Last Man Standing

The “movie on video for hire” business has been in decline for a number of years. I’ve been surprised every week while walking down the main street near our home at the resilience, to this date, of this movie hire store that has continued to buck the ‘closing down’ trend – until now.

Conveniently located on the high street, and with a carpark in the forecourt, it’s amazing to think that it has lasted so far into the download revolution. While a Blu-ray player in most households is not too hard to find (see their gaming device), it’s likely you might be hard pressed to find a faithful DVD player still sitting standalone in the TV cabinet. And anyway, if we want to watch a DVD, we just use our PC or laptop…if we can remember where we left it.

For just one generation (or maybe 2 if you count VHS), exciting times could be had on a Friday or Saturday night, given you might not yet be of ‘drinking’ age and couldn’t sneak out to the pub instead.

Heading to the ‘video store’ meant the anticipation of what ‘new releases’ might still be available to hire that night, or perhaps pick a few ‘weeklies’ to enjoy while escaping the monotony of broadcast TV. While in the store, you might also grab a bag of popcorn, a few lollies and drinks, getting set for the night ahead.

In some places, there was a time when the video store would also hire actual players, either DVD players or VHS machines back in the day. It’s a concept that seems such a world away, given that a DVD player can now retail from around $35...or less.

Did the video hire franchise owners see this coming 20 years ago? Who would have thought HD content would ever be available online, considering dial-up internet in 1995 was delivered at maybe 56kbps?

So the question to ask now is whether the video hire business is destined to disappear completely. Considering not every home will have (or want) access to Netflix, high speed internet or on-demand satellite TV, is there life still to be breathed into a local movie hire store? I think we know the answer.

It seems to have come and gone so quickly.