After nearly thirty years in operation, video retail chain Blockbuster is officially shutting up shop for good.
DISH Network Corporation, which acquired the video retail chain out of bankruptcy in 2011, will close the last remaining 300 U.S.-based retail stores and its mail DVD distribution operations by early January. The Blockbuster By Mail service will end mid-December.
Starting in 1985, Blockbuster quickly grew throughout the 1990s into a multi-billion dollar company which employed 60,000 people across 9,000 stores at its peak back in 2004. Over the next few years though the company fell apart due to mismanagement and obsolescence in a field that’s changing at a lightning pace.
After tens of millions were spent getting rid of the previous chairman, the new CEO in 2007 opted to de-emphasise the company’s fledgling online service and stick to its in-store retail-oriented model. That was a mistake, as rival disc-by-mail service Netflix, rental kiosk service Redbox, and more recently streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon and on-demand cable quickly swallowed the market.
In an official statement, DISH president Joseph P. Clayton says: “This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment. 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.”
DISH will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company’s significant video library.