Raise that Cow and Milk Her Fast

For Chapter 4 -- "Spot On"

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In the previous post, I wondered aloud why you'd invest resources developing a new production model – CGA – for a dying genre, the 30-second TV commercial. "Diving headlong into a draining pool," was the image that sprang to mind.

Still, you could have said the same thing about Blockbuster Video. When Viacom paid $8.4 billion to Wayne Huizenga for his video-rental empire in 1994, the binary code was already on the screen. The distribution of video via VHS tapes, and later DVDs, was a business whose days were already numbered.

Video-on-demand was already being experimented with. It was as if Sumner Redstone had read about the Wright Brothers and rushed out to buy a railroad. And, sure enough, in the new millenium Blockbuster has tanked (although thanks more to Netflix DVD-by-mail than digital video-on-demand.

Nonetheless, in the intervening time, the doomed company generated more than $60 billion in sales. In other words, just because a business isn't forever doesn't mean there's no money in it right now. On this point, believe me, I am an expert. I make a living criticizing 30-second TV commercials.
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