The end is nigh
Allow me to make a prophecy: Big chain video rental stores will be extinct by the end of 2013, if not sooner.
It’s already happening. A number of chains have already folded in the US. Here in Canada the only 2 chains that remain are Rogers and Blockbuster. The prime Rogers location here in Victoria is shutting down within the next couple of weeks.
The writing is on the wall I’m afraid. We now live in a world where movies can be purchased new for not much more than it would cost to rent them. Couple that with the perceived hassle of late fees and having to return your movie after watching it versus the appealing notion of owning your movie forever and it’s not hard to understand why people are abandoning video stores.
And it’s not just the ability to buy movies for cheap. Downloading is almost certainly the true death knell for the video rental chains. The ability to download practically any movie you want, legally or otherwise, without having to leave your home is what will put places like Rogers and Blockbuster out of business. Netflix offers a subscription service that is likely the wave of the future for the video rental industry. For a flat monthly rate, their customers can download to their hearts content.
Rental is the past, purchase and download are the future. Independant video stores might survive, but their business plan will have to change. Indie stores will survive based on selection and expertise. Hard to find movies and knowledgeable staff will keep them afloat, though how well will depend on the community they serve. The big guys are doomed though. Poor business decisions have sealed their fate. By dumping their old catalogue titles in favour of just stocking new releases, the chains have flushed away their only hope for staying afloat in the new world. Walk in to any big chain today and you’ll find a paltry selection of “regular” release titles, while the new releases dominate the available shelf space.
I feel deep pity for those tragic few who looked to build a career in the rental industry. A nickel’s worth of free advice: Go back to school now, because in a couple of years you’re going to be out of a job. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.