Blockbuster plans to survive

Posted 29 May 2009 18:49 CET by Jared Newman

Though Blockbuster may be teetering on the brink of collapse, the rental giant is trying a thing or two to get back in business.

Blockbuster has found success recently with its 30 "Rock the Block" stores, Video Business reports. These smaller rental outlets include a beverage center and a greater focus on electronics. They’re mostly located in the Reno, N.V., area, but one version of the store in New York City is pulling in some of the chain’s highest sales per square foot.

The company wants to roll out more of these stores, but its financial situation is putting the idea on ice. Blockbuster is trying to trim debt to meet a refinancing agreement crucial to survival, and interest rates for capital are "significantly" higher than what’s considered normal, CEO Jim Keyes said at a shareholder meeting in Dallas.

As we wrote on Wednesday, Blockbuster is also rolling out a mail-order video game rental service, starting in the Cleveland, Ohio area and expanding nationwide by the end of the year. Keyes said a new marketing campaign will launch on television and online to push gaming rentals.

Finally, the company is working to install 3,000 rental kiosks around the country by year-end. Dubbed "Blockbuster Express," the machines will have twice the capacity of Redbox’s popular movie kiosks and will hold video games as well.

Notably missing from Video Business’ summary is any mention of online streaming. Last I heard, Blockbuster was trying this out on a pay-as-you-go basis, but that’s not as satisfying as Netflix’s unlimited "Instant Watch" feature. With kiosks, mail-order game rentals and funky brick-and-mortar stores in play, it seems Blockbuster has all the other bases covered. When will the company jump on the streaming bandwagon?


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