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Why Blockbuster Failed and Netflix Succeeded

At the turn of the century, Blockbuster reigned supreme in the video rental industry. If your family craved a movie night, someone likely had to drive to one of Blockbuster's 9,000 stores, stroll through rows of DVD-lined shelves, and hand a membership card to a blue-clad employee. When Reed Hastings, founder of a fledgling startup called Netflix, met with Blockbuster CEO John Antioco in 2000 to propose a partnership, he was laughed out of the office.

Despite changing consumer preferences, Blockbuster doubled down on its store-first model by offering popcorn, books, and toys, while Netflix experimented with a subscription model and no late fees. Only 10 years later, Netflix became the largest source of streaming Internet traffic in North America during peak hours, with over 20 million subscribers. Blockbuster declared bankruptcy.

Possible Preaching Angles: We in ministry have a similar choice before us. Our calling and message should never change. But, like a doctor refusing to attend medical conferences, if we don't regularly step back to look at innovations in our vocation, we will miss opportunities to influence people.

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