Blockbuster will shut remaining U.S. stores; end DVD-by-mail service

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DENVER — They’ve been slowly disappearing over the past few years and Wednesday the company that owns the video-rental chain Blockbuster announced all remaining stores in the US will close.

Englewood-based Dish Network Corp., which owns Blockbuster, said the DVD-by-mail service will end by the middle of next month. Blockbuste will shut stores by early January.

Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September 2010, with $1 billion in assets and $1.46 billion in debt, according to Bloomberg. It was purchased by DISH in a bankruptcy auction for $320 million the next year, as a way for the satelitte TV provider to expand its offerings and compete against Netflix.

When Blockbuster was owned by Viacom in 2004, it operated about 9,000 locations.

“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH president and chief executive officer. “Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings.”

DISH will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company’s significant video library.

DISH plans to focus on delivering the Blockbuster @Home service to DISH customers, and on its transactional streaming service for the general market, Blockbuster On Demand.