Blockbuster is getting out of the brick-and-mortar business model altogether.
The former video-rental giant will close its remaining U.S. stores by early January 2014, and will also put an end to its by-mail video distribution service, parent company Dish Network said Wednesday.
Blockbuster still has approximately 300 stores in the U.S. Its distribution centers will also be closed.
Dish president and CEO Joseph P. Clayton cited the growing shift to digital video distribution while announcing the closures.
“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” Clayton said. “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 the Blockbuster brand’s licensing rights, along with key assets, including the company’s video library. Dish, which acquired Blockbuster in 2011, will focus on providing Blockbuster @Home service to its customers and via the Blockbuster on Demand streaming service.
Early last year, Dish Network closed 500 Blockbuster stores — at that time, about a third of its remaining retail outlets.
At its peak, in 2004, Blockbuster boasted more than 9,000 stores, according to the New York Times.