Netflix will have one less competitor to worry about in 2013. In retrospect, the idea of turning Blockbuster into a streaming service was never going to be easy. And the stumbling block of getting spectrum approved for the project when Dish acquired the fallen company was just too great.
Some Blockbuster locations in rural locations still turn a profit, despite the popularity of services like Netflix and Redbox, but Dish still plans on shutting the doors of stores “that no longer make strategic sense.” As of August, Dish founder Charlie Ergen said about 900 U.S. Blockbuster locations remain, which is a mere fraction of its dominance in the late 90s to early 2000s.
After purchasing Blockbuster for $320 million, Dish planned on offering wireless services that would stream Blockbuster content to mobile devices, but the company never got proper clearance for radio wave licenses. Ultimately, its plans to turn the home-video rental company into a Netflix competitor were foiled, though Dish still offers Blockbuster @Home, which allows customers to rent DVDs and video games through the mail.
Ergen said Dish has other unannounced plans for Blockbuster, but wasn’t in a sharing mood. Offering up an Internet streaming service for live content is on the cards, though that option is still “years away,” Ergen admitted.