"We have no choice but to go hostile at this point," Blockbuster's general counsel, Edward Stead, said. "We don't have a lot of time. The rental industry is declining. The industry is under substantial pricing pressure."
Do people still rent movies any longer? I know that Lise and I are more likely to buy a movie than we are to rent it. We get two free movie passes at Blockbuster a month as part of a phone package that we have with MCI - but it has been almost a year since we have used them. On the off chance that we decide to stay home and get a movie, I use PPV.
Anyone here still going to Blockbuster?
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Originally posted by Guru ZimDo people still rent movies any longer? I know that Lise and I are more likely to buy a movie than we are to rent it.
I don't go to Blockbuster, but there's a Hollywood Video two blocks up the road from me. Up until a few months ago, my wife and I were in the same mode as you: if we saw a movie at home, we'd probably gotten it off Amazon or at a Best Buy. Then one night, at a loss for what to do we said, what the hell, let's rent a movie. We went to the Hollywood and discovered this "MVP" program they were just starting.
Basically, the program was this. For $9.99 per month you can: - rent 3 movies per day, free - you can only rent 3 at a time, meaning that if you have 3 movies rented already, you have to return one before you can rent another one; an inconvenience, but a small one - you get the movies for five days - late fees apply - you cannot rent brand new New Releases; two or three weeks after release, the movie's fair game; all old movies are fair game. (This isn't a hassle for me, because if I've waited months for the thing to be released on video, I can wait two or three weeks for the video to be in the MVP program and free.)
Given that each DVD was about three bucks and we were renting three that night, we figured that a $9.99 fee would pay for itself if we rented three other movies. And we did. We got in the habit of renting many movies per week, going from pretty much six years of non-renter status to "frequent renter" almost immediately. Since we were paying so little per movie (when you divided $9.99 at the end of the month), we stopped minding when we rented a turkey, or when something wasn't immediately exciting or accessible. I also don't mind doing things like spending a week renting all the old seasons of The Sopranos, whereas I'd never have done something like that before; too pricey. And I'll rent schlock movies with glee, whereas the process of getting a schlock movie in the mail from Netflix might shame me into not renting them. I'll rent documentaries of dubious interest and invite being educated.
I know there are tons more movies on Netflix, and I know it's only $8 more per month, but I just don't feel like bothering. I like stopping in the store on the way home. I like having something else that doesn't involve the damned internet. Sure, maybe the local Hollywood inexplicably has the first three seasons of Dark Shadows on VHS, but that's part of it's charm. I also like looking at awkward teenagers deal with customers, but I'm sort of a jerk like that.
So, yeah, people do rent. But I have to admit that I wouldn't without the MVP package. And the whole existence of Hollywood's MVP package is predicated on the basis of trying to compete with the services that Netflix provides. I guess it worked in my case.
I rent movies every once in awhile to watch with friends. I don't rent often, but that's probably more a product of me lacking free time than me shying away from movie rentals.
My parents rent movies all the time. At LEAST one movie a week, quite often like two or three in a week. They may be the exception though because I've never been able to convince them that buying a movie isn't a stupid idea. They think, "If you've seen a movie once or twice, why would you ever want to watch it again," so they don't buy. Yeah, I know, they're weird.
Originally posted by Jeb Tennyson LundI also don't mind doing things like spending a week renting all the old seasons of The Sopranos, whereas I'd never have done something like that before; too pricey.
To JTL (or anyone else that knows): do places like Blockbuster have a lot of TV shows on DVD for rental? For some reason I thought they didn't have any.
TV shows are a crapshoot. Many stores carry them, but what they carry is determined by the local manager. Apparently the local manager at my Hollywood likes The Sopranos and Dead Like Me but could take or leave Six Feet Under. Because of that, we have all the available Sopranos DVDs; ditto for Dead Like Me. But there is only the most recent Six Feet Under DVD set, and it will probably disappear when it's no longer a "recent release." Ditto The Wire, when it's no longer on the "new" shelf.
It really seems to break down on the basis of the manager of a store. I've been to Hollywood Videos with nothing but obvious schlock, but I also remember one in Sarasota run by nothing but former students, where each section was steeped in non-commercial, avant-garde or at least slightly tweaked movies. If you find a store where the manager loves old TV shows, you'll get more of them.
As for TV shows as a whole, the only impulse in rental stores seems to be carrying mini-series and HBO/Showtime/Pay Channel shows... and, sometimes, a really popular show. You're not going to see a Newsradio set on the shelves. And you'd never see The Simpsons, or, I would suspect, any show that can make a ton off of DVD sales and ignore rentals. But shows with short lives or pay-channel runs are going to be there. And there are treats like Invader ZIM, which is inexplicably available at my local Hollywood. Go figure.
Really, though, I think it's a store-to-store thing. I doubt you're going to get anything too obscure or too moneymaking DVD-wise. But you might have better choices than I. I'm in suburbia.
I don't know where your Hollywood is, but mine (which I rarely go to because I used to manage the mom-and-pop shop that they bought out in April which my asst. manager runs now) rents ALL movies at 99 cents for five days.
They don't even offer the MVP program.
For the record, I'm a purchase guy. I hardly ever "rented" when I worked for a store. I need the extra time to actually watch all the geeky extras.
I am one of the wierd types that can watch a movie 50+ times and never get sick of it. Besides, even if I get sick of it, I can eBay or re-gift the stinkers.
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Originally posted by Guru ZimDo people still rent movies any longer?
I own a video store; our numbers are still going up, and have been since we opened 7+ years ago. But I'm well aware that we're an anomaly. Our particular location (downtown in a college town; customers tend to be educated, liberal, pro-local-business) and selection (indie, foreign, documentary, arthouse, "good") make us niche-y enough where the local Blockbuster doesn't even really count as competition.
I was hoping to last another ten years or so, until we're all downloading our movies direct from Bill Gates; but this Netflix/Blockbuster/Walmart/Amazon subscription stuff does worry me. Not having seperate physical locations means that they can afford to be much more expansive in their selection; one copy of, say, the Apu trilogy can cover an entire state, so they can pick up a lot of the stuff that previously was our domain.
The day creeps ever closer that we are underbelly-white creatures with giant heads and nearly-useless limbs, never leaving the house, having all of our needs and luxuries alike delivered to our doorstep by glinting automatons. Yay.
(edited by Karlos the Jackal on 29.12.04 0214) Last 5 movies seen: Open Water - Twilight Samurai - Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou - Oasis
I recently got a Blockbuster gift card for my birthday, and parlayed it right into one of their Movie Freedom Passes, the one that you get 2 movies at a time for a month, any movies for however long. The first month you try this, apparently, its only $14.99, and between me and the kids, I must have went through at least 40 or 50 movies, with 2 each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I felt it was a great deal, myself, but I really felt the need to CONSTANTLY have something to watch, and then to watch it, like the clock was running on my gift!
We were actually thinking about dropping cable TV pretty soon, as my wife gets the bug to do every year or two. We did pretty well without it for a year and a half awhile back, and I found the only think I missed was RAW (and Nitro at the time, no matter how crappy each show was). The $9.99 Hollywood thing that JTL mentioned, for me, DEFINITELY sounds worth checking out. I like to be in the store checking stuff out, making the mental inventory. I do see the value of buying movies, though, as Blockbuster just ran their 3 previously viewed DVDs for $25, a nice deal.
I go where the "cheap" is. $9.99 or 3/$25...cheap.
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Originally posted by Guru ZimDo people still rent movies any longer?
We certainly do. With three young children, I go and get five movies at a time for a five night rental. That costs about $10 plus they have lots of different discounts running at any time. Here in the middle of nowhere Maine, we have no jumbo Blockbusters and the like. We only have regional stores and local stores.
Count me as one who does NOT rent movies anymore. It's all Netflix for me, and I particularly love the service. In addition, I find that it actually encourages me to purchase the movies that I really like, and I've found three movies thus far in a short span of time that I will add to my permanent collection.
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The two Hollywood Video stores I used to manage just recently got TV on DVD sections. These consist of the first 3 seasons of X-Files, 24, The Simpsons, and The Shield, and first seasons of Arrested Development, Dead Like Me, Seinfeld, That 70's Show, and Pee Wee's Playhouse. Pretty much Fox and Cable shows.
Frank, the manager at one of the stores told me that the reason it took so long for them to get a section was that Hollywood didn't want to pay for the rights to the shows. It seems that they're leasing them instead of buying the series outright to rent, just like movie studios used to do back in the eighties and early ninties, so they can't sell of copies. There's a two page list of series that he said they can get, but he'd have to either send something to another store or get another wall bay and get another whole section.
Sadly, with the MVP plan, they're not letting you get TV series yet, only older ones that they already had, like The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, Wiseguy, and Sex In The City.
The MVP thing is a pretty good Idea, but it's only $9.99 for the first three months, then they bump it up to $14.99, which is still a good deal.
Blockbuster has had TV shows for a few years now. The Blockbusters in this area, at least, aren't doing that well since Hollywood moved in about seven years ago. Hollywood was the company that came in and started buying out all the smaller stores and keeping the employees at a higher pay, which was pretty cool. Then again, we also had porn rentals back then, and they've since phased those out to make the stores more family friendly.
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I never go to Blockbuster anymore. Haven't gone in over a year.
I goto Hollywood Video when I want to rent video games, the ones that I only want to play once or twice and then be done. Of course, when they only have a couple copies, I rarely get to the "hot" ones until weeks if not months later.
Other than that, it's all Netflix, baby. The art movies that chain stores won't stock, TV show sets and pictures that might be NC-17.
I, too, left Blockbuster behind. I would always forget to return the movie and the late fees would just pile up. NetFlix is much easier for my family's lifestyle--we rent movies that we don't want to buy and since we don't get to the movies as much with 2 kids, it all works out. The fact that everything comes to us (with return postage envelopes) is a bonus. My last late fee from BB was $19---almost the exact cost of my monthly NetFlix fee.
I just went to Blockbuster for the first time in months. Apparently for the new "No Late Fees" thing, they upped the prices. Two video games cost me $14.28. You can be sure I'm keeping those things for the full two weeks.
Actually the guy at the store said I could keep it and wouldn't have to pay anything as long as I returned it before the thirty days were up, but I think that's wrong.
I haven't rented a movie in probably ten years because I see pretty much everything in theatres. But I do patronize Hollywood Video to build my DVD collection by purchasing their "previewed" copies, which are often on sale for 3 for $25. And they guarantee them for a year.
I am adamantly against this merger because Hollywood's previewed sale stuff is so much better than Blockbuster's. If a movie is released in seperate pan-and-scan and widescreen versions, Blockbuster will typically have the pan-and-scan only. Hollywood tends to have the stuff available more quickly, and they shrink-wrap their titles with labels on the outside, keeping the cases clean. Plus, Hollywood's deals tend to be cheaper.
But I suppose considering how often I get to WATCH my DVD's, I may as well just buy less and buy what I do new.
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Originally posted by Guru ZimDo people still rent movies any longer?
Ayup. Mostly for movies I wanted to see, but either didn't have time/money or they just never made it here (Good Bye, Lenin!, Control Room). But now we've just gotten VOD, and the selection's decent. I'd probably still rent games, of course.
However, Hollywood gets most of my bidness. They're just closer, really, and they have better selection. Haven't been to Blockbuster enough to complain about their practices.
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Guru, I believe that you are right. That's why O&A have an extra fee to listen to them ($2.00 or something). They are considered "premium" content, and therefore nobody is going to freak out if they "accidently" tune in to them.