Morgantown, West Virginia – Back in 2002, big red boxes started showing up outside of supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, grocery stores and mass retailers.
These kiosks featured touchscreens with the latest DVD movies inside that customers could rent for $1 a night. Customers who had been renting movies at Blockbusters or at a local movie rental place were accustomed to paying $4.99 a night per movie.
While it’s difficult to change the habits of customers, the convenience, price and overall product that Redbox offered was simply too good to pass on. While some people continued to rent movies for $4.99 at Blockbuster and resisted Redbox for some time, eventually everyone realized that Redbox was the far better product, and Blockbuster (and all family movie rental places across the country) were put out of business.
Redbox eliminated the competition because they had a superior business model to their rivals. They were cheaper, faster, easier to use.
Blockbuster, a proud company that had been around for a very long time, fought valiantly to stay afloat before ultimately realizing that they had been beaten at their own game. They attempted to discredit Redbox. Blockbuster despised Redbox because Blockbuster couldn’t beat Redbox.
Covering West Virginia sports is an absolute honor for me. Unlike virtually every other journalist covering the Mountaineers, I am proud to be from West Virginia and I’m a proud West Virginia University alum as well.
When I bought The Voice of Motown, I revolutionized the art of getting information on the Mountaineers out to its incredible fanbase in the fastest, best, most efficient way. Because of this, I was called a “clickbait monger”, “a person who only cared about the money”, a “cancer to West Virginia University.”
247 Sports, led by Chris Anderson and Mike Casazza, spear-headed this charge. They are, in essence, the Blockbuster to my Redbox/streaming services. While I produce interesting, speculative articles and break news faster than anyone in the West Virginia media, they charge $9.99 for a product that customers could get at The Voice of Motown for free.
Chris and Mike are very aware that their product is dying. Who goes to a message board for information in 2021? And who pays $9.99 a month for it? Like Blockbuster, they will do whatever they can to hang on until the bitter end with a small collection of people that still enjoy wasting their money on the message board, just as people continued to walk into Blockbuster and knowingly spent more money for an inferior product when Redbox was right outside.
I understand their dislike of VOM. We’ve beaten them and we’re going to put them out of business. They know that. Their business model hasn’t changed since 1990 and there’s superior products out there that are totally free.
I do like clicks. It would be disingenuous and dishonest to say that I didn’t. Every person that covers any team online is a slave to clicks. It’s how we get paid. Every single writer covering West Virginia sports – if they’re any good at their job – wants to break a story or have their article posted first because that’s what pays the most money.
The Voice of Motown just happens to be the very best at it. The bitterness and jealousy from other outlets towards VOM is disheartening but of course very understandable. After all, we’re all Mountaineers, and we’re all cheering on the same teams and student-athletes.
It’s my hope that in the year 2021 and moving forward, that we can come together as Mountaineers without the resentment and animosity from other outlets doing the very best they can to survive.
Here’s to an outstanding 2021!