updated 05:16 pm EST, Wed November 6, 2013
Video rental service to breathe its last by January
Dish Network, parent company of Blockbuster, announced on Wednesday that the video rental service would be ending both its retail and mail DVD distribution operations by early-January 2014. Blockbuster will close its roughly 300 remaining U.S.-based retail locations and distribution centers in early January. The Blockbuster By Mail DVD distribution service, set to expire in mid-December, will continue to serve existing customers until that time.
Even as actual Blockbuster operations cease, Dish Network will retain the brand name, as well as a number of its key assets. Among those are the company's video library, which Dish will leverage to strengthen its Blockbuster @Home service for Dish customers. It will also keep the Blockbuster on Demand streaming service alive for the general market.
Once a powerhouse in the post-theater video rental market, Blockbuster's fortunes faltered with the rise of the DVD and worsened with the emergence of Netflix, iTunes, and on-demand services from cable providers. The company staggered on for a time, but it was eventually bought by Dish Network in a 2011 bankruptcy auction.
At its height in 2002, Blockbuster had a market cap of $5 billion. The chain had 1,500 stores and 15,000 employees by the time Dish bought it for $320 million. It currently has about 300 remaining stores, and Dish plans to lay off as many as 2,800 of its remaining employees.