The Death of Blockbuster…Almost

There are some things in this world that you can just see coming. Massive indigestion after a Steelers game, Avatar 2, and the death of Blockbuster. Well, one of those things is upon us, and last I checked, the Steelers didn’t play yesterday and there’s no script for Avatar 2 yet. That leaves Blockbuster, who yesterday filed for bankruptcy protection in Manhattan.

It’s been a long time coming, as the company has faced ever increasing challenges from new media, and just hasn’t been able to keep up with the times. Their business model has been flawed since the word “Netflix” entered our vocabulary, and everything they have done to combat it either hasn’t worked, or was never tested long enough to see if it would work. CEO’s were left scrambling, while employees at the store level were left scratching their heads going, “What the heck are they doing up there?” I know, I used to be one of those employees. I chose not to sink with the ship.

Does this filing of bankruptcy mean that all Blockbusters are going to start closing their doors ala Movie Gallery? Not yet. What it does mean is that if your local branch of blue and gold isn’t performing well, there’s a good chance it could go the way of VHS. The company will be evaluating every single store in the United States on a case-by-case basis. They’re going to have to shed between 500 and 1,300 locations, at least, as they restructure things to even have a hope in hell to make money again. So if your Blockbuster video is sitting on the corner collecting dust, there’s a good chance you could see a “Store Closing” sign out front by years end.

A lot of folks are wondering what this does to the Canadian branch of the company, and as of right now, the answer is nothing. They’re not in debt. Not yet, anyway. With Netflix streaming being introduced this week in Canada, it’s only a matter of time before the business model that hasn’t worked in the states, starts taking its toll on our friends north of the border.

What Blockbuster should do is bow out quietly, and save themselves the embarrassment that we all know is coming later, when they shut the doors for good. I don’t like to see anyone out of work, but that noise you’re hearing isn’t a bad starter engine, it’s the death rattle in the throat of Blockbuster, and it’s about ready to give up the ghost. Someone needs to tell it that it died years ago so it can go toward the light peacefully.

I’ll be first in line to do it, too.