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Flashback Friday: Blockbuster Video

by Sean P. Aune | November 8, 2013November 8, 2013 11:00 pm PST

I try very hard to never repeat a subject in the Flashback Friday series, but there are times that call for it, and the closure of the last 300 corporate Blockbuster Video stores is one of those times.

Back in January of this year I ran a Flashback Friday dedicated to Blockbuster Video. At the time it was in regards to the U.K. arm of the company going into administration, that country’s version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A few months later it was saved by Gordon Brothers, only to once again look as though it may close its doors for good only a few weeks ago. And then earlier this week, Dish Network, which acquired Blockbuster in 2011, announced it would be closing the last 300 corporate stores in the U.S.

While the brand name will continue on in the form of franchised stores and online streaming, it is clear that the Blockbuster of old that once dominated the video rental landscape is no more.

It is difficult for me to comprehend how fast all of this really happened when you look at it in the grand scheme of things. I can remember renting my first videos in the early 1980s and playing them in my top loading VCR that was the size of a small horse. I would have to say this was probably in 1980 or so, and to think that 33 years later we have seen companies such as Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, Hollywood Video and so on rise to the status of corporate rockstars and we’re already watching the last of the mega-chains fade away, it’s a bit mind boggling. Blockbuster itself formed only in 1985, so some 28 years later, a chain that grew to more than 9,000 stores at its height will fade away beginning this weekend.

The stores will re-open on Nov. 14 to begin the liquidation process, and by mid-January all of the stores are expected to be closed.

If a chain can grow to that size and then fade away this quickly, you have to wonder what else we may see disappear from the retail landscape in the years to come as technology continues to progress.

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...