The death of the video rental store is a well trodden topic on blogs and in columns, so I’ll try to keep this short. Now I’m not some old kook complaining about the death of an unwanted, useless technology. I am old enough to remember visiting video stores to hire movies on VHS as a kid. I’ve always enjoyed the library type quality of the video store, and the even greater browsing quality, even when you know what your looking for. Then of course came DVD, Blu-ray, and then on-demmand. Blockbuster pushed out the local video store and Netflix eventually pushed out Blockbuster. You know the story. Of course whilst each newcomer cornered the market, each respectively put up their prices when consumers had nowhere else to consume: When your local video store got trodden on by Blockbuster up went the BB night rentals, when Blockbuster all but went bankrupt up went those Netflix subscriptions.
In the past year three of my local video stores have shut down, one Blockbuster and two independents. In the past 8 months I’ve done what the market dictates I do In response to this; I’ve got my home entertainment online via the usual sources of downloaded and streamed content, as well as on-demmand services direct to my TV. But here’s the thing, I just can’t settle on enjoying movies on my laptop, even if they are of good quality, which often they’re not. And as for on-demmand movies from Netflix or your cable/satellite provider, the quality and selection is there (ok, selection still needs to be worked on for obscure movie fans) but there’s no beating the sheer experience of visiting the local movie store. So It was with great pleasure that today, after 8 long months of downloading and streaming, I’ve finally found a video store to become a member of. One with a huge selction of titles and a great horror back catalogue.
Let’s wrap with the original title of this ramble: The death of the video store? This much touted phrase is a little apocalyptically dramatic for my liking. I liken it to vinyl stores. There’s probably more vinyl record stores out there now than there was in the mid 90s when record stores were all but extinct at the hands of the mighty CD and then the advent of downloads. Why? Because people love to collect and browse music just like they do.., movies! Video stores are going to continue take a big hit over the coming decade, and who knows, my newly discovered local store may not even exist in twelve months time. But there will always be a place for the video store, and for the surviving ones, I have this message; hold on tight, you’re becoming so niche that you’ll be super hipster soon and teenagers in black-rimmed glasses will be flocking to your store (which means the prices will go back up again.., you just can’t fucking win).