Blockbuster CEO Is Still Confused By The Long Tail

from the have-you-taken-a-look-at-your-competitors? dept

In 2004, Chris Anderson wrote his feature article for Wired Magazine in which he coined the term "the long tail" to describe the business possibilities made possible by digital distribution. Four years and one best-selling book later, the CEO of Blockbuster is still confused by the concept that has been utilized by Netflix to wreak havoc on his business model. Yet, in a recent interview, the head of Blockbuster, Jim Reyes, misses the entire point of the long tail.

In response to a question regarding the small catalog of Movielink, Blockbuster's digital download service, Reyes responded, "When was the last time you watched 10,000 movies, you know? I don't care how many movies are available to me. As my personal taste as a customer, I want to watch the new stuff so whether we have 10,000 movies or 200 movies it doesn't matter if I don't want to see any of the movies that we have." The point of the long tail is not to ignore the hits, but to make available more. While Reyes's quixotic opinion may appease viewers with very limited tastes, when distribution and content creation is exceedingly cheap, it makes no sense to limit content. In his original article on the concept, Anderson noted that one-fifth of Netflix rentals are outside the top 3,000 movies. Clearly, a sizable minority of movie-watchers want to see films outside Movielink's inventory that "is heavily weighted toward newer releases and mainstream staple titles."

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 20 Aug 2008 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    Actually, they're losing because they provide an inferior service. They're shipping times are slow. They have a significantly smaller selection. They have no streaming video option. And they cost the same. Hmmmm...

    The one option Blockbuster did have that made it worthwhile for a short time was the ability to trade in all your titles at the store. It meant I could get the 2-per-month plan and actually get 5 per month (trade in both movies and use the printable in-store coupon). It cost a little more than a single rental at the store. Alas, that turned out to be a heavily advertised, 90-day ploy to lure users from Netflix, then bait-and-switch by taking that option away or severely limiting it. After being treated like that, I will never use Blockbuster again.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.