The fate of the Blockbuster movie rental chain really hit home this weekend when I saw a “for rent” sign on what was once a busy location. That particular shop — on a high-traffic Westchester, NY strip, across the street from a always-busy mall — was once a bustling spot, particularly on weekends. The economy is rough, of course, but I would have bet it would outlive its smaller neighbors.
It’s a tough time to be a video rental store owner wherever you are, but it’s especially tough if you’re Blockbuster Inc and have 6,500 stores to manage, thousands of employees, expensive debt repayments and a sinking share price.
Unlike many of us, media executives know what it’s like to play around with large wads of cash. So it seemed natural to ask them about what kind of investment opportunities they’re seeing when they gathered in New York this week for the Reuters Global Media Summit.
We caught up with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at the movie rental company’s event where it awarded a $1 million prize after a contest aimed at improving the accuracy of movie recommendations. He spoke about his hopes of working with Apple on the iPhone, the possibility that YouTube will beef up its movie service, and the future of the DVD.