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HMV and Blockbuster UK go down, echoes of Woolworths and JJB


Published: 18 January, 2013


UK high street analysts are trying to explain away the failure of two major entertainment retailers, HMV and Blockbuster, trying hard not to say the 'R' word - Recession. They are keen to point out that neither company embraced the shift to digital - largely they are wrong.

We covered HMV's efforts to go digital dating back to 2003 and Blockbuster's similar efforts in the US - but neither had the scale, imagination or audacity to make extreme enough moves to challenge global organizations the size of Apple.

HMV jumped on one early bandwagon in 2005 in partnership with OD2, run by music legend Peter Gabriel, which went on to be acquired by Loudeye, and then form Nokia Music which survives today.

The outlying Blockbuster international subsidiaries, including this one in the UK, were all parts of management buyouts, and blundered on through the world with insufficient funding to spend time discovering online, destined to have their assets "re-arranged" through administration. If Blockbuster in the UK comes out of this bankruptcy intact, expect it to be a tiny collection of the stores which are still profitable, and it will still be unable to adopt a digital future. Whatever is left of it after this will likely get subsumed into another brand.

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