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mygif

> Regular video stores were better for catalogue than Blockbuster was, and Blockbuster was better for catalogue than Netflix was.

But video stores charged $5/rental (near enough), had annoying rules about late returns and rewinding, periodically didn’t have what you wanted in stock, and generally required a 10-20 minute car ride to access.

Netflix runs me $12/mo, never charges me for anything except accessing the service, always has everything listed in their catalog, and is accessible the second I plant my ass in front of my TV.

I think there’s a real problem with getting a broader catalog of videos together, likely due to the tangle of licensing issues associated with older titles. And I don’t doubt it’ll take something like a major license-holder bankruptcy to shake a lot of that stuff loose. But I do think you’re missing the forest for the trees in this gripe.

Netflix might have a smaller library, but it has (a) quite a bit of good original content that mirrors/supplants the missing old stuff and (b) none of the hassle of physical media. This might be heresy, but I’d honestly trade another season of Stranger Things for a dozen 70s/80s-era off-brand horror flicks.

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mygif

I’ll disagree with Zifnab’s comment above, despite the valid complaints they have made about the problems with physical video stores of the past.

If you didn’t like a particular store/they didn’t have what you wanted on a given day, you could just go to the next store and try again.

This very much does not apply to Netflix, most especially in Australia, where your choices are a very limited Netflix, or 2-3 even more limited competitors with increasingly worse UIs and smaller catalogues.

And the average bricks&mortar video store of old wasn’t nearly as irritating (to me) with the intrusive and constant marketing. (cf: Here’s the latest new thing we’re pushing: We think you’ll hate it, but we’re still going to have it take up the top of the main page for weeks!)

Or the not infrequent ‘Ooops, we had that show/movie/doco yesterday but today we don’t! Too bad!’

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Disgruntled Manatee said on October 24th, 2017 at 9:36 am

Well I guess I deserve a “Schooled!”

Thank you for replying. Honestly, I am impressed with your knowledge and research abilities in finding pretty solid data on old school stores.

It sure *feels* like more things are being released more often and Neftlix is a bottomless well, but old video stores also existed more in my memory at a time when my own selection was limited to a few genres, no R ratings, and PG-13 only after Dad read the back and approved. And Netflix props up their numbers with bargain-bin international movies or low budget things it can likely license for next to nothing.

Plus, I have the pride/shame of being in the US. According to this site (https://www.finder.com/netflix-usa-vs-world-content) Canada has barely over half of the US selection (which does include Young Frankenstein).

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mygif

I’m lucky to live around the corner from a brick-and-mortar DVD store, and I can’t tell you how much I love it.

I’ve seen tons of movies I never would have otherwise (Montgomery Clift marathon, anyone?), just because the store stocks a wide variety of genres/titles, and the staff is happy to make recommendations.

It’s sad that more people aren’t exposed to cinema/music/art/whatever that isn’t mainstream and/or recent. My husband and I joke that if this DVD store ever closes, we’re moving.

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Mary Warner said on October 30th, 2017 at 8:13 pm

I still haven’t gotten over the loss of Hastings. Hastings stores always had a huge selection, including a lot of the independent movies I tend to love, both for rent and for sale.

And the local store seemed to be pretty profitable from what I could tell. There were always lots of customers. But unfortunately, it seems the parent company was badly managed in recent years. They still outlasted every other big chain I’m aware of, though.

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Unsurpassed Travesty said on October 31st, 2017 at 11:20 pm

Speaking as somebody who used to work at Blockbuster I’ll agree that they had skewed priorities, but at the same time I can also tell you that the giant wall of new copies of whatever’s hot was very much a needed thing, as we would invariably be out within a few days if the movie had any buzz whatsoever.

Mind you, after that first week the need dropped precipitously, but there you are.

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mygif

Unrelated to any of this, but I could only appreciate it thanks to the window you provided to Canadian politics: https://imgur.com/gallery/zLaEY

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mygif

I wrote a long post, but really: it all reads like a bunch of nostalgia tinting to me.

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mygif

The percentage of new videos is indicative of Netflix superiority if we know how many titles the averag blockbuster had – if blockbuster had about 2000 not good. If blockbuster had netflix like inventory good, greater than netflix inventory size really great

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mygif

To me, a lot of this debate reads as: the copyright term basically everywhere is way, way, way too long. The middle of the 20th century is getting hollowed out in our memory because of all this gating.

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mygif

You are my breathing in, I possess few web logs and sometimes run out from to brand.

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