Home > Featured articles > “No More Late Fees?”-The death of the local video shop

“No More Late Fees?”-The death of the local video shop

About five years ago at secondary school, a friend who worked at a Video Ezy store predicted the video rental industry will became extinct because of the Internet. Five years later, he was right.

Last year, video rental giant Blockbuster has closed down a thousand branches in the US and the company recently filled for bankruptcy. No doubt the already fading Blockbuster stores will close down in Australia. It’s hard to believe Blockbuster and other video rental chains used to be top business twenty years ago. There’s a strong chance Video Ezy and Devoted DVD are next. It seems everyday we see less and less of video rental outlets. Video shops were common as Fish-N-Chips at the streets and now there are only one hidden at your suburb.

What’s killing the video rental industry is anyone’s guess. Here’s the list:

1) The damn Internet. Everybody are streaming and downloading (either legally or illegally-I choose the later) movies online without leaving the house. Computers has further dominated our entertainment viewing with the introduction of iTunes, YouTube and BigPond Movies.

2) Current generation consoles PlayStation 3 and X-Box 360. Same reasons above. Sony and Microsoft have introduced movie downloading service where people can own or rent downloaded movies without any use of DVD and Blu-Ray discs. All movie files from Sony and Microsoft are in HD.

3) Movie piracy. Has always been a threat to the movie industry in general but with everyone using DVD burners, the threat is here to stay.

4) The new fangled DVD rental vending machines. On paper, they may sound like a joke but they’re real and on the rise. They started to appear in Melbourne and now appearing at Shell petrol stations and supermarkets. Just insert 2 bucks and like a Coke can, you will get a movie out of the hatch.

5) Everyone wants a bargain. Granted the $2 Super Tuesday deal is great, but with vending machines, you rent cheap DVDs anytime you want. Internet you’ll download a pirated copy for free.

6) “Word Of Mouth.” This is probably the most common reason of the demise of video rentals but has not been discussed in the media. Friends and family would burn DVDs to each other or pass them through their USB drives. Why go to the store when you could get a movie off from your cousin, brother, school mate from the playground, etc.

It’s part of the changing times and the evolution of technology. Cassettes were killed by compact discs which are now challenged by MP3 players. Sadly like VHS, video shops are becoming extinct. Unless you’re going to do something about it.

If you can’t stand bad quality downloaded movies or you want to watch a movie that you never heard of, do yourself a favour and support your local video shop! Bring life back to the shelves!

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Categories: Featured articles
  1. October 6, 2010 at 11:42 am

    And don’t forget the video stores themselves! They’re putting themselves out of business. This is the biggest problem imo. When the market changes around you, you’ve got to change with it .. laying out 10,000+ titles on shelves and making people walk around to find something just doesn’t make sense in our internet connected era. The DVDs aren’t the problem, it’s how they service the market (that is contracting), yet rely on expensive rent and labour costs to do it. There is a better way (hint http://applebox.com.au .. I founded it).

  2. October 6, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    I agree. Apart from the Super Tuesday gimmick, video shops have charged something like 15 dollars for two WEEKLY DVDs. If it weren’t for the coupons in the mail or the back of the supermarket receipt, video shops would have died earlier. Although they didn’t last long, Coles and Woolworths could have killed the video rental industry as they used to have a deal where customers get to buy (and own) a new release DVD for I think it was 10 bucks after spending 100 bucks in groceries. Of course the Watchdogs (and Today Tonight) stepped in and stopped them.

    Early this year, my local video shop were selling ex-rental and good quality Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland blu-rays for only $15 dollars as they were overstocked and the manager believed most of his customers don’t rent blu-rays. Video shops could follow the same path to attract more customers, but again, there’s that watchdoog thing.

    Thanks for the reply Simon and good luck with Applebox.

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