Final curtain for Blockbuster stores

Editor | 07-11-2013

In a move that is as expected as it is disappointing given the company's place in the annals of video distribution, Blockbuster is to finally close in January 2014.

The once mighty giant of high street video rentals was acquired by US satellite DISH Network in 2011 in a move described at the time as "highly strategic to its core proposition going forward". It was envisaged that Blockbuster's video rental chain would give DISH real estate to expand the number of satellite TV and wireless retail stores it required to fulfil its business plan.

But the plan has not come to fruition and Blockbuster is to close its remaining US company-owned stores and DVD By Mail services by early January 2014. This means the closure of approximately 300 remaining US-based retail stores, as well as its distribution centres.

"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," said Joseph 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."

Yet despite all of this, DISH maintained that it has not read the Last Rites to Blockbuster. It assured that it would 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 Cinema, EPIX, Sony Movie Channel, and Hallmark Movie Channel, plus over 20,000 movies and TV shows streamed to TVs, computers or iPads. The service includes access to the Blockbuster @Home app currently available to the millions of TVs served by DISH's Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR set-top box.

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.