Blockbuster To Close Final U.S. Stores

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The final Blockbuster stores in the United States are on the verge of closing:

Blockbuster retail stores have become a rare sight in the United States in recent years, but soon they will disappear completely.

Dish Network, which acquired Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction in 2011, announced Wednesday that the video chain will close its 300 remaining retail stores in the U.S. by January of 2014. The brand will instead move to a streaming-only model.

“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” Joseph P. Clayton, president and CEO of Dish, said in a statement. “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.”

In 2004, there were some 9,000 Blockbuster stores nationwide. Between streaming, On Demand, and RedBox, though, their usefulness quiickly faded away.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    Typo: quiickly

    Do people actually use RedBox? I see them but I don’t know anyone who actually uses them, at least outside of doing it once or twice for novelty’s sake.

  2. ernieyeball says:

    @Jeremy: Do people actually use RedBox?

    Don’t know where you are but in my small town (20K) they have expanded locations and doubled the size of existing units. I do not use them but I see people lined up to rent at all hours of the day and night.

  3. john personna says:

    @Jeremy:

    I have used RedBox quite a bit, before I reverted to my city library, which has a good new BluRay selection for a buck.

    The trick to RedBox is to find a location near you but which is not heavily used. For me that was one by a 7-11, rather than one in a market. Then you get good selection and low price.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    I don’t use RedBox…as I have DirecTV and just about every channel you can get…including pay-per-view movies and events.
    But the RedBox at the local Stop-and-Shop always has people standing in front of it.
    An sure enough…the Blockbuster store located at the front of the plaza has been sitting empty for a year or more.

  5. They really blew it by not buying Redbox when they potentially had the chance. They could have used their brand name power to make themselves into a Netflix alternative – adapt or die.

  6. MBunge says:

    Family Video currently operates 775 stores in 19 states and Canada and is growing. While online movies, Redbox and other things played a role, Blockbuster went out of business for the same reason so many other companies do. They got too big, took on too much debt and then collapsed.

    Mike

  7. Al says:

    @Solomon Kleinsmith:

    Acualy, Blockbuster had a chance to buy Netflix for $50 million. They turned the offer down.

  8. ernieyeball says:

    @MBunge: Of three major video rental outlets here in Sleepytown only Family Video is left. Hollywood Video is now a $$$ Store and the (not so) old Blockbuster store is now the Mattress Firm. All three built new buildings. Family Vid was first up.
    Another feature of FV. The building was 100% video when it opened. Several years later the floor space for video was reduced, sectioned off and now houses a Little Caesars Pizza. The FV in a town 20 miles away is partnered with Chineese carry out. I have seen this arrangement in other FV outlets.
    I always thought it funny that Family Video rents porn too. Must be a big family!

  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball:

    I travel a lot, frequently through small towns. I’m actually seeing Family Videos open–quite often. I do not know the reason for this.

  10. john personna says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Do they identify small towns with bad internet?

  11. ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson: They are likely a front for selling weed to high school kids.

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    Blockbuster had a RedBox like Kiosk in my Safeway store. I guess that will be going away as well. My local Albertsons has a RedBox Kiosk both inside and outside but I have never seen anyone waiting to use them. I have both netflix streaming and disks and I occasionally stream from Amazon. The streaming from Comcast is simply too expensive.

  13. Matt says:

    @Ron Beasley: I only really have two complaints with netflix. The fairly limited streaming selection and the audio quality of some of their streams. I have a very stable cable based internet with more then enough bandwidth to properly handle any current streaming technology. So I know it’s not bandwidth issues on my end.

    Redbox gets used quite a bit here in this fairly large Texas town oops I mean small city….

    I’ve used it a few times myself over the years. There are lots of locations in my area allowing for a good selection. If I had more disposable income at this moment I imagine I’d use redbox more often.

  14. James Pearce says:

    This is kind of sad considering that Blockbuster provided this youngster his first legit paycheck….

    But the end of Blockbuster is somewhat comforting. Competition works.

    Netflix is known for streaming now, but back in the early days, they were known for “NO LATE FEES.” (It may come as no surprise that late fees provided a significant source of revenue for Blockbuster.)

    At that point, the only advantage Blockbuster had was its ubiquity, its deep catalog, and the brand recognition. Netflix’s rentals-by-mail service mooted the ubiquity advantage, soon surpassed the deep catalog advantage, beat them on price and NO LATE FEES.

    People voted with their feet. That’s a good thing.

  15. Ron Beasley says:

    @Matt: The thing I like Netflix streaming for is not so much movies but their catalog of documentaries.

  16. Todd says:

    Video Stores Explained To Modern Kids:

    http://youtu.be/26eQ3QpNB6Q

  17. Donald Sensing says:

    @Ron Beasley: “The thing I like Netflix streaming for is not so much movies but their catalog of documentaries.”

    Absolutely! I am making my way through Ken Burns’ Baseball right now – and there are ,any others to get to.

  18. Matt says:

    @Ron Beasley: Yeah that’s one of the things it’s good for.