The news that Blockbuster may be seeking bankruptcy protection allows me to veer slightly away from politics into a bit of a business/culture rant, if I may.
If video stores do become extinct, it will be the result of almost wilful lack of imagination, particularly with regard to what the customer may want or need.
First of all, I don't know about you, but I don't go to the video store and say: "Hey, I feel like renting a drama starting with a "T" tonight." Really. In the quarter century or so that video stores have been in operation, has no one figured out a better way to sort the selection? Libraries figured this out. A more contemporary example -- Itunes figured this out. Choosing music to buy is a happy adventure on Itunes. Bookstores, the ones online at least, have seen the wisdom in assembling some of their offerings according to: "customers who bought this book also bought...." and genre lists, assembled by readers/consumers.
But there the video stores sat, fat and happy, shoving videos on shelves, confident that you'd roam about alphabetically among loose categories of new releases and "We're Funny" and "We're Scary." The closest they came to sorting the merchandise according to taste/preference were those sketchy racks where employees stacked their favourite movies. "Clerks", "About a Boy," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Thanks, Ryan. (All excellent movies, by the way. I'm just saying it's not safe to assume all customers share the enthusiasm for flicks adored by the guy who works at the cash register.)
I could also venture some views about late fees, convenience and the like, but it's the sorting thing, overall. In a world crowded with information and entertainment, it isn't providing the product that works -- it's helping people sort through the overload. As I said, libraries figured this out when they invented the Dewey decimal system (or Library of Congress if you prefer.) The person who invents a user-friendly system of sorting all the movies out there for rent will be a rich person, it's fair to predict. None of the big video-rental places -- and certainly not Rogers On Demand -- is performing that basic service right now.