Dish closing more Blockbuster stores than planned

Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH), which bought bankrupt Blockbuster in July for $320 million and used the video outlet as the basis for its streaming video service, Blockbuster @Home, says it plans to close more of the stores than it planned when it acquired the company.

The satellite company said it will keep stores that currently are profitable open, but it would also morph them into customer service centers for Dish satellite offerings, selling Dish subscriptions and performing other CS-related functions like swapping STBs and paying bills.

When Dish bought Blockbuster, it said it would keep about 90 percent of the roughly 1,500 stores open and retain most of the company's 15,000 employees.

"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," CEO Joe Clayton told Reuters. "We will close unprofitable stores. We will close additional stores."

Dish has struggled to redefine its role of late. In December, Clayton said the satellite TV provider is looking at offering an over-the-top service to compete with those offered by other pay-TV operators.

"If Verizon can do it, why can't we?" he said in an interview, adding that putting the infrastructure fairly straightforward, but that the hurdle would be the expense of programming. A month earlier, it had been rumored to be talking with media companies about licensing their channels to stream live on the Internet.

In September, it rolled out its Blockbuster Movie Pass, wich it hopes could be a strong alternative to Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), especially for its own subscribers. It also reportedly made a $1.9 billion bid for online video service Hulu, which was on the auction block for months.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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