What do Netflix and Roof Reports have in Common?

Advancement of roof measurement

Film historians consider 1939 the greatest year in the history of Hollywood. Gone with The Wind debuted that year as did The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and Of Mice and Men.

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out on the streets of Atlanta for three days of fanfare leading up to the premiere of Gone with the Wind. Nearly 2,000 people saw the film that day at the huge Loew’s Grand Theater and subsequent screenings of the film were presented in over 9,000 nickelodeons that blanketed the American landscape. Before long, millions of fans would find the means to travel to a theater, get in line and buy a ticket to see the epic film.

We live in a different world today. Since the advent of television in the 1950s, technology has gradually transformed demand and consumption habitats of movie viewers. The debut of Hollywood blockbusters still draw crowds to the theater, but the vast majority of viewers watch films on-demand via Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, Apple, YouTube and other video-on-demand venues.

It took 70 years for “Gone with the Wind” to achieve 200 million viewers. The trailer for 2017’s “Avengers: Infinity War” had 200 million views within 24 hours!

As technology advances, consumers abandon old ways and latch on to new ones. What was once considered cutting-edge suddenly becomes obsolete and inefficient.

Consumers also judge others negatively who haven’t caught up with technology. Think about it this way. What would your friends say if you still owned a VCR and watched movies you had on a shelf full of VHS tapes? They’d still love you but it’s likely you’d be on the receiving end of a few barbs!

The Evolution of Movie Watching


1930s - 1940s

In Film Entertainment: First, there were only theaters. You had to get to one, then wait in line to buy a ticket.

In Construction: Lines form for mass produced, modular materials as the 30s and 40s see precursors to a new age of technical efficiency. By World War II innovations in building including standard-sized components make measuring and cutting custom materials far less necessary. The war sapped much of the labor force, so contractors had to find new efficient methods. Fabricated structural materials which could be assembled on site in a repetitive fashion, were being developed rapidly and sheetrock became the dominant building material used in the U.S.

modular construction

1950s - 1960s

In Film Entertainment: In the late 1950s television came along, but full length films rarely appeared on the “boob tube.” Theaters were still the only real option for seeing a new movie.

In Construction:  The post WWII period was a time of prosperity and population growth. People were moving to suburbs away from city centers and multifamily living situations. New home construction was booming, exemplified in  planned communities like Levittown, New York, completed in 1951.  Thousands of new homes were literally mass-produced to create the cookie-cutter suburb. Contractors were able to accomplish such a feat thanks to measurement consistency which contributed to overall efficiency.

progression of roofing tech


In Film Entertainment: Sitcoms hit the airwaves in a big way during the 1970s. All in The Family, Sanford and Son, M.A.S.H. and many more witty satires on the American experience kept viewers glued to their TVs. Movie theater attendance was on a decline due to competition with TV.  Now, 90% of U.S. households had a television set, even more than the number of homes with indoor plumbing. Technology found a way to get ahead of itself!

In Construction: Contractors still didn’t have the tools to advance beyond manual measurements, but a light was appearing at the end of the tunnel. Microsoft opened for business in 1975. Soon computer technology would find its way into every home and business.



In Film Entertainment: In the 1980s you could watch a movie “on-demand” by renting a VHS tape at a rental store. You needed to own a machine called a VCR. Oh, and “Be Kind… Rewind!”

Also in the 1980s, Premium Cable including HBO was spreading to households.  But people still had to wait for their movies to eventually air.


In Construction: At the beginning of the decade, IBM introduced its Personal Computer (PC) with a massive advertising campaign. It was a seminal moment for growth of the personal computer market, revolutionizing business computing by becoming the first to gain widespread traction in the corporate world. The PC was a treasure trove for application developers because now there was a tremendous “ecosystem” to sustain compatible software and peripherals.

In the 1980’s, CAD (Computer Aided Design) started to be used widely by architects, construction project managers, engineers, and building designers. The Digital Revolution was in full swing!

blockbuster goes bust


In Film Entertainment: Blockbuster became the giant of the video rental store chains, eventually having 9,000 locations! When DVDs came along, movie rental-by-mail became feasible and a savvy new innovator entered the market, Netflix. The upstart came to be after Reed Hastings, Netflix founder, was charged $40 for late return of “Apollo 13” to Blockbuster.

VOD (Video On Demand) became available in the 1990s, too. Certain movies could now be watched whenever you pleased. This cable service cost $22/month in 1995. In 2015 it was up to $69.

In Construction: Cellular phone technology came in like a lion during the decade of the 1990s with companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson making inroads with the earliest smartphone technology. Contractors now had a new tool that helped them coordinate projects with work crews and customers, as well. But few contractors could imagine that someday soon they would be able to perform roof measurements and roof inspection reports right from their own smartphone. That would soon be so with iRoofing’s revolutionary, do-it-yourself roofing project app!

netflix vs roofing technology


In Film Entertainment: Now, the dominant video rental companies were Blockbuster, Netflix and Redbox which placed DVD rental kiosks at convenience stores.

Netflix was dominating the video-by-mail segment while Blockbuster held on to the rental store paradigm and struggled to secure a foothold in new distribution models. Consumers gravitated toward the convenience and value of Netflix, Redbox and cable TV’s on-demand offerings.  On September 23, 2010, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy.

In Construction: Google Maps was launched in 2005. Now, the construction industry could readily access satellite images of Earth. A door was opening to opportunities for third-party tech companies to create software solutions and sell services to the industry. The first and main provider for 3rd party reports formed in 2008 and a handful of copycats followed. Akin to video rental stores which charged per movie rented, the 3rd-party roof measurement services charge a fee for every roof report created. But, what was yet to come was an easy, do-it-yourself mobile solution for unlimited measurements and estimates at a set monthly fee.

anytime anywhere convenience


In Film Entertainment: The game changer came when Netflix appeared on iPads in 2010. A few months later, its app was available in the App Store.  Now, people can watch as many movies as they want for one low monthly fee. Plus, there are plenty of streaming options – Roku, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more.

In Construction: This was the decade iRoofing came into being (2011). Now there was an easy, do-it-yourself mobile solution for unlimited measurements and estimates at a set monthly fee.  Almost all pre-installation roofing tasks could be performed anywhere, anytime thanks to satellite and aerial imagery and a simple, intuitive user experience. Roofing contractors were now able to meet a property owner for the first time, fully prepared to close the sale.

Television progress smartphone


In Film Entertainment: Streaming on 4G and 5G, high-speed internet access is moving thousands of people away from TV entirely. An internet connection is all you need to access any media you desire, including first run movies. Streaming platforms are so successful that they’re producing their own quality content by some of the best directors. Big Hollywood studios are competing now with Netflix, Disney, and Amazon Prime.

In Construction: What has happened in Hollywood is happening in almost every industry where technology presents better ways of satisfying customers’ needs.

The benefits of roofing technology parallel the benefits of movie watching thanks to technology and its practical, cost-efficient alternatives to schlepping it to a theater.

In 2020 iRoofing will continue empowering roofing contractors with enhanced cloud computing capability to support project collaboration, sharing and saving data across teams and managing crews. More will be possible on the company’s iPhone app to match the capabilities of its tablet version. Soon, iRoofing will release its desktop version, making the software the perfect back office solution for roofing contractors whether they specialize in residential or commercial.

All DIY roofing software endeavors to streamline productivity (measurements and estimates). iRoofing not only has advanced productivity tools but it’s sales presentation tools make it uniquely useful to contractors creating unlimited roof reports and closing more sales.

Progressive roof tech infographic

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