Blockbuster Closing Remaining Video Stores by Early 2014

By Will Ashton

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Yesterday, as I was checking out a movie at my local library, just as I was about to leave, the man behind the counter joked as he checked out my movie that “We might as well call ourselves Blockbuster now.” In typical sarcastic fashion, I remarked, “You probably could now,” in half-serious fashion.

Now, in life’s true nature of making me feeling guilty, it has just been announced by Dish Network, who owns Blockbuster, in a press release that they will be closing the remaining 300 open Blockbuster stores by early 2014, along with discontinuing its rental-by-mail system by the end of 2013. They will, however, be continuing to offering movies digitally.

Although video stores, besides the occasional Family Video, have already been closed for some time now, this has been called by some the “end of the video store era,” and I suppose they are right. Blockbuster was, and will probably always be, considered the king of the video stores, essentially being the Starbucks of video stores as they ended many mom and pop video stores throughout their business run. For better or for worse, as a cinephile, I will always be grateful for the numerous videos I have checked out from their stores over the years. Thanks for the memories, Blockbuster. I’ll always remember to be kind and rewind.

The full press release can be read below:

DISH Network Corporation DISH today announced that its subsidiary, Blockbuster L.L.C., will end its retail and by mail DVD distribution operations by early-January 2014. The company will close its approximately 300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores, as well as its distribution centers.

“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH president and chief executive officer. “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.”

The Blockbuster By Mail service will end mid-December and will serve existing customers until that time.

Over the past 18 months, Blockbuster has divested itself of assets in the United States, as well international assets, including operations in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. DISH will continue to support Blockbuster’s domestic and international franchise operations, relationships and agreements.

DISH will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company’s significant video library. DISH will focus on delivering the Blockbuster @Home service to DISH customers, and on its transactional streaming service for the general market, Blockbuster On Demand.

The Blockbuster @Home service offers over 15 movie channels including STARZ(R) Cinema, EPIX(R), Sony Movie Channel, and Hallmark Movie Channel, plus over 20,000 movies and TV shows streamed to TVs, computers or iPads(R). The service includes access to the Blockbuster @Home ‘app’ currently available to the millions of TVs served by DISH’s Hopper(R) Whole-Home HD DVR set-top box.

Available to anyone, Blockbuster On Demand is a transactional streaming video service offering thousands of movies viewable on connected devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones, Slingbox, Roku and select Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players. Consumers can learn more at http://www.blockbusternow.com.

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