Blockbuster is reaching the end of its reel.
The ailing video store’s parent company, Dish Network Corp., announced Wednesday that it will shut down all of Blockbuster’s retail and DVD mail-service businesses.
Its remaining 300 company-owned Blockbuster stores — including one each in Goose Creek, Summerville and Moncks Corner — and all distribution centers will be closed in early January. About 50 U.S. franchised stores will remain open.
Blockbuster’s by-mail DVD service will end in mid-December. The company will continue offering Blockbuster at Home services to subscribers of Dish Network. Blockbuster On Demand, an online streaming service, will still operate.
About 2,800 employees will lose their jobs, according to Dish Network.
“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” Joseph Clayton, president, said in a statement. “We continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings.”
As video cassette recorders and players became more affordable in the mid-1980s, Blockbuster and it ubiquitous stores became the industry’s go-to provider of rental movies. By the late 1990s, the chain had saturated nearly every domestic market, according to the International Directory of Company Histories.
Its latest cost-cutting measures culminate a downfall that began a decade ago with the rise of Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service, followed by a subscription service that streams videos over Internet connections and myriad other sources of online competition. Since then, video rental stores have nearly fast-forwarded their way to extinction.
After closing thousands of retail locations, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 with $1.46 billion in debt. Dish bought the company and its remaining assets valued at $1 billion in 2011 for $320 million, according to Bloomberg.
But the Englewood, Colo., satellite-TV provider couldn’t wring a profit from Blockbuster either, prompting even more store closures.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail
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