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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blockbuster to Close 300 Stores

Posted by on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 7:16 AM

Deadline Hollywood:

“Some of the approximately 300 stores are reaching the end of their lease and others are closing based on overall performance,” company spokesman John Hall says.

Blockbuster put any number of local video stores out of business in rural areas, and now the Blockbusters are closing. I know if you want to rent a movie anywhere near where I grew up in Maine right now, you'll have to go to a Redbox, which means you will only be able to select from a very narrow cluster of recent mainstream movie releases. There are still quite a few people in this country who do not have the bandwidth—or the willingness—to rent movies online, and even then, the movies available through iTunes and Amazon's streaming service tend to be recent, mainstream releases. This is what happens when you rely on a single corporate entity for anything, be it Blockbuster or Borders Books & Music or Netflix or Amazon.com.

 

Comments (35) RSS

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Joe Szilagyi 1
They cannot compete versus the bottom line of Redbox, Netflix mail delivery, and Internet delivery from sources like Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and ISPs/cable companies. There's just no way to, at all, and except for niche locations like Fremont here locally these businesses just will not be able to survive in the long term any longer. That ship hasn't just sailed. It cleared the distant horizon years ago, and the world of finance is finally catching up. Even if, hypothetically, the USPS totally imploded tomorrow it wouldn't save them. Redbox, it's inevitable clones, and the Internet would remain.

Hell, just on TV alone. We cut the cord on cable TV proper about 3 months ago to Internet only. Between our existing Netflix digital account and a Hulu Plus my wife added, with a little torrenting of some foreign content, we aren't missing anything we really want to see, and we're no longer watching some stuff that we no longer even miss. As much as I'd like to see, oh, the next episode of something like Alphas or Warehouse 13, I'd rather mess around with my son on the floor or play Xbox in my spare time.

Once that cord is trimmed back, it's hard to give a shit any longer, and that's going to have even broader, more reverberating impacts on the entertainment industry over time. I bet you that every +1% of the US population that gets broadband will directly, over time, translate to a -0.25% reduction to the bottom line of many entertainment industries. The more people get online, though, the more cottage industries will grow and new ones will spring up, like Netflix and Hulu, pushing that -0.25% to -0.30%, and ever closer to 1.0% in the long run.

Similar to how book stores are being gutted by e-readers, really, and brick and mortar stores by the Internet in general (cf Target stores price matching the entire Internet, now). It's on the one hand rather glorious, and on the other sad. But it's the world we live in, and nothing will ever change that back now, for better or worse.
More...
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on January 22, 2013 at 7:56 AM · Report this
2
Videoport in Portland, Maine is a wonderful independent video store that's still going strong thanks to Mainers' commitment to buying local.
Posted by catsnbanjos on January 22, 2013 at 8:14 AM · Report this
3
Libraries anyone?
Posted by BlahBlahBlahg on January 22, 2013 at 8:21 AM · Report this
4
A single corporate entity, such as these four different entities. Not sure what point you're trying to make here. Does Netflix refuse to mail movies to Maine?
Posted by David from Chicago on January 22, 2013 at 8:24 AM · Report this
5
@3: My county library system has an extensive collection of children's movies and TV shows, but all the adult stuff is educational, or exercise programs. The only mainstream non-kid DVDs are Secretariat and the two Tron films, for some unexplained reason.
Posted by jzimbert on January 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 6
One great thing about Netflix is that they have undercut the power of the MPAA, along with it's effects - industry self censorship, misogyny, homophobia, etc. No longer are film makers so afraid of the dreaded NC-17 rating; in fact a lot of movie makers don't even care if they get a rating these days. The success of movies such as "Short Bus" is a prime example.

I'm glad that Blockbuster is mostly dead. Not only did they destroy mom and pop video stores, they also censored movies in that they wouldn't rent not rated and NC-17 films. And some movies actually were made more "family friendly" in order to be rented at their establishments.
Posted by passionate_jus on January 22, 2013 at 8:39 AM · Report this
disintegrator 7
There are still Blockbusters?
Posted by disintegrator on January 22, 2013 at 8:44 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 8
If you want to know more about the MPAA, might I suggest "This Film Is Not Yet Rated", which is a great documentary on how the MPAA affects the movie industry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Film_I…
Posted by passionate_jus on January 22, 2013 at 8:44 AM · Report this
9
@3 I agree. If the free market can't sustain a video rental chain, then that's just the way it is. Libraries will have to pick up the slack. Now if libraries close down, that's another matter.
Posted by Lumpmoose on January 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM · Report this
10
Has the Post Office stopped serving areas Maine? Netflix still does DVDs through mail you know.
Posted by madcap on January 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 11
Good riddance Blockbuster.

I'd happily use the internet for watching everything if it didn't buffer and buffer and buffer ad nauseum forever. Fuck that.

DVDs from the library are great - IF you can actually find one that isn't scratched to hell. Good luck with that.

It seems to me that people value cheapness over quality. They don't seem to care if they have to watch garbage filtered through garbage, as long as it's FREE FREE FREE! It's kind of pathetic actually. It's like saying, "why buy a steak when McDonald's is only a buck, and it's practically the same thing."
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 12
Outside of those who are poor, I don't feel sympathy for people unwilling to use Netflix to get DVDs through the mail. (Streaming is a different matter.) Almost every movie that's been issued on a region 1 disc is available through them.

It sucks that there are no other options for a lot of people in rural America, but Blockbuster is the reason for that, and their selection was never better than limited. Good riddance.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 22, 2013 at 9:42 AM · Report this
13
Twelve comments, and nobody mentions Scarecrow? It's true that more rural areas are being terribly underserved by a rental chain closing, but I live in a city so I can do things like go to film festivals and have access to quality media generally. So, Scarecrow. They're not going anywhere.
Posted by zobot http://wsu.academia.edu/zoealeshire on January 22, 2013 at 9:56 AM · Report this
14
film is truth in bellingham too, but you guys are missing two points by all your cheap dicking around,
one @10 that's not what they meant at all how the hell did you connect that to choosing to walk into a store to give them your business to keep them open and
@12 redbox was created by mcdonalds
Posted by hyperfocusingisbad on January 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM · Report this
15
sorry I meant @11
Posted by i proved my own point on January 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this
16
I've been streaming video for more than 5 years now. I switched to Netflix WatchNow as soon as they offered it as an "only" option. I built my own "XBox" which functions as a media system connected to my 32" LCD via HDMI for video streaming and game playing (I added a Logitech Gamepad that simulates the XBox controller for PC Games...works great...and I've got Steam to download games at will...they have some great $k10 specials!)

That said, I think we're ultimately going to be shifted from an all-you-can-watch mode back to the old pay per film. The content providers must long for the days when each film would bring in 3.99 or 4.99 rather than settling for the share of the monthly fee that Netflix gives them.

You can already see it in the wizened offerings of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Like, hey, you could watch this crappy old video (such as Blindside which I watched last night, and whose most notable aspect is that it might have been the inspiration for the SNL a-hole couple characters ), but don't you really want to see this movie from 3 months ago for $3.99? And another...and another...
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM · Report this
eastcoastreader 17
@3- yes, but only some libraries as @5 pointed out. many librarians are wedded to the 19th century library "ideal" of the public library being spring of intellectual betterment for the unwashed masses. I'm lucky in that I live in a town that has a modern and clued in library director calling the shots at the local library (we not only have movies, but TV shows all on DVD/blueray). But as a library advocate I hear from grumpy people ALL the time about how we need to get rid of all the DVDs.
Posted by eastcoastreader on January 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM · Report this
raku 18
So wait, is Blockbuster some kinda store that sells bittorrents?
Posted by raku on January 22, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 19
I didn't know they were still around.

Haven't rented a DVD in years. I have a Roku box instead. This is not an option for those without a high speed internet connection however.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on January 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM · Report this
20
Borders was bought by Bain Capital before it went belly-up.
Posted by Drew2u on January 22, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Report this
T 21
@13 Nobody mentioned it because it doesn't have a whole lot to do with the issue at hand. Yes, Scarecrow exists and is the best video store in Seattle (and probably nationally/worldwide) - though it's not the only one, Seattle has many great independent video stores that are sadly overshadowed by the size/scope of Scarecrow. But it's the people who don't live in cities who are going to find it increasingly difficult to find films beyond the by-the-numbers romantic comedies and lowest-common-denominator action movies. The video store has been a dying institution pretty much since its inception, but its replacement with services as limited as Redbox is worse.
Posted by T on January 22, 2013 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Knat 22
@13: For a couple years, I lived only a few blocks from Scarecrow Video. It was absolutely glorious.

The Blockbuster Video in my hometown blew away years ago. When that left, I assumed that meant Blockbuster had filed Chapter 11, since the only competition they had in town was (and still is, I think) the video rental department in grocery stores.
Posted by Knat on January 22, 2013 at 10:27 AM · Report this
23
I agree this is a shame, but your endless carping about this situation seems pointless. What do you suggest we do to fix this problem? Impose a tax/subsidy system to support mom and pop stores?

You might be able to say something about increasing awareness, but that only works if it's clearly part of a concerted campaign. With you, it just seems like whining.
Posted by dak7e on January 22, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 24
Rural areas are always under served in almost all ways. From medical care to transportation and, now, even postal service. I can imagine the complaints sounding the same about the first electrical service and telephone service. It just can't justify the cost of the service. That's why they are always subsidized by government. But you don't need movies to live your life.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 22, 2013 at 10:35 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 25
Surely I'm not the only who's noticed that many supermarkets still rent movies. The selection isn't as good as Blockbuster, but it still beats Red Box.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 22, 2013 at 11:18 AM · Report this
26
Had Blockbuster not put those stores out of business they would still be out of business for the same reason the Blockbusters are closing. There is just not enough demand to support them.

If a store with the selection of Blockbuster cannot compete with Netflix then how to do you think some smaller store would?
Posted by giffy on January 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 27
@14,
redbox was created by mcdonalds
That figures... it's like shit icing on the shit cake.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this
28
I think that most smaller, independent video stores in rural areas were way, way better than Blockbuster. They weren't as new release obsessed because they didn't have the money to buy fifty copies of a new movie and then dump them. So their selection was still fairly mainstream, but it was still a great deal more diverse than that offered by Blockbuster's "80% new releases plus Casablanca" business model. You could find plenty of older titles, discover movies that you might not have watched otherwise, etc.
Posted by redemma on January 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
MarkyMark 29
I live in abject terror that Scarecrow Video will eventually go out of business, as despite the inconvenience I am there almost every week renting Blu-rays, foreign films, and old classic Hollywood titles still pouring out on DVD, which are flatly unavailable for rental/borrowing pretty much anywhere else on the planet. Unfortunately if they don't change their antiquated rental policies I don't see how they are going to make it, even with much of their competition disappearing.
Posted by MarkyMark on January 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
30
Note to self: head down to Rain City Video and buy some credits.
Posted by beef rallard on January 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 31
@ 26, at least during the interim, customers would have been served by mom and pop stores offering a better selection, including movies that weren't cut to satisfy the demands of Blockbuster's holier-than-thou managers. Oh, and keeping their profits within their communities, too.

Not that it would have worked out like that. Big conglomerations have been driving away all local business for decades now, and if it wasn't Blockbuster, it would have been someone else, likely just as predatory but possibly not as censorious.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 22, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
32
@31 Or they would have went under much quicker, not having the means to survive as long as Blockbuster has.

It's hard to stop successful things from overcoming less successful ones.
Posted by giffy on January 22, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 33
@5- I bet those three adult movies were donated. The budget involved with bringing in new release DVDs (which get beat up quickly) is daunting to smaller libraries, especially given declining demand. They probably feel their mission is better served by providing kids entertainments and adults edification.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on January 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM · Report this
34
Just torrent everything...
Posted by ryanmm on January 22, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
watchout5 35
That's why the internet is so great. I get more of the content I want and pretty much no content I don't want. Blockbuster was filled with content that doesn't interest me anymore. Who in their right mind would think we should be renting movies from the 50's and 60's like their copyrights should be just as strong today as they were when they were created. Heck even things in the 70's and 80's I can't believe there isn't an easier way to get that content. It's almost like they want us to have to crawl to the content wherever they happen to put it. The internet puts that power back into my hands. For the last few months TV wise I've either torrented something I really really wanted to see or watched people playing video games while chatting with them. There's no viable path for me to continue television or renting physical products. I don't own a TV interface anymore, it's useless to me because it couldn't connect to my computer, where everything I do happens now. I moved devices, and the content didn't follow me, but what I found is that we're creating our own content more than the big guys are and I actually enjoy it more than the boner pill ads and the comedy's with the laugh track. Look at a show like The Guild, that's the future of television like products. I honestly don't see how I could ever go back to watching a screen where someone acts things out completely independent of my actions. I love being able to talk to someone making what they consider art, and in many ways change their art based on what I say. It changes the nature of the game, what if I want to troll them and lead them to a battle they couldn't possibly win, what if I helped them achieve something that they'd been having a hard time with for days. The possibilities are endless and I really hope this kind of content is here to stay and isn't taken away by a bunch of corrupt douchebags looking to control speech.
More...
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on January 23, 2013 at 1:44 AM · Report this

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