Blockbuster says it will keep the lights on at 1,500 U.S. stores

Blockbuster confirmed today that it will indeed continue to operate over 1,500 stores across the country – the majority of which were previously expected to be shuttered as the struggling rental company rejiggered its business model under new owner Dish Network. Over 15,000 jobs will be preserved by the move, says the company.

Blockbuster says it will keep the lights on at 1,500 U.S. stores

Michael Kelly, Blockbuster President, said in a statement on Thursday that maintaining as many locations as possible would ultimately aid the company.

“We’re pleased that we will continue to operate more than 90 percent of the stores that were offered at auction in April,” said Kelly. “By lowering pricing and offering competitive summer promotions, we’ve brought millions of customers back into Blockbuster stores in the last three months to experience the best in convenience, choice and value.”

Kelly bemoaned the fact that some stores could not be saved due to the company’s inability to reach “reasonable terms” with property owners, and confirmed that Blockbuster isn’t abandoning non-streaming support anytime soon.

“We’ll continue to look for opportunities for physical distribution in these neighborhoods as we expand our in-store experience, unmatched for movies and family entertainment,” he said.

One such avenue for capitalizing on physical media that’s exploded in the past few years is rental kiosks. However, considering both Redbox’s near-stranglehold of that market and the recent legal squabbles between Georgia-based NCR – the company that makes Blockbuster Express kiosks – and Dish Network, any expectations for a stronger push into that segment of the rental biz seem unreasonable.

Dish also has yet to realize the potential of turning Blockbuster into an instant streaming powerhouse – an option hinted at by executives, though one Netflix seems prepared to deal with.

Last week, Blockbuster unveiled a plan aimed directly at Netflix subscribers, offering them a free 30-day trial for its “Total Access” rental plan. Kelly framed the deal as a response to “the cries of Netflix customers.” However, some have argued that Blockbuster’s offering just doesn’t cut it.