Blockbuster LLC, much like the VHS tape and the Walkman, will now become a relic of the past. The good old days of in person video renting will now be a distant memory, with the final Blockbuster LLC video rental stores closing its doors by the end of this year. The staple of American stay-in movie nights has seen its last days as a result of the increased usage of online video streaming, and more convenient video rental sites like Netflix and Redbox. Blockbuster LLC says it will officially end its DVD distribution operations by January 2014. The remaining 300 Blockbuster LLC stores will close in the coming months.
Blockbuster LLC which is a subsidiary of DISH Network, has had itself an impressive 28 year run, officially opening its doors in 1985, headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.
At Blockbuster LLC’s peak, the company boasted over 60,000 employees and almost 10,000 locations nationwide. Despite the impact Blockbuster LLC has made on the film industry, competition from rivals Netflix and Redbox proved to be too much after the company filed for bankruptcy in September of 2010.
Joseph P. Clayton, Dish President and chief executive reluctantly spoke to Blockbuster LLC’s decision to close its doors, saying that “This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,”
Blockbuster LLC had even expanded internationally, operating in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. DISH promises it will continue to honor Blockbuster’s international and domestic franchise “operations, relationships and agreements.”
Franchise locations and licensed stores are set to remain open according to DISH.
Blockbuster LLC may not exist physically, but it will remain as a virtual asset to the DISH network, which will offer its consumers Blockbuster on Demand, an in-home movie rental section similar to the competitors that put Blockbuster LLC out of business.
According to DISH, Blockbuster @Home service will include up to 15 movie channels, including those that other cable companies charge extra, including Starz, Cinema, Epic, Hallmark Movie Channel, in addition to a selection of over 20,000 movies and tv shows.
For consumers who were accustomed to the face to face interaction that went hand in hand with that late night Saturday movie fest at their local blockbuster, are disappointed that digital competition has trumped traditional customer service.
“I think it’s a shame, really,” said Susie Morris, a 48 year old woman who rented from her local Rohnery Park store frequently. Meanwhile more technologically apt groups said the move towards digital subscriptions is a natural one, and one that will ultimately benefit the customer.
“You just do it online; it’s so much easier,” said Scott Edwards, a 55 year old male who was interviewed outside of his local Blockbuster on Wednesday following the news of the closures.
Meanwhile brands like Netflix and Redbox are growing at a rate similar to that of Blockbuster LLC at it’s height, and many consumers are wondering when the next big thing is going to come along and knock digital providers off their block.
The process of closing down stores will continue into January, with last minute deals on DVD’s selling for as little a $1, as the company attempts to scrape the last few pennies it can out of its once prestigious position as America’s #1 video rental retailer.
by John Amaruso