Blockbuster closing remaining stores – another victim in an evolving marketplace

At the beginning of the 1990s, Blockbuster Video was one of the most popular places to rent the latest films or the classic movies on VHS. For a lot of families, it was heading to the nearest Blockbuster on a Friday night and picking out a picture to watch over the weekend – most Americans and Canadians can recollect this pastime.

As time went by, Blockbuster began to offer DVDs for rent – laserdisc may have never been an option. However, as the Internet gained in popularity, more online ventures popped up that gave consumers more choice for their movie-viewing habits. The company did in fact try to be salvageable.

For the past several years, Blockbuster has been undergoing a variety of cost-cutting measures, shutting down stores and even attempting to adapt to the market by launching its own version of Netflix. DISH Network acquired Blockbuster for $320 million in 2011, but after more than two years, news came this week that the video rental service will be closing the doors of its remaining 300 stores and ending its Netflix-type service.

“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said Joseph Clayton, DISH Network CEO, 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.”

The story of Blockbuster is a typical one for businesses: the failure to adapt, the failure to evolve and the failure to compete. Although Netflix may reign supreme at the moment, it is possible that it could even lock up its web portal for good in the future. With technology advancing so quickly, many of the popular companies today may very well shut down for lack of innovation tomorrow.

In the world of social media, MySpace was once the beacon of innovation, but now Facebook and Twitter have laid claims to that domain. For decades, newspapers were one of the dominant media, but now it’s a dinosaur that is being taken over by online and alternative media. Nintendo was the premier video game console, but now it barely competes with PlayStation and Xbox. Movie theatre chains have been forced to change its business models as more and more film buffs waited a couple of months for the DVD or streamed it online.

Capitalism and free markets improve our lives and provide us with methods to simplify our lifestyles. Think of it, many years ago, it took weeks or even months to send a letter to someone in another country. Nowadays, it takes a second through the power of text messages, emails, tweets.

Which pioneer of today will make headlines in 20 years announcing its closing down?

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  1. Philip Arlington says:

    Being able to communicate instantly makes life more complex rather than simpler. The same applies to many other things. More complexity, more stress, less control. I suspect that most of us would be happier if nothing new had been invented since penicillin. For example, here I am on the internet, but I hate the internet. It is destroying privacy, providing new means of state oppression, normalising pornography, and facilitating new forms of crime. I didn’t hate newspapers before the internet was invented.

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