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YouTuber Explores an “Abandoned” Blockbuster Video Location (Stick Around for the Twist Ending)

This comedic video pokes fun at the idea that there aren't any Blockbusters left in North America, when actually, there are. Not very many, sure. But there are a few that are still open.

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Things We Saw Today: The Wreath of Khan

Things We Saw Today

Christmaaaaaaaaas! (by Annie Shapiro, via Nerd Approved)

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Blockbuster Releases Death Rattle Android App

I think at this point, more people know Blockbuster as a third-string Batman villain than as a video store, but the company still exists and they'd like to remind you of that fact with their new Android app. If you're an Android user with a Blockbuster account, though, don't get too excited. You can't stream movies to your phone with this app. Really. It just manages your queue for their mail service, which I was surprised to find out is still around.

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Dish No Longer Looking to Turn Blockbuster Into Netflix Rival, Might Not Know What to Do With It

When Blockbuster was snatched up by Dish Network, the plan was to turn the brand into something of a Netflix rival by providing streaming content to mobile devices sold by Dish. Unfortunately, Dish's expectations of federal approval didn't come to fruition, and so that plan initially fizzled and now it looks like they're not going to pursue it further. It looks like Charlie Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish, might not know what exactly to do with Blockbuster now that they have it.

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Satisfied With Their Upheaval of the Rental Business, Redbox Will Soon Offer Tickets to Live Events

When discussing the video rental industry, it's not uncommon to blame Netflix and Redbox for the demise of previous incumbents like Blockbuster. Redbox, in particular, seemingly came out of nowhere to show up the dinosaurs that were already on life support. Now that they've satisfactorily beaten back the traditional model of video rental, Redbox has their eyes on entering the ticket industry. Starting with Philadelphia, they'll be offering tickets to various events with a mere $1 service charge attached.

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Blockbuster U.K. Leaks 25 Wii U Games

With Nintendo's Wii U set to launch in November -- prime holiday season time -- the development of launch and post-launch titles should be well underway, which means some listing system out there in the cold, dark world of retail would have a list of these games. Enter an unlikely hero, Blockbuster U.K., rather than the usual suspects of Walmart or GameStop, which listed 25 titles supposedly slated for Nintendo's next big gimmicky console.

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Walmart's Vudu Video Streaming Assault Begins

Omnipresent brick-and-mortar retail chain Walmart has just launched a video streaming service on its website. The service is powered by Vudu, a digital video company that Walmart acquired over a year ago. Unlike Netflix, Vudu is not a subscription service and instead charges users for individual streaming rentals or purchases. Prices range from $1-$5.99 for rentals, with purchases starting at $4.99. Though Vudu has been around for a while, its launch directly on Walmart's website opens a new chapter for the service. It is also the surest signal that Walmart, a juggernaut DVD retailer, wants a piece of the streaming video pie. It's possible that the company might not see optical media like DVDs and Blu-rays as the sure bet they once were, and is seeking to diversify its stock.

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Blockbuster to Be Bought by Dish Network

The long saga of Blockbuster's bankruptcy looks like it has come to an end with the announcement that Dish Network would be buying the troubled retailer for roughly $228 million in cash after adjustments. Bidding on Blockbuster reportedly extended into the early hours of this morning, with investor Carl Icahn trailing just behind Dish Network's ultimately successful bid. So what's likely to come of this? Promotional tie-ins, for one: In Dish Network's press release, company EVP Tom Cullen said that “With its more than 1,700 store locations, a highly recognizable brand and multiple methods of delivery, Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for DISH Network.” But using retail locations to hawk Dish Network subscriptions is just one piece of the puzzle: The other is Blockbuster's Internet streaming rights from major Hollywood studios. An analyst writes:

As part of an acquisition, DISH would presumably get Blockbuster’s Internet streaming rights, the Blockbuster brand and its customer lists. Combined with a build-out of the wireless spectrum it has acquired and technology from EchoStar and Hughes, we believe DISH could launch an on demand movie service that would 1) significantly enhance the competitive offering of the DISH Network, and 2) compete on a standalone basis with Netflix and other over-the-top video services.
Could a Dish-resuscitated Blockbuster resurge as a Netflix competitor? Stranger things have happened. In any event, this is a more interesting outcome than Blockbuster being bought by creditors who wanted to pick its bones dry, and potentially more beneficial for consumers as well. (h/t CNET)

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Blockbuster Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Looks like those rumors about Blockbuster declaring bankruptcy in September were true. Today, the company announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to stave off its more than 1 billion dollars in debt. Blockbuster promises that its stores will continue serving customers, however.

All of Blockbuster's U.S. operations, including its stores, DVD vending kiosks, by-mail and digital businesses, are open and serving customers in the normal course. Blockbuster is fulfilling all orders as usual, including continuing to provide access to new releases the first day they become available. Blockbuster intends to continue honoring its Rewards program, valid coupons, gift cards and other customer programs. Blockbuster franchise locations in both the U.S. and abroad are independently owned, operated and funded, and are also continuing normal business operations. In addition, BLOCKBUSTER Express vending kiosks, owned and operated through a relationship with NCR, continue their operations in retail locations around the U.S. The Company's international operations in Canada, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, and the United Kingdom are also conducting business as usual. However, Blockbuster will no longer provide funding to support its operations in Argentina, which have experienced continued shortfalls in operating cash flow.

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Blockbuster Sets Date For Its Bankruptcy

According to The LA Times, Blockbuster and its biggest debtors have already discussed their plans to declare bankruptcy by mid-September with Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal, Disney and Warner Bros.
Blockbuster has lost a total of $1.1 billion since the beginning of 2008 and has been severely hamstrung in efforts to grow its business due to interest payments on $920 million in debt. Earlier this month the company announced that most of its debt holders had agreed to a forbearance on interest payments until Sept. 30, during which time it would attempt a recapitalization.
Blockbuster's bankruptcy looks like it's going to be something of a tangled mess of retail vs. Hollywood vs. digital connections.

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Blockbuster Reveals New “Games by Mail” Service

Blockbuster has released details on its new Games by Mail service.  Subscribers to Blockbuster Online will be able to rent one game at a time, for the extra monthly price of $7.99.  Any game rented will count against whatever your limit of discs out-at-a-time is, based on your plan.  If you don't rent a game in a given month, you won't be charged the $8. Games will only be available for the Wii, PS2, PS3, and XBox 360; so no handhelds, and no classic titles (well, I guess the PS2 is a classic title). While this is certainly a better price than Gamefly (more than $16/month for a 1-game-at-a-time plan), it's sort of a dubious deal if you don't have a subscription to a by-mail game rental service.

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Netflix Says: No Games; Why They Should Reconsider

Yesterday, The Consumerist talked with the Vice President of Netflix Corporate Communications, Steve Swasey, and asked him if Netflix would ever consider offering video games by mail, as its biggest rival Blockbuster seems to be considering. Swasey answered in the negative:
Video games are a different economic model than movies and TV episodes, on which Netflix concentrates to provide the greatest convenience, selection and value to consumers... Movies are perennial. A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden '95?
So... you're backing up your claim that video games are not perennial by bringing up a franchise that is released yearly? Of course the Madden games aren't perennial! I don't imagine many people have Dr. Jekyll y el Hombre Lobo (1972) in their queues, and I'm sure Netflix has a correspondingly low number of discs in stock. We're not asking you to keep a billion copies of Madden '95, just maybe some of Warcraft III, or Smash Bros Brawl, or Ico. Setting aside the poor argument Swasey presents, here's why Netflix should seriously consider getting into video game rental: It is estimated that Netflix will gain 2 million new subscribers from consoles alone in the next year. That's half of their projected subscriber growth for 2010.

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Blockbuster May Declare Bankruptcy

After years of going up against the likes of NetflixRedbox, and internet piracy -- tough competition that is only getting tougher -- Blockbuster may be voluntarily declaring bankruptcy.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

The once-mighty video chain, which reported a fourth quarter net loss of $434.9 million, has been trying to diversify into new distribution channels as rentals and sales at its 6,500 stores worldwide continue to dwindle.

Apparently, Blockbuster is about $1 billion in debt:

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