De Ingenieur september 2023 by De Ingenieur

At its height in 2002, Blockbuster UK operated out of over 800 stores. It took close to a week in the early days of the service to replace movies. You had to constantly update an online list and hope that you’d get the next movie you wanted to see. It was not unheard of for people to go to Blockbuster to pick up the movies they wanted to see immediately and then use Netflix for the other movies.

In the year 2000, Reed Hastings, who is the CEO of Netflix, offered to manage an online streaming service for the Blockbuster team. Fast forward to 2015 and Netflix is winning Emmy Awards for independently produced television has a valuation that hovers around $30 billion. At its peak, Blockbuster had 9,000 stores globally and made $5.9 billion, but today the once-famous video rental company has shrunk to a single store in a small town. Redbox’s addition to the market reinforced the idea that people wanted quicker rental options with no late fees, so Blockbuster had to make a change. Blockbuster reintroduced late fees in the United States in 2010 under the name of “Additional Daily Rates”. With this pricing scheme, rentals were once again limited to a certain number of days and accrued pay-per-day rates after the days allocated are exceeded.

It has about 4,000 active accounts and signs up a few fresh ones each day, Ms. Harding said. Some of the new customers are tourists who have traveled hours out of their way to stop in. Now, options are limited for those who want to rent a hard copy of “Saving Private Ryan” from somewhere other than a library.

There is a Howard Johnson’s in Lake George, N.Y., that is the lone survivor of what was once the country’s largest restaurant chain. The second-to-last Blockbuster, a squat blue-and-yellow slab wedged next to a real estate agency in Western Australia, will stop renting videos on Thursday and shut down for good at the end of the month. Two stores in Alaska, part of the final group of Blockbuster outlets in the United States, closed in July. The standalone Blockbuster says it’s still in operation because of its loyal customer base, citing the fact that they have 4,000 accounts and sign up new customers each day. The store also said a large number of tourists visits the store to reminisce about the former rental company. But when on-demand movie services, pay-per-view and cheaper rental services such as Redbox began to gain popularity, Blockbuster struggled to retain its customer base.

Blockbuster was known for charging customers a fee for every day they were late returning a movie rental. In fact, Blockbuster said it made $800 million in late fees, or 16% of its revenue, Quartz reported. This frustrated many customers, including Netflix founder Reed Hastings.


Such corrections were also sent to international stores such as those in Canada to prevent further lawsuits. was unable to make a $42.4 million(~$55.8 million in 2022) interest payment to bondholders and was given until August 13, 2010, to pay off the debt. The company hired Jeff Stegenga to be its chief restructuring officer (CRO) in an effort to satisfy bondholder demands and recapitalize the company. After failing to pay on August 13, bondholders gave Blockbuster until September 30, 2010. The liquidation of Movie Gallery began in May 2010, eliminating Blockbuster’s primary competitor. Meyer was elected to the board at Blockbuster’s shareholder meeting in Dallas on June 24, 2010.

  • “The Blockbuster brand is not only nostalgic, but it’s a historic landmark in the history of film,” the DAO’s account tweeted in December 2021.
  • But Netflix pivoted to streaming and Blockbuster chose not to, a business decision that ultimately lead to their downfall.
  • Moreover, because its customers received their videos by mail, the service was somewhat slow and cumbersome.
  • People still held onto Blockbuster, but the peer pressure of everyone going to Netflix and liking creates a threshold that eventually allows one business to dominate and the other to file for bankruptcy.
  • The idea was that Netflix would run Blockbuster’s brand online and Antioco’s firm would promote Netflix in its stores.

Inquiring minds want to know after a cryptic message was discovered on the brand’s official website. The Blockbuster DAO, later renamed Rewind, had a goal of raising $5 million to buy the brand from DISH. In 2021, a Blockbuster decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, was created with the goal of acquiring Blockbuster from DISH. A DAO is an entity that has no central governing body, unlike a corporation with executives or board members at the top. The store has several years left on its lease and a license agreement that its owners sign annually with Dish Network, which bought Blockbuster for $320 million in 2011. This is about the ability of the Bend store, like sturdy links in other dying chains, to live on and avoid being turned into a pawnshop or a fast-food restaurant.

Throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, Blockbuster was the top video-rental company in the US, but that didn’t last forever. As other, more dynamic services emerged and customers complained about late fees, Blockbuster eventually went bankrupt. Since then there were several changes back and forth with regard to this policy; in March 2010 customers were allowed a limited number of in-store exchanges.

But Netflix pivoted to streaming and Blockbuster chose not to, a business decision that ultimately lead to their downfall. By eschewing retail locations, it lowered costs and could afford to offer its customers far greater variety. Instead of charging to rent videos, it offered subscriptions, which made annoying late fees unnecessary.

“When you call dibs on this stay, you’re booking a night back in the ’90s, but this time you won’t have to beg your parents to rent the latest horror flick – we’ll give you the keys to the entire store!” Harding wrote in the listing. Sandi Harding, the store’s manager, also listed the store as an Airbnb in 2020, allowing guests to rent their favorite movies as well. The names Blockbuster Express[147] and Blockbuster Video Express[148] had also been used for smaller Blockbuster retail stores in the United Kingdom. Blockbuster is created by Vanessa Ramos, who previously co-produced Superstore and wrote for Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Many residents of outlying areas stop at Blockbuster during their weekly trips to town to run errands, drawn in part by the store’s seven-day rental policy, Ms. Russell said, adding that the store’s last-in-the-world status could even give it a lift. The roll call of closings continued Wednesday, with the discount retailer Dollar Tree’s announcement that it would close up to 390 Family Dollar locations this year. As of mid-February, retailers had announced 2,187 store closings in the United States this year, according to Coresight Research. With the closing of a Blockbuster store in Australia, the one in Bend, Ore., will be the last to survive changes in technology and shopping that reshaped the way people watch movies at home. So the inability to understand the networks that would determine his fate struck John Antioco twice.