Will Dish Network Save the Blockbuster Video Store?

Remember video stores? Walking the outer new release wall, marveling at the store employees' creative interpretation of "alphabetical order," wondering if there really needs to be four entire walls of Titanic?

As someone who worked in a video store back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and movies still came in VHS format, I have fond memories of the retail rental shop. Like the dinosaurs, though, video stores have gone extinct—the mom and pop shops disappeared years ago, and Blockbuster's been on life support since 2009.

After shutting down nearly 1,000 retail locations and filing for Chapter 11, it seemed like we'd seen the last of Blockbuster. However, they're back in the news today, because they've been purchased by Dish Network.

Does this mean our children will grow up knowing videos sometimes come from stores and not just computers?


Hard to say. Blockbuster's business was killed by Netflix, video on demand, and DVD kiosks—all of which are still around. While Dish Network snapped Blockbuster off the auction block for close to $228 million cash, it doesn't seem likely their plans include building more stores.

In September, Blockbuster had 5,600 stores worldwide, with 3,300 in the US. The company was forced to close about 900 stores in the US since filing for Chapter 11, and plans to close another 700 by mid-April.

I suspect we've seen the end of the brick and mortar movie store. Dish Network will likely use Blockbuster's digital library for on-demand content, and perhaps they'll regain some foothold in the market with content exclusivity.

I don't know about you, but I'm sad about the death of the video store. We stream lots of content and we use Netflix and it's convenient and I love seeing previews and critical reviews and all that, but it will never be the same as physically browsing the shelves, picking up boxes, and saying, "Hey, what do you think of this?"

Do you miss video stores?

Image via Flickr/trebomb

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