Skip to content

OPLIN 4cast #364: What does the Blockbuster closing mean?

Posted in 4cast

BlockbusterIt has been about a month since Dish Networks announced that they were closing the remaining 300 Blockbuster Video stores, starting a rash of articles proclaiming the death of the video rental business. Have you seen a drop in demand for videos in your library? Maybe not. There is some question as to just what the closing of Blockbuster really says about our culture and the shift from physical to digital media delivery in general. There may be food for thought here for libraries.

  • Blockbuster goes bye-bye: It’s all kiosks & digital now (GigaOM/Michael Wolf)  “There will be lots of postmortems about Blockbuster and the death of physical media over the next few days, and they will be, for the most part, stating the obvious (and right) conclusion that the continual move towards digital distribution meant movie rental was a dying business, particularly the big-footprint brand of rental that Blockbuster had pioneered in the 80s and still, by and large, used today. But in the end, I think kiosks like Red Box were just as deadly, if not more, to Blockbuster.”
  • Blockbuster’s demise; An elegy to video store culture (TechCrunch/Chris Nesi)  “With the advent of Redbox, a machine not much larger than an ATM performs a service that in my lifetime once took a building, a payroll, a management hierarchy, and two-dozen employees to deliver. Despite the distinct lack of “experience” involved in sauntering up to a machine and pressing a few buttons to make your selection and pay for it, the store model didn’t stand a chance.”
  • Blockbuster’s death scene won’t end the video rental store (BloombergBusinessweek/Justin Bachman)  “‘The fact is that one retailer just doesn’t an industry make,’ says Mark Fisher, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Association, a home-video and gaming trade group. ‘When Tower closed its doors, it certainly didn’t signal the end of the music business.’ Indeed, in the $18 billion home-video market, rental is hot. Spending for movie rentals is expected to top movie sales this year for the first time since 2001, according to research firm BTIG.”
  • Blockbuster closes its last stores – is this the future for Barnes & Noble? (TeleRead/Chris Meadows)  “I remember when you couldn’t find anything in the discount movie bins except badly-dubbed Jackie Chan movies and other public-domain films for which people might just be willing to pay a buck or so more than they cost to crank out. But now you find classics and blockbusters just a couple of years old. I was in Best Buy the other day and found Labyrinth, The Wild Bunch, and There Will Be Blood on Blu-ray for $8 each. And I didn’t buy any of them because I knew it would be simpler to watch them online if I actually wanted to! I wonder to what extent we might be looking at the future of the physical book?”

Blockbuster fact:
Just ten years ago there were about 9,000 Blockbuster stores.