The Worlds Last Blockbuster Has No Plans to Close The New York Times

It’s an accomplishment being the last man standing, but it sure doesn’t feel like a feat for the DVD enthusiast. For now, there’s no indication whether the messages on are just for fun or actually the start of a new venture–hopefully something more imaginative than just another cookie-cutter streaming site with a recognizable old name. The global number of Blockbuster stores is now (famously) down to a single location in Bend, Oregon. That store served as the inspiration for a short-lived series on Netflix, which was once David to Blockbuster’s Goliath. “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. “Despite its 1/1 brand recognition, the company was destroyed by terrible leadership with an inability to pivot and make dynamic business decisions.”

This scenario is already potent enough in day-to-day life, however it is particularly potent in the business world. A failure to innovate in the business world can leave you limping behind competitors who are soaring because they decided to update their business model. This is particularly important in the modern world because of the huge technological advances; it would be, in my opinion, an outrageous decision to not innovate and include technology within a business model. Some companies, however, have failed to make such moves and have, therefore fallen off the top of the ladder. Let us have a look at the demises of some former market leaders so that we can understand how their lack of innovation caused their business to slump. Some Tower Records stores still thrive in Japan long after their parent company declared bankruptcy and closed all of its American stores.

But his livelihood is threatened when he gets a call from the store’s corporate overlords telling him that all the franchise locations have closed — except his. To survive amid the changing media landscape, Timmy and his staff must make significant sacrifices to keep their business and community thriving. For those born after the turn of the century, the teasing message is a callback to the “Be kind, rewind” glory days of the storied video rental chain, where many of us oldsters whiled away countless hours browning isles lined with VHS boxes.

We need to stop acting as if there is a recipe for business—like a cake or a casserole—and start thinking in terms of how factors are connected. The structure of those unseen connections, their context and how they relate to our objectives increasingly makes the difference between success and failure. Keyes felt the company couldn’t afford to keep losing so much money, so we pulled the plug. To this day I don’t know what would have happened if we’d avoided the big blowup over Antioco’s bonus and he’d continued growing Total Access. While ideas usually take hold in small niches of innovators, they can often spread to early adopters, who are only slightly more resistant to join in.

Within a few years, Netflix and other competitors began to eat into Blockbuster’s profits, not by undercutting it, but by reimagining video rental in the digital age. Blockbuster was founded by David Cook, a software supplier in the oil and gas industry. After studying the potential of a video-store business for a friend, he realized that a well-franchised chain could grow to 1,500 units. And so the first Blockbuster store opened in Dallas on October 19, 1985. The last Blockbuster was the focal point of a 2020 documentary that explained the company’s downfall and the Bend location’s survival. The store is more of an attraction, making money by selling merchandise rather than renting movies.


On July 1, 2010, Blockbuster was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Its foray into video-on-demand streaming came too late, and over the next three years, Blockbuster died a slow and painful death. DVD-by-mail services stopped, its various partnerships folded, and stores worldwide were rapidly plunged into administration. The Blockbuster brand was sold to satellite TV company DISH in 2011 for $320 million, according to Variety. They owned the licensing rights and created Blockbuster On Demand, a library of thousands movies available to DISH customers and as a standalone app.

  • In March 2010, Blockbuster began “Additional Daily Rates”, or “ADRs”, for rentals not returned by their due date in the United States, having already used this procedure in other countries such as the UK for many years.
  • The Blockbuster DAO, later renamed Rewind, had a goal of raising $5 million to buy the brand from DISH.
  • Now, options are limited for those who want to rent a hard copy of “Saving Private Ryan” from somewhere other than a library.
  • The global number of Blockbuster stores is now (famously) down to a single location in Bend, Oregon.
  • In 1998, after the closure of KPS Video Express, Blockbuster saw an opportunity to enter into the Hong Kong market, and entered into negotiations with KPS’s receivers Ernst & Young to buy the KPS operations.

Yet for all his operational acumen, he failed to see that networks of unseen connections would bring about his downfall. Over the past 15 years, scientists have learned much about how these networks function and how his fate could have been avoided. The following year, Dish Network bought the company out of bankruptcy for $320 million in hopes of keeping 600 stores open. In an attempt to wipe out $1 billion of debt, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy, and the company was delisted from the NYSE.

Since then, Movie Gallery has filed for bankruptcy twice and its entire chain of stores has been liquidated. Is the structure of Redbox the sames as the old Blockbuster business profile? Instead of demanding compliance, Redbox puts the choices in the hands of the consumers instead. This is where Blockbuster could have survived if they had adopted a similar model. Redbox is highly competitive and growing despite the prevalence of streaming services.

Network scientists call this the threshold model of collective behavior. For any given idea, there are going to be people with varying levels of resistance. As those who are more willing begin to adopt the new concept, the more resistant ones become more likely to join in. Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010 and Netflix is now a $28 billion dollar company, about ten times what Blockbuster was worth. Today, Hastings is widely hailed as a genius and Antioco is considered a fool. At the time, there were only 300 Blockbuster stores still in operation, Business Insider reported.

In summary, Blockbuster’s reluctance to update their sales strategy is what eventually led to their demise. GameRush was positioned as a direct competitor to stores such as GameStop and GameCrazy. Blockbuster used its location status to get instant coverage; it also promoted these stores by hosting video-game tournaments, special trade-in offers, and a more ‘hip’ look to the selection and staff. However, when Blockbuster introduced the discontinuation of late fees, GameRush was put on the chopping block. While Blockbuster and its new boss, John Antioco, focused on brick-and-mortar video stores, technological innovations meant that competition was on the rise. In 1997, Reed Hastings founded Netflix, a DVD-by-mail rental service at the time, in part after being frustrated with a $40 late fee from Blockbuster.

After a few people tweeted that they had noticed the website was active, more nostalgic Blockbuster fans shared their theories about the website as well as their memories of picking out flicks and video games with their family and friends. Antioco’s article in Harvard Business Review describes what happened next. While he convinced the board to back his plan, one of his lieutenants, Jim Keyes, led a rear guard action. He pointed out that the costs of Antioco’s changes — about $200 million to drop late fees and another $200 million to launch Blockbuster Online—were damaging profitability. Some were reluctant at first, they actually liked being able to browse movies at the store and pick one up at a moments notice, but others jumped right in. And as more of their friends raved about Netflix, the laggards tried it too, fell in love with it and convinced people they knew to give it a shot.