I was in Blockbuster yesterday, and started chatting to the staff. I asked them why Pan’s Labyrinth (good film) only has 2 copies shown, while Shadowboxer (worst film of all time) has 2 entire shelves worth of boxes on display.
They explained to me that they are not entitled to make choices. Head office sends them a certain number of display boxes. They have to put them up on the shelves.
Because of the location of the store, their customers tend to ask for a lot more niche and arty films than the national average. And the staff get really frustrated, because they want to do something about it – to please the customers. But they aren’t allowed.
Online video services go to such efforts to build and leverage contextual information. And they’d dream of having an untapped local community ‘ready to go’.
But what do Blockbuster do? They ignore it, and plod on.