Wow, What Indifference! Blockbuster Express Bows Out

Sections: Movies

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When the Blockbuster near my old apartment closed in 2011, the remaining employees kept hawking the wares of its online rental service (a la Netflix) and Blockbuster Express.

Now, one half of that business plan is no more.  Yesterday, Coinstar (which owns Redbox) closed the $100 million acquisition of NCR Corp’s entertainment division, or Blockbuster Express. And, big surprise, expansion–currently, there are 10.000 kiosks–isn’t happening.

Here’s the scoop from our friends at Home Media Magazine.

Less than two years after CEO Bill Nuti declared the 2009 rollout of Express kiosks as a “headline event” for NCR, management enthusiasm for kiosk rentals waned as the losses mounted. The final blow apparently came a year ago when Nuti said the company was exploring a “gamut” of options, including sale of the Express division.

Express kiosks posted a $60 million operating loss in 2011 — a stark contrast to Redbox, which was generating exponentially higher market share and operating income. Redbox will substitute its kiosks for Express units in select locations while shuttering the rest.

This news actually makes me want to dance a jig. Blockbuster spent years obliterating the little guy, then establishing draconian late/pricing policies, and offering no selection other than a million copies of the super-latest release. (You ever try to find an old indie flick or a foreign film at your local Blockbuster? Good friggin’ luck.) Customer service was, at best, subpar. Never has a place devoted to movies–those wonderful, emotion-packed testaments to human creativity–felt so devoid of spirit.

I don’t want to root for the demise of a company, but I’m pretty sure that every time a Blockbuster store–or an associated venture–closes, an angel gets its wings.

Go get ’em, Redbox.


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