The writing is on the wall. The days of traditional brick and mortar video stores are numbered. It's not a question of "if", but a question of "when." Video mail subscription services and streaming video are making trips to the video store unnecessary.
Blockbuster announced Tuesday that the company may close as many as 960 stores by the end of 2010 - more than double previous plans. The closures will result in 20% fewer Blockbuster stores in the U.S.
Blockbuster is a laggard when it comes to transitioning to new video distribution models, and the video giant is getting squeezed on both ends by Redbox and Netflix. Blockbuster is in the mail order video subscription business, but the company has 80% fewer subscribers than Netflix. Blockbuster also has DVD vending machines, but Redbox has 15,000 machines compared to Blockbuster's 500.
On the same day as the Blockbuster announcement, J.P. Morgan released a favorable analysis of Netflix that praised the company's ability to add subscribers during tough economic times. J.P. Morgan also predicts that delivering movies via mail will slowly be replaced by streaming video, and Netflix is already in the streaming business.
Blockbuster has yet to announce the stores that will be closing, so it is not publicly known whether or not the Bowie store in Free State Mall (pictured above) is on the list.