Debt, changing media habits topple Blockbuster

FILE - This July 23, 2006 file photo shows customers enter a Blockbuster video store in Dallas. The troubled video-rental chain Blockbuster Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday Sept. 23, 2010 as it tries to reorganize. (AP Photo/Ron Heflin, File)

NEW YORK — Blockbuster Inc., once the dominant movie rental company in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, after reeling from mounting losses, rising debt and competitors that have better catered to Americans’ changed media habits.

Blockbuster will continue to operate its 3,000 U.S. stores. But the move, long expected, marks the end of an era that Blockbuster and its gold-and-blue torn ticket logo helped establish — of Americans visiting video-store chains for the latest movie-rental releases. Increasingly, Americans are forgoing Blockbuster and watching movies via video subscription services like Netflix Inc., video on demand and vending machine services such as Coinstar Inc.’s Redbox.

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