18/07/2024

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Death Of The DVD – Are Video Rentals A Thing Of The Past?

Death Of The DVD – Are Video Rentals A Thing Of The Past?

Don’t we all have fond memories of renting movies at Blockbuster? Our family would schedule movie night, pop in some buttery microwave popcorn, and rent the latest DVD of choice. My sister and I would fight over who gets to pick the movie, and end up renting a chick flick that my dad has to sit through. But those memories seem to be a thing of the past. With the steady decline of Blockbuster Video sales in the past few months, reports have shown that they are finally filing for bankruptcy this September. Is this finally the death of the DVD?

This was not the first scare in the past years. In the late 1980s and the uprise of cable channels like HBO and Cinemax, the chitchat among tech experts and publicists were predictions about the end of the video retail world. People were going to prefer getting cable television than go out and rent a movie, but that didn’t really materialize.

And then came the Internet. It first started with the decline of CD sales due to the Napster era, when online music downloads posed an imminent threat to the largest music stores. It trickled over to the video retail scene in the late 90s by means of DivX, an online compression technology that allowed users to download their favorite movies in high quality. Discussion forums and threads were bustling with predictions about the decline in sales for the movie rental businesses, but the retail industry crept back up and people were enjoying their much needed Blockbuster fix.

But here comes another threat: Netflix and Gamefly, online service offerings that provide flat rate DVD through rent-by-mail and streaming capabilities. Just recently, Netflix celebrated their 2 millionth user. This is even discounting RedBox, a kiosk-based DVD rental business that lets anyone rent movies for a dollar overnight. Blockbuster strived to compete against these emerging businesses by launching Blockbuster On Demand and select kiosks, but looks like their feeble attempts have not been very successful.

Blockbuster’s claim is that the announced bankruptcy will last for only a couple of months, but technology experts state otherwise. The former number one video retail store has already closed out hundreds of stores and launched thousands of kiosks across the country.

Not that we have seen a decline in the movie industry. In fact, millions of people have started to watch more movies than they’ve ever had for the past few years. Returns from films show that it is up by a couple hundred millions this year, and people still enjoy watching the latest films in movie houses. The movie industry is booming, but we don’t know for certain if the next few months will predict the conclusion of the hope that was given to video retail stores nationwide.

Major film studios such as Universal, Sony, Walt Disney, Fox, Paramount and Warner Brothers have agreed to discuss this with Blockbuster’s CEO Jim Keyes, but we don’t know what the future holds for them. If Blockbuster can act quickly and provide competitive advantage to a world of music downloads, video streaming and kiosk convenience, then the impending death of the DVD may not be realized soon.