Blockbuster’s a Dud
The end of a decade-long, slow death.
November 7, 2013 - 10:00 am
I have not set foot inside a Blockbuster during this century — and apparently the same was true for just a lot of former customers:
Blockbuster, the video rental chain that’s been pummeled by the rise of digital and on-demand entertainment, said it will close its 300 remaining U.S. stores by early January.
The Blockbuster By Mail service will end in mid-December.
Blockbuster’s current owner, DISH Network Corp., said there will be about 50 U.S. stores operated by franchises not affected by the announcement. But DISH said it is also closing all its U.S. distrubution centers.
Talk about bad management. Blockbuster was late to the party on three new forms of video distribution: mail, internet, and kiosk. They got trounced once by Redbox and twice by Netflix. They were slow to change, apparently figuring that people really liked standing around on cheap carpet under bad lights where the whole world could watch them trying to decide between Mack Chestwell Blows Everything Up Real Good or Bikini Girls III: Revenge of the Sling.
Netflix came along with a nifty web front-end for a mail delivery-and-return rental service. By the time Blockbuster had a decent copy of that, Netflix was busy moving into digital streaming. Where’s that Blockbuster app for your Apple TV? Um… they’ll get back to you on that.
While Blockbuster was spiffying up their stores, the smart folks at Redbox figured out that vending machines could do 80% of what Blockbuster’s stores do, for a fraction of the cost and at an even smaller fraction of the real estate footprint. Easier to move around to hotter retail spaces, too.
Thanks to Redbox and Netflix, watching what you want when you want is far easier than it ever was when Blockbuster was still king.
Now that’s capitalism’s creative destruction at work — and it didn’t require any government mandates whatsoever.