Interview: Blockbuster CEO: Skeptics Aside, Confident Of Physical’s Digital Future

imageUpdate: I have tweaked the headline a bit for those who did not get the humor in the headline.

Jim Keyes is very passionate about setting the record straight about Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI), after being declared dead at every point during the last decade. The year-old CEO of the video retailer is eager to clear the misinterpretation about competition with Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), only being a brick-and-mortar store, its competitive advantage in the long run, and explaining its now-abandoned quest to buy Circuit City. Being the former CEO of 7-Eleven, he does bring some innovative ideas for retail in the future — at least on paper. I put him through the paces in a detailed interview last week after the company’s Q208 earnings announcement. The key, he thinks, is a good balance between physical and electronic, and in the short term, about making making physical media a lot more convenient. He also talked about turning the BB stores into consumer electronics hub, something his company tried to achieve by bidding for Circuit City but now is going to try and do it on its own. The detailed interview, below:

Tons more after the jump….

How does the digital strategy sit with the retraction of advertising TotalAccess online, and the pullback in promoting it to make it more profitable? How can you reconcile those two?

Jim Keyes: I’m glad you asked because this has been an area of a lot of confusion and particularly in the press