Blockbuster Refuses to Die

He grew 7-Eleven into a giant, now Jim Keyes trying to do same for Blockbuster

By Mike Snyder
|  Friday, Dec 5, 2008  |  Updated 1:53 AM CDT
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Blockbuster Tests Another Concept to Reinvent its Video Stores

AP

Blockbuster tests another concept to reinvent its video stores.

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Blockbuster is much like that famous quote from a Mark Twain novel, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."  

Despite the best efforts of critics who have declared the Dallas-based video rental chain killed and buried by its competitor Netflix, Blockbuster is very much alive and well and kicking up dust in the Nevada desert with a new concept store called an "All in One." 

While Blockbuster is now offering movies for online download, it is not abandoning its brick and mortar locations.

Quite to the contrary, Blockbuster's new concept offers movie and game rentals like in the past but now there are game consoles of every type hooked up to high definition TVs almost like a gaming parlor.   There are all kinds of creature comforts too, like leather chairs to lounge in, coffee bars and even an in-store cafe.  

Can you say Starbucks on Steroids?

Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes is no stranger to this kind of battle.  When he took over as CEO of 7-Eleven, he helped develop and grow the gas station-convenience store concept into a juggernaut for the Southland Corporation.   There is a reason he won the Horatio Alger award in 2005; he is a true rags to riches story and he never gives up. 

Keyes is pulling out every stop and using every marketing trick he can to help Blockbuster claw its way back to the top.  

Just a day ago Keyes signed a deal with Live Nation to start selling concert and event tickets at thousands of Blockbuster stores. 

Those who thought Blockbuster would just shrivel up and go away in the face of competition from Netflix apparently underestimate Jim Keyes.

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Update:  December 4, 2008

Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes is at again.   He is now plans to launch 99-cent movie rentals in January.   Keyes says he is still working out the details of the plan, but those looking to save a buck in this sagging economy will get their way at BB.

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