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Blockbuster’s a Dud

The end of a decade-long, slow death.

by
Stephen Green

Bio

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.

****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

Stephen Green began blogging at VodkaPundit.com in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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Eventually the Redbox kiosk will go bye bye too. I'm wondering how many years it will take before the bookstore is a relic of the past.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Until the web/E-reader shopping experience can give you a better blind search option than what get on your Nook or Kindle book stores will be around. I go to Barnes and Noble solely to add books to my Nook wish list. I find a lot more books in person than using the software.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I go to Barne & Noble solely to read stuff for free, and occasionally to buy a Starbucks, but only if I really really need a coffee. I prefer to get my Starbucks @ a real Starbucks, where I can get free refills cuz I am a cheapass, ditto on the free reading at B&N. Ditto for the free internet at both places. But seriously, B-buster mostly sucked anyway. Their rates were too high when faced with the competition from Netflix, at first the mailorder part, and then the streaming, and then from Redbox, but now, mostly there are virtually no movies made for people with a brain AND a sense of humor. As far as the ebooks go, I would rather hold paper in my hand. Just sayin.............................
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Apparently you don't mind stealing, and being a "cheap ass", so I'm not sure you are qualified to judge a movie made for someone with a brain and a sense of humor. Just sayin ...........
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been wondering that, too.

They've been given a year or two to live every year since about 1995, so I don't know...


44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
R.I.P. BLOCKBUSTER!! I will miss Blockbuster, because...1) I am NOT a FAT-@$$ who is too lazy to walk through the Blockbuster store to choose from their MUCH LARGER selection than Redbox. 2) I don't want to pay a monthly subscription fee to Netfiix when there are often months that I don't have time to watch ANY movies. 3) I don't want buy (then have to store) DVD's. 4) My T.V. service is the free Antannae type...hence, no movies. 5) Thus far I have NOT been impressed with the quality of Streaming Video, so I don't want to do that either. Blockbuster was always my "Plan B" for when I didn't have time to go see a movie when it was in the Theaters...so I will miss my Plan B!! :(
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The lazy fat asses are what killed Blockbuster? I thought it was the lack of convenience when compared to Netflix. Who knew? Gotta love that NTSC 525 line interlaced scan video on that good ole CRT - looks VASTLY superior to streaming HD on the internet machine. That Betamax thing must have pissed you off eh? I mean VHS? Really? Also, don't even get me started on 8 track tapes and records.... I remember when the local drug store had vacuum tube testers for TVs.... damn commies ruined that too.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't get cable either and I only watch movies occasionally. Amazon has pay-per-view rentals. No monthly fee's and I think the streaming quality is excellent.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
But can you learn the proper use of apostrophes on Amazon?


Apparently not.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
And can you be a dickhe*d in the pjmedia comments section?
Apparently you can.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have some fond memories of blockbuster. You don't just pick a movie and leave. You browse around the place, checking out newly released movies or video games, try games in their game stations, maybe buy a popcorn or snack. I was renting movies from there as recently as mid 2000s.

I think cable and internet piracy might have killed BB more than netflix. All the big films will eventually find their way to basic cable networks within 2,3 years of theatrical release. I saw the first Iron man films and Fantastic Four movies on FX, so glad that I didn't pay 15 bucks to see them. You can watch TV shows online. I'll never pay 8 bucks a month for netflix.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
In all honesty, I didn't even know Blockbuster was still around in any form.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yea standing in line outside the Mcdonalds' drive thru waiting my turn to view a single computer screen that offers a truncated choice of high school comedies, high school slasher and zombie flicks, chick flicks and Hollywood's current list of crappy movies is a far better experience than browsing thru my local Block buster with infinitely better selection. If Blockbuster failed because they were behind the curve on technology I can accept that, but I do not accept the premise that Redbox or Netflicks are better for the simple reason they offer limited choice, and as a consumer in a still somewhat capitalist country I want maximum choice, not the choices decided by PC censors who stock the lousy kiosk selections I have to queue up and wait my turn to view.



44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is that most consumers didn't. They just wanted the latest releases. The people who wanted choices didn't find them at Blockbuster either.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
This. This is the comment.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blockbuster made sense when VHS was still kind of the video media format. Once DVD came around Blockbuster should have started changing its business model. It even had advanced warning when Hollywood Video folded.

Like you said, creative destruction at its finest: Netflix and Redbox created new formats for video delivery and destroyed Blockbuster. Now there will be a gaping hole in the shopping center I go to. Maybe I'll open up a bong shop or something...
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
bong shop?...you mean you'll go into the hydroponic business for all those sick people who need medical pot. Apparently all those sick people are in CA, WA, and CO because I haven't found any in TX.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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