The writing has been on the wall for some time. Blockbuster Video, which once boasted something like 9000 video stores in the United States alone, has been limping along for latter half of the 2000’s, with a bankruptcy filing in 2010 and the elimination of all but 300 stores over time. Now those last 300 hold-outs are going to go the way of the dodo. After refusing multiple chances to buy Netflix, which has since grown into a $20 billion business, and then failing to get into the streaming video market for entirely too long (and then trying to continue to force people into brick and mortar stores after that), a once proud American institution is disappearing. Blockbuster Video will be closed by 2014, wiped from the American landscape. Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, Red Giraffe… another dead video store chain to add to the list of places I once visited.
“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said Joseph P. Clayton, president and CEO of Dish. “Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings.”
Blockbuster currently has two digital offerings, Blockbuster On Demand and the Blockbuster@Home television package. Both of those will continue to exist as part of Dish Network’s offerings, and no doubt they’ll find some other way to leverage the brand. Meanwhile, Blockbuster’s rental-by-mail service and various distribution centers will also be closed; franchised stores will stay open, but who knows for how long without the support of their parent company? Dish paid $320 million for Blockbuster at an auction in 2011.
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