Blockbuster Video, ubiquitous purveyor of rented DVDs, VHS tapes and video games, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is a victim of declining sales due to competitors like Netflix and Redbox better catering to the viewing habits of consumers.
The company will likely close hundreds of its remaining 3,000 stores, lay off workers, and otherwise reorganize in order to lessen the weight of its nearly $1 billion debt. The plan is to reduce the debt to about $100 million through the bankruptcy filing. Blockbuster is seeking access to $45 million right away to ensure it can pay movie studios to keep its stores stocked with product.
A few years ago, facing a changing market, the company launched a Netflix-like rent-DVDs-by-mail scheme, as well as placing a bunch of Blockbuster rental kiosks all over the country, but it didn't work out well enough to put the problem-plagued retailer back in the black.
As an avid consumer of films, I say good. I hope Blockbuster dies. Fifteen years ago or so, when the company was riding high and was the only game in town when it came to rentals, they used their 800 pound gorilla status to do things like refuse to stock NC 17 movies. They later changed the policy, but the damage to adult (and by that, I don't mean porn!) film-making was pretty huge. The last people I want to have any say on what I watch are retailers; savvy companies know this, and un-savvy ones file chapter 11 bankruptcy. Plus, their selection of rentable video games was sub-standard, in my opinion.
But on the plus side of Blockbuster: I remember when the company used to rent game consoles in its stores, giving me a chance to try out systems before I dropped hundreds of dollars on 'em. That was pretty cool. And I feel bad for regular people who might lose their gigs.
Any Blockbuster memories out there?