Blockbuster’s stock is trading at under a dollar, its net losses are widening, and it’s in the midst of closing nearly 1,000 stores — but on CNBC Thursday CEO Jim Keyes insisted that the company had a bright future in digital because of its strong brand. “When you’re driving down mainstreet and you see that Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) brand you know it’s the place to rent movies,” he said. “The same experience we think will be true on the internet. Blockbuster is a very reliable brand so we think the future is bright for us once we are able to make that transformation.” Keyes also insisted that while Blockbuster’s current competitors might include Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) and Redbox, in the long term they will be the “Apples, the Amazons.”
Wishful thinking? Under Keyes, Blockbuster has been talking about a digital reinvention for almost two years now — and plans for a wider rollout of the ‘Rock The Block’ prototype stores that Keyes mentions so enthusiastically have been scuttled because of the company’s lack of cash. But Keyes does do a strong job at countering the doubt thrown at him by CNBC’s anchors.