Dish Network has finally thrown in the towel on its Blockbuster video retail stores, announcing Tuesday that it will shutter the remaining 300 locations of the iconic home video pioneer by early January while retaining its brand name and streaming businesses.
Dish originally purchased Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in 2011 for $320 million and had planned to keep its retail presence intact at least in less populated markets. But the availability of streaming video on the Internet, Netflix and countless other DVD and video rental options took its toll.
“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said Dish CEO Joseph Clayton in a statement. “Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings.”
Dish will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets like its significant video library. Dish also will focus on delivering the Blockbuster @Home service to the satellite giant’s customers, and on its transactional streaming service for the general market, Blockbuster On Demand.
Dish launched Blockbuster @Home in 2011 – it was originally named Blockbuster Movie Pass – to offer more than 15 movie channels including Starz Cinema, EPIX, Sony Movie Channel, and Hallmark Movie Channel, and more than 20,000 movies and TV shows streamed to TVs, computers or iPads. Blockbuster On Demand is a transactional streaming video service offering movies viewable on connected devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones, Slingbox, Roku and select Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players.