Hot on the heels of Blockbuster UK re-entering administration, the US branch of the company has announced the ending of its long term love affair with physical retail, closing up 300 stores and ending the employment of over 2,800 people.
The announcement was made by parent company Dish Network, suggesting that by January next year, every Blockbuster retail store would close and the rental by mail system would also be shuttered, leaving only the streaming part of the company alive.
“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said Dish CEO Joseph P. Clayton. “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.”
Initially purchased by Dish back in 2010 to the tune of $320 million, the parent company has done little to innovate the service, instead opting to gradually whittle down locations that proved unprofitable, which at this point in the company’s life is almost all of them. Despite having over 4,000 outlets when it was purchased, Blockbuster now has only 300 stores left, with those now facing the last two months of their lives.
A similar situation has been happening in the UK, though ironically the buyout here was hoped to give the new owners a chance to create a digital platform for the UK, but it was repeatedly roadblocked by the people at Dish, in what was either deliberately damaging or at best, a selfish move to not dilute the US Blockbuster @Home and Blockbuster On Demand services.
KitGuru Says: This has been on the cards for years. It’s hard to think of the last time I rented anything from a physical store. Six or seven years at least and at least five since I had a DVD through the post.[Thanks GamesIndustry]