Blockbuster Is Closing All of Its U.S. Stores

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 6 2013 1:23 PM

Blockbuster Finally Admits No One Still Goes to the Store to Rent a Video

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A sign marks the location of a Blockbuster video store on January 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Blockbuster on Wednesday admitted defeat in the video-rental business it once dominated. The chain's parent company announced this afternoon that it will shutter all 300 of its remaining U.S. stores by early next year. It will likewise bring an end to its Netflix-inspired DVD-by-mail service in December. Here's the Chicago Tribune with the details of a decision that seemed inevitable to anyone with high-speed Internet:

The company, owned by DISH Network Corp., said franchised and licensed stores will remain open. DISH also will keep the licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand and its video library. DISH said it will focus on the Blockbuster streaming and on-demand services currently offered to customers.
"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," said DISH President and 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."
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The number of Blockbuster brick-and-mortar stores scattered around the country peaked in 2004 at about 9,000, but the chain's business model was more or less destroyed by Netflix's DVD-by-mail and online-streaming services. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September of 2010, and was then bought by DISH in a bankruptcy auction for about $320 million the following year.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.