It's the end of an era for home entertainment as former movie rental giant Blockbuster will soon close the remaining 300 or so operational stores in the US and shut down its DVD-by-mail service. Dish Network, who purchased Blockbuster for $228 million in cash back in 2011, said it wasn't an easy decision but consumer demand is clearly moving toward digital distribution of video entertainment.
Blockbuster was founded in 1985 and quickly put many smaller mom & pop video rental shops out of business. At its peak, the company maintained nearly 10,000 retail stores. Viacom acquired the brand in 1994 and spun it off a decade later but the slow transition from physical media to digital distribution as well as the meteoric rise of Redbox was too much for the chain to overcome, eventually leading to bankruptcy.
Dish said they will be closing the mail service by mid-December with the retail operation to follow in January 2014. We are told that franchised and licensed stores will remain open.
That doesn't mean the Blockbuster brand is dead, however. Dish president and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said that despite the closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, they continue to see the value in the brand and expect to leverage it as they continue to expand their digital offerings. True enough, the company's movie channel package - Blockbuster On Demand - will remain operational moving forward.