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  • Tom Butler

Don't be the Blockbuster of Tomorrow


With its own production studio and over 100 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix has evolved from a startup, mail-in DVD rental service into a network onto itself. The transformation seems nothing short of impressive, taking into account that when Netflix approached the video industry’s then-800 pound-Gorilla Blockbuster way back in 2000, offering itself up for $50 million, Blockbuster laughed and turned down the offer.


In a recent survey by Cowen & Co. to determine which broadcasting platform viewers today use most, 27% said Netflix, 20% said basic cable in general, 18% answered broadcast television, and 11% answered YouTube. Among adults 18 to 24, Netflix’s has nearly 40% market share!


How did this world get turned upside down?

As much as it tried to remain relevant, Blockbuster didn’t realize quickly enough that DVDs, VHS tapes, or driving to your local strip mall to rent them would soon become an obsolete way of reaching consumers. Perhaps it was simply not connecting effectively enough to all of its varied target audiences, not just the market share it already owned.


Blockbuster is not alone:


In the 1970s and 80's, Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes competed during primetime in the “Battle of the Network Stars” to immense ratings. Top actors on shows from the big three – CBS, NBC, and ABC – competed in various sporting events. It was must-watch TV. Now together with the fourth broadcast network, FOX, they get a combined share of only 18% of the market they once owned outright.


What these two examples illustrate is about keeping far ahead of your competitors, by communicating frequently and effectively with your existing consumers, while continuously leveraging that pipeline to further develop and expand market share, especially as technology allows.


No business leader wants to be the last CEO of a once great company or one that is stagnant in its market. Today's best business leaders are expected to be the public face and voice of the organization. Always evaluate, how are you as a company or CEO reaching your consumer, your marketplace or your investors, and how do they perceive the message?

These days, NBC and ABC now offer full episodes online and CBS is going even further with CBS All Access offering 10,000 episodes, live TV, and CBS Access Originals all online. It is clear these networks now get it, and are pushing harder to recapture more of their once immense entertainment industry footprints.


With each passing business quarter, at minimum, always measure and reevaluate how responsive your firm is to the metrics that impacts your market sector. What is the reputation of your firm and can you evolve and grow that presence to expand into new markets? People follow and respect leaders. Is your company leadership effectively messaging about your services, your product, or your vision, in order to command the respect and attention you deserve? Being proactive with your reputation and brand is critical in order to avoid becoming the Blockbuster of tomorrow.

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