Blockbuster takes a jibe at Netflix over new password-sharing policy

Blockbuster took a jibe at Netflix over its new password-sharing policy. The video rental service, which once ruled the market but eventually lost to Netflix, made people nostalgic by reminding them of the good old days.

“A friendly reminder that when you used to rent videos from us. We didn’t care who you shared it with… As long as you returned it on time,” it wrote while tagging Netflix.

When Blockbuster was reminded that it had a chance to buy Netflix but “passed on it”, there came a witty reply, “I’m an intern. I barely have permission to have a lunch break. I didn’t pass on anything.”

One of the users on Twitter remembered, “Blockbuster was a whole experience that I miss. Friday night Blockbuster and Pizza Hut nights were the best.” “You just unlocked forgotten memories from my childhood. Jeez, those times were amazing,” said another in reply.

What is Blockbuster?

Blockbuster, once a dominant force in the video rental industry, has seen a dramatic decline in recent years due to the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ Hotstar. Before the advent of these popular platforms, Blockbuster held the reins as the premier video rental company in the United States throughout the ’90s and early 2000s.

During its heyday, Blockbuster boasted an extensive network of 6,000 stores worldwide, attracting customers with its vast collection of movies. However, the company’s strict late fee policy, which accounted for a significant portion of its revenue, became a source of frustration for many customers, including Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix.

Hastings, disenchanted with the exorbitant fines he incurred at Blockbuster, founded Netflix as an alternative video rental service that eliminated late fees. With its innovative model of delivering DVDs directly to customers’ homes for a flat monthly fee, Netflix quickly gained popularity and proved to be more profitable than its brick-and-mortar rival.

Ironically, Blockbuster had an opportunity to acquire Netflix for a mere $50 million. However, the company ultimately decided against the purchase, a decision that would prove to be costly. As Netflix continued to grow and revolutionise the way people consumed entertainment, Blockbuster struggled to adapt. Despite having a staggering 9,000 stores globally, employing 60,000 individuals, and generating $5.9 billion in revenue in 2004, Blockbuster eventually succumbed to its mounting challenges.

In a bid to salvage its business, Blockbuster attempted to modernise by eliminating late fees and launching an online platform. However, these efforts came too late, and in 2010, Blockbuster was forced to file for bankruptcy. Today, only one solitary Blockbuster store remains, located in Bend, Oregon, serving as a nostalgic reminder of a bygone era.

Netflix’s new password-sharing policy

Netflix has been evolving and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the streaming industry. Recently, the company has taken measures to enforce its policy of account sharing, emphasising that a Netflix account should only be utilised within a single household.

This move comes as Netflix introduces new features such as Transfer Profile and Manage Access and Devices, aiming to enhance the user experience while maintaining account integrity.

Updated: 26 May 2023, 09:29 AM IST

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