Video rental services like Blockbuster have long since gone the way of the dodo. As fun and useful as they once were, high-speed internet eventually rendered them obsolete, and this was as true in Dublin as it was everywhere else. Bucking this inevitability, Netflix has recently announced plans to open physical locations to reintroduce the feel of these lost relics and try something new.
Though working with rentals is one approach considered by the media giant, Netflix has also announced that taking out or buying disks won’t be the only option available at physical stores. Looking for more of a full-featured TV and movie series experience, Netflix could be looking to redefine what the modern age of streaming means services mean.
While the first locations will open in the US, should it prove successful, Dublin could be soon to follow. So, what’s on offer, and could this concept be something that Dublin really wants?
The New Netflix Approach
It’s easy to forget, but Netflix first started as a company that would send DVDs out by mail. While it didn’t operate physical rental locations from its original business, the opening of Netflix stores is at least a little less out of the blue given this history. While all the specifics of the new stores are being kept under wraps, what we do know is that these locations will emphasise merchandise and show-related interactive experiences.
One option is already slated for experimentation in Los Angeles in December. Based on the popular show Squid Game, this part of the business would implement a “series of escalating challenges”. Winning would provide points, that can presumably be used for special merchandise, entry into local leaderboards, or perhaps brand integration into a new spin-off show.
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Why Try Something Different?
Netflix was the first big name in online movie and television show streaming, and its early arrival gave it a leg up on the competition. Too long resting on its laurels caused issues with the entertainment giant, where new services like Apple TV, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime rapidly gained ground. Now facing real competition, Netflix is looking to diversify its offerings to maintain its place in the pack.
Exploring new options isn’t new in the online entertainment space, with other industries long since having come to the same conclusion. Some of the highest paying online casinos are constantly evolving their services and offerings to stay fresh. These websites like Dublin Bet and MyEmpire compete by offering high RTPs, game counts, mobile access, and bonuses to extend beyond their traditional operating roots. Netflix’s development has mirrored these casinos somewhat in its development of games, but this could be just one step in Netflix’s overall plan.
Is Dublin a Good Match?
Dublin is no stranger to both sides of the creation and viewing process in entertainment. Each year we’re home to major events like the Dublin Theatre Festival, and our appreciation of streaming services is just as great as that experienced in the rest of the world. As for the possibilities of Netflix’s physical locations, that much could depend on whether the company focuses on shows that perform especially well within Ireland.
Squid Game could serve as a great launching pad owing to the show’s overwhelming international success. At its peak, it was the most-watched show in 90 different countries, Ireland included. This makes it’s it a natural fit for a new business, if a little broad. Including a themed obstacle course could also work well during the new year’s rainy season, as something to enjoy out of the house. Squid Game might no longer have the front-line visibility it held during its original launch, but its maintained legacy and upcoming second season would still make it a fine bet.
More curious is the potential that famous shows set in Ireland could have for integration into Netflix’s physical plans. Derry Girls could be the most popular modern example, though it could also be one of the more challenging options to integrate into a live experience. In the first stages of arrival in Dublin, taking such a regional lean could help, but doing so in a way that meshes with a locally inspired show and a broad enough audience might prove challenging.
Of course, all of this consideration could be for nought if the first stages of Netflix’s physical locations end up bombing. The odds are stacked against the once titan, but as Netflix’s success with its gaming service has shown, the company still has some tricks up its sleeves. If nothing else, we’d love to beat our friends in a Squid Game, and we’re sure we’re many other Dubliners would agree.