We knew Dish Network planned to close some of the 1,500 remaining Blockbuster retail locations this year, but we didn't know how many the company had in mind. On Dish's recent Q4 earnings call, CEO Joe Clayton revealed the company would be closing 500 stores by the end of this quarter — a full third of those remaining. While the division broke even for the third quarter in a row, Clayton reiterated that Dish wouldn't be shy about closing stores when necessary, but that it hoped to reach a steady store count in the future that would allow it to use the brick-and-mortar locations to better bolster its mainstay satellite business. It represents a further deterioration of the Blockbuster brand, which recently lost its branded DVD kiosks with Redbox's acquisition of NCR Corporation.
Perhaps counterintuitively, however, it's the Blockbuster name that Dish still sees value in. Clayton stated that the former rental heavyweight "is a significant brand in the marketplace, which focuses on family and movies," something that the company is leveraging with its Blockbuster @Home on-demand service. He also pointed towards the company's new kangaroo mascots and the Hopper and Joey multi-room DVR system as ways for Dish to differentiate itself in the marketplace.
On the strict financial side, Dish reported $3.63 billion in revenue, a 13 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Subscriber counts were also up, with the company crossing the 14 million subscriber mark thanks to 22,000 new customers (the number still pales in comparison to the 32 million that rival DirecTV boasts, however). With the company showing off new features like its PrimeTime Anytime DVR option and Sling Adapter at CES, it's certainly differentiating itself on the technological side of things — but it's doubtful that will slow Blockbuster's continued decline.