Not seeing the long tail means you’re going to get beat

Blockbuster’s CEO comes off as more willfully ignorant than anything in this interview as he opines on how he “doesn’t get” why people like Netflix and why people would want anything other than the most recent releases to choose from.

Moving past that, it’s obvious he has no idea what it is that makes the long tail effective and worth investing in. Because most of those movies that are outside the “new release” window have already been paid for many times over, most of the proceeds from renting them out are just profit. The owning studio isn’t going to take as big a chunk because they’re happy with the little bit it brings in now that they’ve largely paid what needs to be paid and are just into residuals now. So the middleman (that’s you, Blockbuster) gets to keep much of the money that’s charged from renting or selling them.

Plus, I’m sorry, but from a sheer movie point of view, the older films have much more re-watching value than something like Pirates of the Caribbean. So I might rent Hidden Fortress again but am not likely to do so for Dead Man’s Chest. Seen it. Nothing new I care to extract from it.

I don’t doubt that he doesn’t get what brings people to Netflix. I also don’t doubt that’s what he’ll be mumbling as he’s leaving the building with the contents of his desk in a box under his arm.