Blockbuster Fully Dead At Last


It’s the end of an era. After years of getting absolutely demolished by Netflix, Blockbuster is finally closing down its 300 remaining stores and mail-in DVD business. In short, it’s dead. All the way dead.

I know that Blockbuster has become something of a running joke in recent years without immediately it was antiquated by Netflix, but I’m still sort of sad to see it go. This generation of kids will never know what it’s like to go to the video store, walk up and down the aisles and read the back of boxes to figure out which movie you wanted to see. There was heartbreak when they were out of a new release you wanted, and elation if you managed to snag the last copy.

Sure, it’s relic, and they could have taken a lot more steps to try and be a competitor to Netflix, but they barely got into DVD mailing, and almost never even put a toe into streaming movies. They seemed set in their ways, and it killed them, much like other physical media stores these days. I wouldn’t be surprised if in five years I’m writing a post like this about Gamestop, but they seem to have sold their soul in order to keep thriving in an increasingly digital industry.

Goodbye Blockbuster, I haven’t missed you lately, but you were a big part of my childhood nonetheless.

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  1. The video stores aren’t dead. They just need new models. There’s a small chain of video rental stores in my locale, and their business is booming. They know how to cater to customers.

    Blockbuster’s issue was constantly changing price plans, insane pricing models, and lack of customer care.

    An example: New movie comes out, rent it for $10 for one night. Hell, for that price, I can almost go to the movies to see it. One week later, rent it for $5 for a weekend.

    Unlimited rentals (Which were actually limited to 2 rentals per month): Double the price of Netflix.

    1. Exactly! I actually liked going to Blockbuster. Netflix usually has crap for streaming and I don’t always want to wait 3 or more days for a movie to come in. Unfortunately, every time I went into Blockbuster their pricing and rental conditions would change! How do you keep a business going if every time your regulars come in they are blind sided by a new price and policy? Poor management and inconsistent (on top of ridiculous pricing) killed this chain. Still, I am sad to see it go.

  2. As a former BlockBuster employee, I can state with perfect clarity that Netflix did not destroy BlockBuster. That’s a popular conclusion that people have drawn, but nowhere near the whole truth.

    BlockBuster was a terribly mismanaged company for YEARS leading up to its eventual demise. Now yes, it does play a role that services like Netflix exist, and the mind-boggling ease of pirating. Those all cut into profits. But my own store brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in PROFIT, AFTER operating costs. Our store was highly profitable, in a small market.

    BlockBuster’s problem was the fact that they had so many UNPROFITABLE stores that they REFUSED to close. Stores that just hemorrhaged money from the company. As a graphic example, in Canada, around half of the total number of BlockBuster locations were in the Greater Toronto Area ALONE. Now yes, that area is densely populated, but it’s also much more tech-savvy and people are more likely to engage digital avenues than in the smaller markets who still had thriving stores. A few thriving stores can’t keep a whole company afloat, ergo, the company ran out of money.

    It’s true that BlockBuster refused to get with the times. Absolutely. But let’s also not hail Netflix as the BlockBuster killer, when BlockBuster really sank their own ship.

    1. I agree. Mismanagement of ANY company will kill it! They dragged their feet about updating technology and, as you said, refused to close under-performers because, “There’s people there, they’ll come!” Management, sadly, did this to themselves. Netflix and Red Box just handed them the rope to finish the job.

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