[h=1]Blockbusterâ€™s Demise: Farewell to the Original Video-on-Demand[/h] By Martin Peers WSJ November 6, 2013, 1:22 PM Dish Network Corp.â€™s planned closure of the remaining 300 Blockbuster stores still operating in the U.S. is an end of an era for the entertainment industry. The fact that the news came the day that Twitter is pricing its initial public offering seems vaguely symbolic, highlighting just how much the analog world is giving way to Web-centric lifestyles. As anyone over the age of 30 might remember, Blockbuster was a big deal in its early years, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the idea of renting video cassettes to watch a movie at home was the only way to watch something â€œon demandâ€ (a phrase that wasnâ€™t really in use at that time). Built up from humble origins by entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga, Blockbuster grew into a goliath with more than 5,500 stores in the U.S. and offshoots overseas. Mr. Huizenga smartly cashed out early, selling the chain to Sumner Redstoneâ€™s Viacom Inc. in 1994. Before too long the transition from videocassettes to DVDs had begun, the first of many technological innovations that would undermine the chain and bring competitors into the market. While some of those alternatives, such as video on demand services offered on cable, took a while to take off, the growth of Web streaming services made old fashioned rental of movies in physical form seem antiquated. Blockbuster, both under oversight of Viacom and after it was spun out as a separate company a few years ago, tried many and various things to diversify. Invariably it was too little, too late â€“ after Netflix Inc. pioneered letting people rent DVDs through the mail, for instance, Blockbuster copied it without as much success. After being spun out of Viacom, activist investor Carl Icahn got involved and he too couldnâ€™t save it. Blockbuster ended up filing for bankruptcy protection in 2010. What was left coming out of the bankruptcy reorganization got snatched up by satellite TV operator Dish Network in 2011 for a couple of hundred million dollars. Almost immediately it began culling stores to reduce losses, a process that is now concluding. Dish says it continues â€œto see value in the Blockbuster brand,â€ which it plans to use in its digital offerings. And 50 stores operated by franchisees will remain open in the U.S. For most Americans, however, the days of going down to Blockbuster to pick up a movie are about to end forever.