Blockbuster gets kicked when it’s down by cable companies

March 17, 2010

Blockbuster storeIt’s a tough time to be a video rental store owner wherever you are, but it’s especially tough if you’re Blockbuster Inc and have 6,500 stores to manage, thousands of employees, expensive debt repayments and a sinking share price.

Yesterday Blockbuster warned for the first time that it may need to file for bankruptcy protection and its auditors at Pricewaterhouse raised doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern.

It doesn’t get any worse than that right? No, it does.

According to a story we spotted today from Hollywood Reporter, movie studios and cable companies are joining forces for a $30 million advertising campaign over the coming months to promote awareness of movies available on cable’s video on demand services.

From Hollywood Reporter:

The Movies on Demand initiative comes as on-demand film rentals have hit new highs as viewing habits are changing, and studios are increasingly looking to capitalize on their high margins amid a more mature DVD market.

The TV, print and online ad campaign runs under the theme “The Video Store Just Moved In” and highlights how easy it is for digital cable subscribers to view movies at home with a simple click of their remote. It also includes a dedicated website at and a Movies on Demand logo.

Over the next 12 weeks, the ad blitz will feature new titles available on VOD, including some offered day-and-date with DVD releases, such as “The Blind Side” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

Let’s stop to note the irony of the cable companies’ website titled CableVideoStore, which features the imagery of a traditional video store. Are they poking fun at video stores? Probably not. Realistically, the writing was on the wall for video rental stores a long time ago with competition not just from cable video on demand but also Netflix,  RedBox, Apple and every online video service you can mention.

Of course, the cable companies face their own threat from the Internet world but that’s another story for another day. For now we take a few minutes to fondly recall some of the unique features of the local video chain store which we’ll miss… Nothing? Me neither.


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How could the execs not see the writing on the wall 7 – 10 years ago? Guess they just wanted to collect a paycheck . . .instead of doing some actual work on their obsolete business model . . .shame on them . . .they go the way of the automat. I could’ve done a better job as CEO of Blockbuster.

Posted by heyhey567 | Report as abusive

Last December I signed on with Blockbuster for a $10.00 scheme that allowed me to rent movies on a weekly cycle. Mid February THEY changed the rules to a 5 day cycle. Since that would mean a extra 10 mile drive for me I decided that I would walk and they have been replaced by the postman and Netflix. I only rent movies when I am here in my winter home in Florida.
Lesson one on ‘How to Drive Customers to Your Competition’.

Posted by canadapatriot5 | Report as abusive

Blockbuster did so many things wrong, it’s ludicrous. Total and rapacious detachment from what their core business was supposed to be about for one. Life without Blockbuster will be like life without WalMart: better.

You’d never have found the next Quentin Tarantino working there, or much in the way of foreign or really radical movies at all. And with nothing besides its overdriven PR and billing engine holding it together there was never any “there” at Blockbuster, no recipe for long-term success.

But as long as Blockbuster went on tooting their own horn about being the biggest and most successful, the Attendee Generation was simply too taken with the big-ness of it all to stop and think about what they were missing.

Now it becomes clear. Sic transit, etc. Thank goodness for independent video stores. Every community should have at least one.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

I worked for a locally owned video rental store (6 locations) in 2008. It’s numbers each month were hand over fist higher than 2007. I still stop in occasionally, and my former manager assures me that buisness is still going up.

Perhaps it’s just blockbuster that sucks?

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive