Trouble at the Video Store Part 2

My last post [Trouble at the video store] seemed to have caused a bit of an “OMG I Know” stir in the comments.

Here is the other shoe.

Clearly the video rental model, like that of the CD store is well known, even by it’s owners, as obsolesced industry coasting through it’s sunset years. Despite a diminishing base, they can probably make money a while yet provided they don’t have to invest heavily to change anything. Sure it’s increasingly anachronistic, but if the system still works for now, what the heck right.

What’s bigger though is the much broader parable to retail in general.

There’s a lot of the connected and information-rich experience we now take for granted in online shopping world which is still conspicuously and almost entirely absent not just at Blockbuster but also at your favourite clothing retailer, home/office despots, grocery store or nifty boutique for that matter.

So much thought, tech and innovation poured into eccommerce shopping. Yet the grand prize, the retail retailing market is still out there and nearly 10 times as big. A few innovations like credit cards and elevator music aside, in 2008 we’re still shopping at retail with pretty much the same experience we had in 1908.

what gives?

There’s a general category to file this thought under: Easy Web2 stuff + thinking outside the screen + ubiquitous rich connectivity = the next big thing

  • Ken Seto

    I completely agree. There are a lot of opportunities to bring elements of Web 2.0 experiences to physical spaces. Especially public spaces like museums. Anyone know a good architect with an open mind and good connections? 🙂

  • Ken Seto

    I completely agree. There are a lot of opportunities to bring elements of Web 2.0 experiences to physical spaces. Especially public spaces like museums. Anyone know a good architect with an open mind and good connections? 🙂

  • Video stores are a dead business.

    So are the phone and cable companies. They’re just hanging on.

    Their version of ‘innovation’ is to look for the next great technology that will let them beat the other guys. All of them compete this way.

    This just prolongs their suffering. Someone please bring them down from that cross!

  • Graeme Donnelly

    Blockbuster is a particularly stolid example of the videostore. Taking another example however, such as Queen Video, which operates on the same principle (except they usually just display one copy of a video they have many of) and it is possible to see it still has a few advantages web 2.0 hasn’t yet figured out yet.

    Firstly, people who don’t/can’t use the great interweb can still rent DVDs–a dwindling population, to be sure. Secondly, i’ve yet to see any interface that allows me to browse almost random titles with such ease. (Of course, when browsing on line, I tend to know what I’m looking for, which may be colouring my view.) At Queen Video my entire field of vision can be filled with movies that i need, nay, NEED to watch! Maybe I should just sit closer to my monitor?

  • Graeme Donnelly

    Blockbuster is a particularly stolid example of the videostore. Taking another example however, such as Queen Video, which operates on the same principle (except they usually just display one copy of a video they have many of) and it is possible to see it still has a few advantages web 2.0 hasn’t yet figured out yet.

    Firstly, people who don’t/can’t use the great interweb can still rent DVDs–a dwindling population, to be sure. Secondly, i’ve yet to see any interface that allows me to browse almost random titles with such ease. (Of course, when browsing on line, I tend to know what I’m looking for, which may be colouring my view.) At Queen Video my entire field of vision can be filled with movies that i need, nay, NEED to watch! Maybe I should just sit closer to my monitor?

  • I think you just need a bigger monitor. Or like 3 of them? 😉

    More seriously, the retail environment is still great. It’s the real world. the question is more how can you get connected technology and your monitor into the video store – not how do you stuff a whole video store into your monitor.

    were always trying to stuff the real world into tiny screens, and create recreate thin pixilated versions of real worlds as online “environments”. My point is, lets stop that. Lets take everything the tiny screens are actually good at (being connected to people, knowledge and networks) and lets embed the screens in the real world (retail being an example) rather than only the other way around.

    not virtual reality.

    augmented reality.

  • I think you just need a bigger monitor. Or like 3 of them? 😉

    More seriously, the retail environment is still great. It’s the real world. the question is more how can you get connected technology and your monitor into the video store – not how do you stuff a whole video store into your monitor.

    were always trying to stuff the real world into tiny screens, and create recreate thin pixilated versions of real worlds as online “environments”. My point is, lets stop that. Lets take everything the tiny screens are actually good at (being connected to people, knowledge and networks) and lets embed the screens in the real world (retail being an example) rather than only the other way around.

    not virtual reality.

    augmented reality.

  • queen video survives (although for how much longer we don’t know) because it’s a physical place for trusted, curated knowledge, the physical, non-digitally networked precursor to the tomato-meter. this is where you go when you want to explore what’s off the beaten path – their rep for a certain flavour of media has been created for the exact reason stores like blockbuster are failing (and rottentomatoes is thriving) – through commitment to quality, authenticity, diversity, ideas.

    give this sense of place and ambiance, this rep for authenticity and quality, a digital nervous system, and link that to my digital life as well as ripping me a disc made to order (bespoke video? ;), and methinks i’ll make the trek up the block.

    YES to physical place augmented with the affordances of digital space. i can haz dataspace?

  • queen video survives (although for how much longer we don’t know) because it’s a physical place for trusted, curated knowledge, the physical, non-digitally networked precursor to the tomato-meter. this is where you go when you want to explore what’s off the beaten path – their rep for a certain flavour of media has been created for the exact reason stores like blockbuster are failing (and rottentomatoes is thriving) – through commitment to quality, authenticity, diversity, ideas.

    give this sense of place and ambiance, this rep for authenticity and quality, a digital nervous system, and link that to my digital life as well as ripping me a disc made to order (bespoke video? ;), and methinks i’ll make the trek up the block.

    YES to physical place augmented with the affordances of digital space. i can haz dataspace?

  • Graeme Donnelly

    augmented reality. i like that. that IS what’s needed.

  • Graeme Donnelly

    augmented reality. i like that. that IS what’s needed.

  • siobhan mclaughlin

    Great couple of posts! I had a similar experience when I thought I would go and buy a CD after not having bought any for quite some time. I dutifully went to HMV on Yonge. I passed stacks after stacks of AC/DC Back in Black but when I got to the World Music section I could not find the Youssou N’Dour CD I was after.

    Youssou N’Dour is a huge international star in Africa, France etc. I was so annoyed, I went that night over to Soundscapes on College Street and they had it (and more great African music)! But no AC/DC.

    Soundscapes is similar to Queen Video, the people who work there have the knowledge to pick out great stuff. With so much music available now my problem is not getting my hands on it but its the recommendations I need!

    sio.

  • siobhan mclaughlin

    Great couple of posts! I had a similar experience when I thought I would go and buy a CD after not having bought any for quite some time. I dutifully went to HMV on Yonge. I passed stacks after stacks of AC/DC Back in Black but when I got to the World Music section I could not find the Youssou N’Dour CD I was after.

    Youssou N’Dour is a huge international star in Africa, France etc. I was so annoyed, I went that night over to Soundscapes on College Street and they had it (and more great African music)! But no AC/DC.

    Soundscapes is similar to Queen Video, the people who work there have the knowledge to pick out great stuff. With so much music available now my problem is not getting my hands on it but its the recommendations I need!

    sio.

  • Tom,

    Just saw this onion vid and made me think of your post!

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/historic_blockbuster_store_offers

  • Tom,

    Just saw this onion vid and made me think of your post!

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/historic_blockbuster_store_offers

  • Ha! that’s perfect, they nailed it.

  • Ha! that’s perfect, they nailed it.

  • Video stores are a dead business.

    So are the phone and cable companies. They're just hanging on.

    Their version of 'innovation' is to look for the next great technology that will let them beat the other guys. All of them compete this way.

    This just prolongs their suffering. Someone please bring them down from that cross!