Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Will your local Blockbuster store close?

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.


  1. The Blockbuster near me closed about a year ago and I begrudgingly go to the one two miles away now. Last night I noticed that they put up a Redbox at the 7-11 and my first thought was "okay, forget Blockbuster - this is much more convenient, and cheaper." But I hate it when stores go out of business, so I'll probably keep going to the farther away Blockbuster until it closes.

  2. I use Netflix and they are excellent. Blockbuster made their Netflix killer program too complicated, and against the simple Netflix model they never had a chance.

    I still use Blockbuster sometimes, but only the store.

    Both models go away when more people can download movies and easily watch them on their big TV. Bandwidth is a huge change agent.

  3. Cyndy, yeah, I hate to see stores close too. I also hate waiting in line at the Redbox and I especially hate trying to decide what to rent at a Redbox when there are people waiting in line behind you.

    Bob, A lot of people that I know seem happy with Netflix, although I've never used it. My kids are still young, so our model is to buy a movie at the store, and it gets watched over and over and over. We probably go to Redbox or Blockbuster maybe 5 times a year. I agree - the bandwidth is not completely there yet for a complete switchover, but it's only a matter of time. We're still pretty low tech in our house - analog cable and no DVR.

  4. Just to give you a heads up the blockbuster in the photo is the store i work at and it will be closing its doors soon heres a link