In Be Kind Rewind, Michel Gondry depicted a Blockbuster type megastore with its shelves of DVD’s as the sterile modernistic counterpart to the old fashioned VHS community rental store, but the reality is that the Blockbuster store is just as endangered as the old VHS rental store and in an ironic twist the neighborhood store may outlive it yet.
Blockbuster’s problem is its physical inventory, even as consumers increasingly use the computer to centralize their video entertainment shopping and rentals. Netflix got it early on, Blockbuster video gets it now but doesn’t have much of a way out. Blockbuster’s proposed Movielink set top box might help bail out Blockbuster and sideline Apple’s own attempt at the same thing with Apple TV or get there before Time Warner unveils its own version of the same thing or before the Xbox 360 steals the action. But the odds are not on Blockbuster’s side.
Blockbuster’s proposed purchase of Circuit City seems like a clumsy way for the giant to try and dodge the inevitable bullet with a last ditch effort. Circuit City is doing badly and its purchase certainly won’t be a solution to Blockbuster’s inventory problems, nor is Circuit City, a failing chain, the ideal platform for pushing a device that needs to be universally promoted if it’s to make it into enough homes to matter.