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As Blockbuster Closes Its Stores, Online Viewing Continues To Grow

December 17, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Danny & Josh


It’s been a slow and painful death for Blockbuster stores across the globe, but it’s gotten especially bad here in the U.K. In case you haven’t heard the news, all of the remaining 91 shops are set to shut their doors. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company’s U.K. administrators, Moorfields Corporate Recovery, attempted to keep the locations open at least through the holidays to benefit the some 808 employees on the job. But they clearly couldn’t make it work, adding another nail in Blockbuster’s coffin. Just last week, they were forced to close 62 stores, which had an impact on 427 employees.

Regarding their announcement, the Moorfields offered the following statement, “Unfortunately, we were unable to secure a buyer for the group as a going concern and as a result had to take the regrettable action to close the remaining stores.”

For those unfamiliar with Blockbuster’s entry into the U.K., the company moved to our side of the pond after a boom in the United States since opening the first stores in the 1980s. And as the mid-’90s rolled around, they decided to take their efforts here and buying out the Ritz Video chain stores across the country. They remodeled and rebranded the shops, further expanding their empire.

But Blockbuster made an inevitably costly mistake in the year 2000. They could have purchased global mailing and streaming giant Netflix for $50 million but passed, according to CNN. Now, the company is worth way, way more than that. That mistake on the part of Blockbuster led them to try and regain ground by offering similar services, but they never took off like their competitors.

And now, nearly 13 years later, the doors have been blown completely open in the video rental world, so to speak. In addition to there being more options out there for people to choose from, some have chosen to become more niche in their approach. Take Picturebox, for example, a service that allows you to stream films on your television, computer, and/or smart device. While that might sound familiar, what makes their stance different is that they offer a rotating selection of films that are hand-picked by a group of movie buffs. This adds a sense of what it was like when you’d go to a movie store and ask for their opinion on what to rent. Here, they’re just all placed in front of you with descriptions of what to expect from the film.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see where movie companies put their focus. Will companies that still mail out films decide to cut back on that and only offer streaming? Given the history of modern technology, it definitely seems that way. Just look at flatscreen HDTVs and how they took over the market for televisions. And then how most people favor using smartphones with a touchscreen over the older style. Sure, there will always be some folks who never change or adapt, and they could even still be watching their movies on VHS. But for everyone else, we will be waiting to see where the movie rental companies go from here.