Blockbuster storefronts make way for online streaming

Do you remember the last time you rented a movie from Blockbuster?

This year, Dish Network, the company that bought Blockbuster after its bankruptcy, announced that 500 of the remaining 1,500 Blockbuster stores will close in the first half of 2012 due to “weak store-level financial performance.”

With the rise of more online streaming options and easier ways to obtain movies such as Netflix, HBOGo and Redbox, weekly trips to Blockbuster and other stores have become a thing of the past. Since Netflix was founded in 1997, the demand for alternative ways to watch movies has greatly increased.  It started a trend. Why drive out to Blockbuster when you can instantly watch a movie on your computer or have three or more movies shipped to your house and return them at your leisure? The decision seems obvious.

Blockbuster recently tried keeping up with the changing times by creating its own mail-in DVD service with a model that mimicked Netflix. With this service, customers are not limited to returning their movies by mail, they can also return the DVD to the store and receive discounted prices on the next movie they rent. However, not even this drastic change could help the company.

According to a report released in early January of this year, U.S. consumer rental of DVD and Blu-ray disc formats fell by 11 percent in 2011. Services like Redbox, however, are noticing an increase in rentals.

Although I can’t remember the last time I rented a movie from a store, I can, however, remember the last time I watched a movie online. Services like Netflix and HBOGo make it easy for you to rediscover old movies in the comfort of your own home.  You don’t have to search a store for that one movie or worry about returning the film in time to avoid late fees.

At the rapid rate at which technology is developing, I wouldn’t be shocked if in the next couple of years we’re able to watch all movies in our homes (legally of course) without having to even go to movie theaters. That experience, however, may be a little less appealing because nothing can replace the atmosphere of going to the movies.

Regardless of what technologies will appear in the future, it’s safe to say that online streaming is here to stay while rental stores are becoming a thing of the past. It most likely won’t be long before Blockbuster has to say goodbye to the rest of its 1,500 stores.

 

Reach the columnist at agales@asu.edu


Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press email newsletter.