After several years of decline, parent company Dish Network has decided to call it quits on maintaining Blockbuster’s physical presence. To be honest, we’re surprised it took this long.
The popularity of video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Instant, paired with the arrival of movie rental kiosks like Redbox, have had retail establishments like Blockbuster on life support for the last five years. But now the plug is finally being pulled. According to a recent statement from Dish Network, the company will shutter the last remaining 300 retail locations by early January 2014 and halt its by-mail rental service by mid-December 2013. All remaining distribution centers will also be closed.
It was September 2010 when Blockbuster filed bankruptcy after having lost a battle against roughly $900 million in debt. Then, in July of 2011, Blockbuster closed up 200 of its stores. In an effort to keep the brand relevant, Dish Network rebooted Blockbuster’s on-demand service, later appealing to iOS device owners with an iPhone and iPad-friendly app.
While the stores will disappear along with Blockbuster disc sleeves in the mail, Dish isn’t giving up on the brand entirely. According to the company, it will “retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company’s significant video library.”
For Dish customers, that means the Blockbuster @Home service will stick around, which includes over 15 movie channels including Starz, Epix, Sony Movie Channel, Hallmark Movie Channel and over 20,000 movies and TV shows. For non-Dish customers, the Blockbuster On-Demand video rental service remains available through “PCs, tablets, smartphones, Slingbox, Roku and select Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players.”