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Video Industry a Victim of Instant Gratification and Laziness

6 Apr, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

I love these competing Netflix and Blockbuster commercials that are on TV now.

In the Netflix ad, a harried housewife touts the benefits of the online rental service as her family goes berserk in the background.

In the Blockbuster one, a husband tells his wife he's going to Blockbuster to pick up a movie and simply drives the car down the driveway to get his subscription-service DVDs out of the mailbox.

Now, I'm all for convenience, and I'm not naive. I know ads are all about hyperbole. But really, it's not like going to the video store is like a visit to the dentist or the post office or going to pay a utility bill.

Renting DVDs is about being entertained. Why is it deemed such a chore all of a sudden?

Again, I understand the convenience issue is a great selling point for these online services, but so is the breadth of content they can offer, and in Netflix's case especially, the reccommendational and informational aspects are just as attractive to the consumer. Most of my friends who love Netflix love it because they can spend so much time browsing through the content discovering new films that may not be available elsewhere.

These two ads are really directed at a specific group of American consumers — the ones who will avoid, at all costs, getting off their butts and actually making some kind of a time investment in their entertainment propositions. Sure, people are in a time crunch — I've heard the term “time bankruptcy” bandied about a lot lately. But we're also lazy as Americans. We want instant gratification, which is also why VOD services and TiVo devices are growing so popular.

It's that at-a-click mentality, and I'm not knocking it. I just find it funny.

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