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⚙️ Table Talk #116: Why Blockbuster Went Bust 📼

As falls from glory go, Blockbuster’s was meteoric. 
For twenty years, their stores were cultural keystones. No child of the nineties could imagine life without them. 
Then, almost as fast as they spawned, they collapsed. Streaming swept in, beliefs changed, behaviours followed. Today’s Table Talk marvels on quite how fast the world can change.

The first Blockbuster opened in 1985, a modest neighbourhood store in Dallas, Texas.

To say it mushroomed, is an understatement. By the early nineties they had over a thousand stores, by the turn of the century they had almost ten thousand. Clever acquisitions and seemingly insatiable demand fuelled wild growth.

Perhaps more astonishing however, was quite how deeply ingrained in everyday life their stores became.

There was a universality about the weekly family pilgrimage to your local shop. The quarrels in the car over whose turn it was to pick, the giggles over anything ‘18-rated’, the frustration when your tape hadn’t been rewound, the joy of watching your film three whole times because you’d rented it for three whole days.

The stores were seas of entertainment and part of life.

So how and why did Blockbuster fall?
The pundits, with a handy dose of hindsight, blame it on three main things.
  1. The company wedding itself so puritanically to a bricks and mortar model, getting lost in gumballs and popcorn, while competitors were doubling down on digital
  2. Their unwillingness to adapt and evolve 
  3. Not buying Netflix when they had the chance
Blockbuster’s success was phenomenal, but their fast demise goes to show quite how fast entrenched beliefs and behaviours can change. In 2008, Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes famously commented that "Neither RedBox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition." In 2010, they filed for bankruptcy. 
When the benefits of breaching the status quo become clear, the world doesn't wait around.
Look at alcohol-free beer, a category long held at arms length, and now widely embraced. It’s what makes us oh so excited to have taken residence in the underdog category of alcohol-free wine.
Despite most stores shutting up shop in 2010, there is one Blockbuster store that somehow slipped the net.
If you’re ever in Bend, Oregon, a cultural must is visiting the last Blockbuster standing
A familiar cocktail of blue and yellow branding, a treasure trove of nostalgia.

The Official Last Blockbuster
Photo Credit: CNN

Last week we were busy working, but Eclat, our zippy new sparking white, went partying with Loriley Sessions and boy did it have a good time.

Until next Wednesday, 

Luke x

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