From someone who has significant experience in electrical retail and more specifically television sales, ‘smart’ application such as LoveFilm and NetFlix were huge sale swingers. It’s the concept of accessibility. With huge arrays of films and television programming available from your own home, using LoveFilm or NetFlix simply became easier than driving to your local Blockbuster.
I will always have an affinity with Blockbusters as it reminds me of my childhood. My Father and I were regular customers who would pick up new movie releases on VHS and then DVD. Apparently another two million were still loyal to the company. However, Blockbusters problem was shifting these customers over to its belated online offering and re capturing customers lost to its competition.
This example is another sign of a huge company stuck in its way. Blockbuster had the brand and the reputation to move into, and be successful, in the online arena. But like HMV, they failed to see the importance of the internet until it was too late. Yet again, we have seen the importance of online retail and how it has changed consumer buying habits for ever.