What if Blockbuster beat Netflix?

By: Bryan Banner

May 16, 2020

What if Blockbuster won, and Netflix lost? Netflix more or less invented the streaming industry starting in 2007. I’m not fact checking this, but in my mind they were the first and still on top as far as quantity of content as well as user interface. I’m not here to debate whether or not Netflix is the best streaming service, (might do that some other time) but I want you to  imagine that streaming TV and Movies never took off and we were still buying VHS’s,  DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s.

We have gotten some of the best stories and storytelling over the past 10 years since Netflix dropped their first original content in 2010 with “House of Cards” (I think that card house fell or insert some Spacey joke here). With Netflix changing the game everyone was having to play catch up. I want to tell you three things that I believe would have been drastically different if Netflix streaming never took off and Blockbuster was still king. 

  1. We would not have great shows like Game Of Thrones, Westworld, and The Mandalorian. These would have never been created because they couldn’t be shown on cable TV leaving no medium for them to come out. You could shorten them to a two and a half hour movie, but thats a dumb idea. With Netflix serving as a platform for the content you can create something and drop it exclusively online. If it goes on to be successful and you can get big stars to star in it, then most importantly people would pay to watch it. If we didn’t have that we would be stuck watching shows like Prison Break, Desperate Housewives and The Amazing Race.

2.  I still think Netflix would have come out on top. They would not have destroyed them the way it actually went down, but Blockbuster would have significantly less stores. If there is one thing I know about Americans it is we love to sit our fat asses on the couch, drink beer and eat potato chips. If I have a choice to either not leave the house, but still get to rent a new movie or I have to put pants on, drive to the store, talk to people, and drive home. SPOILER ALERT: I’m not putting pants on. 

3. Kids these days will never know what it’s like to walk in somewhere and see rows and rows and rows of movies. As a kid when you first walk in you always go to the big cardboard cutout of Bruce Willis or Meg Ryan. They will never know what it’s like to spend an hour picking a movie that you have seen a hundred times. Kids will never get to see their dads cursing under their breath because your mom said you can get a $5.00 package of licorice that he knows isn’t going to get eaten.  

Because Blockbuster came to a gun fight with a wooden spoon, we have shows like Orange Is The New Black, Tiger King, Stranger Things, The Punisher, American Vandal, Sex Education, Ozark, F Is For Family, and Big Mouth. Netflix saw the future and had the balls to do what Blockbuster didn’t. They helped pave the way for use to enter an era of Television that will never be rivaled.

-Bryan “the mad scientist” Banner

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