Sunday Discussion Stuff

Sunday Discussion: The End of Blockbuster Video and Video Renting


Geek Alabama Discussion

Technology has advanced so much in our world that a staple in the video business world is winding down operations.  Blockbuster Video announced they would shut down most of their remaining 300 Blockbuster stores – down from 9,000 or so about a decade ago.  Around 50 stores not owned by the company would stay open in Texas and Alaska.  But I would not count on them remaining open for long.  A few years ago, Dothan based Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video had around 4,700 stores in North America.  But all of their stores closed down in 2010.  And now, Blockbuster Video is about to join them.  Yesterday was the last day anyone could rent a video from them.

I have very vivid memories of video renting.  When I was younger, my parents would often take me to the local mom and pop video renting place to rent some great movies.  Most nights were often a movie night, and I loved watching movies.  Sometimes we got a special treat and we rented some video games, that was fun!  Today, the same video renting places that I often went too are all closed down.  And soon just about every video renting place will cease to exist.  It’s horrible that all the people in these closed down stores will be without a job.  But just about everyone saw this coming from a mile away!

Today, technology such as digital streaming and downloads from Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu Plus, have mostly killed the video renting business.  The only video renting business you will still see is those Redbox and other kiosks where you can rent DVD’s and video games for a very affordable price!  These options have made the brick-and-mortar video stores like Blockbuster literally obsolete forever.  You still might see a brick-and-mortar video renting place in rural areas where broadband service is still very slow or not available.  But in urban areas, you can forget about it!

Blockbuster tried to branch out to and compete with streaming and mail-order content, but the competitors were already in the game with better selections and better prices.  Even after most of the stores close down, Blockbuster will still offer streaming services, but many people have been burned by those late fees in the past and can not trust Blockbuster for anything.  I for one, will not miss those video renting stores and I will always get my movies via streaming services.

Why don’t I like video renting stores you ask?  Because a lot of bad things could happen.  For example, you only get to rent that brand new release for one night.  What if something happened where you don’t have the time to watch that brand new movie?  You never know if an emergency or car trouble could ruin your night.  That’s a couple of bucks down the drain.  And what about while in the store.  I am sure you don’t want to run into someone who you don’t want to see like a former lover or even an enemy.  What if you are getting a movie title that is not for your demographic and your co-worker sees it while you are checking out.  The next day at work is not going to be fun.

And then there are those late fees.  Most people will drop their movie in the return box instead of entering the store.  Sometimes the worker forgets to scan the returned movies and bam, after closing, if the movies have not been scanned in, you have to pay a late fee.  I am the kind of person who does not want other people to see what I am getting.  No matter if I am in a Wal-Mart or in a video renting store.  So I am glad there are renting options available.  I could either rent from Netflix, Redbox, on even on YouTube.  And that means no one will know what I am watching.  That’s great for me!

Today, I could also go down to the local store and buy a great movie for a couple for bucks!  Have you seen those bins where you look though and find a great movie for cheap?  It’s getting cheaper to buy a movie outright.  And I like that!  Today, we are entering an era where our consumption of film and other such content is radically changing.  Streaming content, digital downloading, and portable multiple platform access to content provide all of us with an ease of access, a quality of product, and a level of interaction that is amazing and impressive on every level.  More and more people are going to get their movie fix with these options.  And 20 years from now, newer people will never know what a video rental store is.  It’s like the other products that have disappeared because technology got better.

https://twitter.com/trinawehner/status/399674517154316288

Blockbuster is about to go away forever and the brick-and-mortar video renting businesses will go away as well.  I am not going to miss them, you should not miss them as well!