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By Greg Goodsell

11/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Internet streaming, Redbox spelled the end for conventional movie rentals

Video killed the radio star? How about: Internet killed the video star? That bastion of home entertainment, after limping for several years, is officially giving up the ghost. All Blockbuster Video store chains will close shortly, if they haven't already, corporate spokespeople say.

Putting many mom-and-pop stores out of business, the stores generally catered to a 'blockbuster mentality.' Hit releases filled shelves by the dozens, but independent and foreign-language films could be hard to come by.

Putting many mom-and-pop stores out of business, the stores generally catered to a "blockbuster mentality." Hit releases filled shelves by the dozens, but independent and foreign-language films could be hard to come by.

Highlights

By Greg Goodsell

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: Blockbuster Video, rentals, Redbox, streaming, closures


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Big yellow and blue Blockbuster Video stores was at one time the unquestioned king of the movie-rental business. Stores were in every shopping district and strip mall.

"Making it a Blockbuster evening," usually meant couples and families lining up for the latest releases on the weekends. Long lines of people would fill the store in search of the just-released hit movie, only to be told that it would be all rented out. Disappointed, consumers would settle for some second-string offerings instead.

Here comes that thing they call the Internet: people can stream the top films into their own homes for a small fee, ending the need to step out of the house. Everyone gets to see the movie of their choice, when they want - the state stated aim of the home entertainment business.

In response, DISH Network, which purchased Blockbuster in 2011, announced it was closing the chain's 300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores, in addition to its distribution centers.

"Consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," DISH president and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said in the press release about the closures.

Blockbuster will not be totally extinct: the company will continue its Blockbuster @Home brand to DISH customers, as well as its Blockbuster On Demand streaming service. An additional 50 Blockbuster stores - not owned by DISH will remain open, for the time being.

Done in by Netflix, streaming video and a world of Internet options, many iconic Blockbuster Stores are conspicuous by their emptiness in desolate shopping centers across the nation. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster had more than 9,000 stores.

In their defense, Blockbuster Stores were clean and family-friendly, a corporate response to the mom-and-pop video stores that were jury-rigged and unprofessional. Blockbuster Video made sure that adult - i.e., triple-X pornography was never allowed in their shops.

"They really standardized video rental in general," Dan Herbert, author of the forthcoming book "Videoland" and a film professor at the University of Michigan says.

Putting many mom-and-pop stores out of business, the stores generally catered to a "blockbuster mentality." Hit releases filled shelves by the dozens, but independent and foreign-language films could be hard to come by. The stores wouldn't carry NC-17 films at all.

At its most odious, however, Blockbuster Video would dictate the freedom of filmmakers as to what kinds of pictures they could make. The chain's standards were seen by some as arbitrary. Many smaller filmmakers would see their humble efforts tossed aside by the chain, meaning that their films were denied an audience in areas without independent video stores.

Therefore, it's conceivable that many tears will NOT be shed with the demise of Blockbuster, who at times actively pursued a "book burning - without fire" policy.

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