Dish closing more Blockbuster stores than expected

The satellite provider says it will turn some of the remaining Blockbuster outlets into customer-service sites for its own satellite customers.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

It turns out Dish was a bit more confident in Blockbuster's rental stores than it should have been.

"We are committed to keeping the profitable stores open that are generating positive cash flow, but there are ones that aren't going to make it," Dish CEO Joe Clayton said in an interview published yesterday by Reuters. "We will close unprofitable stores. We will close additional stores."

After Dish bought Blockbuster last year for $320 million, Dish said it planned to keep 1,500 Blockbuster rental stores open and maintain 15,000 employees. Clayton told Reuters that more stores than anticipated have slipped into the red, and therefore it won't actually have 1,500 stores operating. Clayton stopped short of saying how many stores Dish will close, Reuters said. He also wouldn't say when the closures will start.

Although some stores will be shuttered for good, Clayton told Reuters that some locations will be converted to Dish customer-service operations. According to Clayton, subscribers will be able to go into the Dish stores and swap out boxes, "so you don't have to stay at home and wait for an installation."

Since completing its Blockbuster acquisition in April, Dish has been focused on getting value from the once-dominant rental chain. Back in September, Dish announced Blockbuster Movie Pass, a bundle that includes streaming video, access to premium movie channels, and movies and games by mail. The service is available to existing customers for $10 a month and new subscribers who choose the satellite provider's America's Top 200 package for $39.99 a month.

Dish did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the Blockbuster closures.