If you’re anything like me, your first thought reading that headline is: Blockbuster still has 300 stores? Apparently yes they do, but the number is dwindling as the closing of 300 stores means the video rental franchise will only have about 550 stores left in the United States. For those who aren’t mathematically inclined, that means about 35% of existing stores are being shut down. Yikes.
Company spokesman John Hall said that some of the locations will be closing due to expiring leases while the rest will be shut down based on performance. He claims that Dish Network still sees value in the Blockbuster brand, but they will continue to evaluate profitability on a store by store basis.
Blockbuster had about 1,700 stores open when Dish Network acquired the company in April of 2011, which was still a far cry short of the 9,100 that were open at its peak. However, after closing about 500 last year, even the days of 1,700 stores are a distant memory.
Redbox and Netflix have already run most of the traditional video-rental stores out of business, and with the prevalence and growth of those services it seems the closing of the final video store is inevitable in the near future.
As much as I enjoy the convenience of Netflix and the new movies that are available at Redbox, I do miss having traditional video rental stores. Whenever something isn’t on Netflix instant it’s a lot harder to find a copy than it was a few years ago. In the year or so since my local Blockbuster closed, my movie collection has more than doubled due to being forced to buy movies I previously would’ve just rented.
Unfortunately, unless the traditional stores are able to come up with a revolutionary new business model, the days of your favorite director getting his start working in a video store will soon be no more.
What do you think of this mass Blockbuster closing? Is there any way the company can save itself? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.