Today the folks at DISH have stated that their subsidiary Blockbuster will be closing its physical stores nationwide. That includes every single physical rental store with a Blockbuster sign in front of it, not just the 16 that used to be across your city reduced in recent months to a scant few. This move will close all of the remaining Blockbuster stores in the USA - all 300 of them.
According to DISH, they'll be moving on to digital distribution entirely. This means that the Blockbuster by Mail services will also be ended this year. The entire shebang will be axed by mid-December according to company officials, while the exact nature of the digital service has not yet been outlined in full.
"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment.
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 president and CEO Joseph P. Clayton
We've reached out to DISH to attain the answer to the question on every Blockbuster patron's mind right this minute: "if I still have a DVD on my nightstand when retail stores close, can I keep it?"
At the moment DISH suggests that the remaining 300 Blockbuster physical locations will be closed by early-January 2014 at the latest. We're also in the process of calling local Blockbuster stores in our respective areas, but so far have not come across any solid details other than a general consensus that it'd probably be a better idea to just return that VHS tape of Lethal Weapon 6 than to face any consequences.
UPDATE: DISH has responded with a couple of notes on the closing of each of the remaining 300 stores - as follows:
1. Remaining physical stock in-store will be liquidated for profit by each individual store.
2. Patrons of Blockbuster stores with checked-out merchandise will be contacted at the leisure of each individual store. While the DISH representative we spoke to did not have information regarding the unique plans of each store, it would seem that it's not just going to be a "lets just call it even and forget about it" sort of situation. We'll see soon enough!