Friday, November 8, 2013
Every time Blockbuster has undergone a downgrade in its fortunes/business model, I have written something about it on The Audient.
Might as well continue the tradition now that the news has broken: Blockbuster is closing all its remaining retail stores in the U.S.
Disc-by-mail? That's going bye bye too.
Only their most recent venture, a streaming-only service, will stay intact.
And the retail outlets that still exist in other countries are threatened as well.
It's another one of those bittersweet moments. I don't live in the U.S. anymore, and Australia is one of the countries that still has stores, if blockbuster.com.au is to be believed. Without calling the numbers listed there, however, I can't be sure that I'm not just looking at the ghost of a website that was never taken down.
Still, it's really "The End," isn't it? My subject isn't overstating things, is it?
I've given previous posts about the demise of Blockbuster the following titles: "Last call," "End of the road" and "To end at the beginning." However, now it's finally time to go all the way.
Or, I could wait until January of 2014, when the last U.S. retail store is set to shutter. Heck, I'll probably write something then, too. Maybe I will write it in all caps: "THE END." Or the French "Fin."
This inevitable death throe is as much a commentary on the state of physical media as on Blockbuster itself, and it comes along at a funny time for me personally -- a time when I have relied on physical media more than ever. Australia doesn't have Netflix yet -- though it may be coming soon. Although we still have our streaming service and access it through a site that unblocks the URL, we can't watch it with ease through our BluRay player like we used to do. We have to hook up the computer itself, and that makes it difficult to pause, etc.
So I've been getting physical DVDs like crazy. From the library. From kiosks. And yes indeed, from a good old brick-and-mortar video store, Video Ezy in nearby Flemington.
Physical media is alive and well in Australia.
I take comfort that until Netflix or some other streaming service takes control in Australia, I can still visit an actual brick-and-mortar Blockbuster, as long as I'm willing to go to Brunswick or Port Melbourne or Yarraville or North Essendon. It's really not having a car that's preventing me from getting to those places more than anything else.
They'll be gone too, someday not too long for now, at which point I'll need to find a uniquely Australian way of saying "The End" once again.