March 7, 2019
With the closing of a Blockbuster Video branded store in Australia, the venerable home video rental chain has just one location left in the world — in Bend, Ore.
At its peak, Blockbuster Video was the world’s largest video store with more 9,000 locations globally with $6 billion in annual revenue. Last year, the last of three Blockbuster locations shuttered in Alaska — another retail casualty to changing consumer habits, subscription streaming video and digital retail.
It’s hard to imagine that at one time Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings offered to sell the upstart rental service to Blockbuster for $100 million, which the chain refused three (!) times — a corporate blunder on par with original Beatles drummer Pete Best exiting the Fab Four.
Netflix still rents DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles to a dwindling number of subscribers — 2.7 million — while generating operating profit of $51.4 million during the most-recent fiscal quarter.
Blockbuster, in its last year before declaring bankruptcy in 2010, generated just $120 million from its remaining 300 stores in the U.S. — while sitting on $1 billion in debt, the result of a spin-off by former corporate parent Viacom in 2004.
To Sandi Harding, GM of the 20-year-old Blockbuster in Bend, the brand’s history makes the store special.
“We all have a kinship with the other Blockbusters,” Harding told CNN. “You can go to Redbox and you can get the new titles, but they don’t have the older ones. Netflix and Amazon don’t have everything, either.”