Well kids, it looks like it’s the end of an era: Blockbuster is no more. Ironically enough, the last movie to be rented at a Blockbuster was “This is the End”. OK, so a lot of you probably thought Blockbuster has been long gone, as Netflix, XFinity On Demand and online streaming have swiftly taken the place of video rental. But is it safe to say that DVD players have officially vacated our living rooms and now join their predecessor the VCR in that old closet in your basement? The answer seems to be a firm and decisive “Yes”.
Traveling back to a time where video rental stores were a place to hang out after school (or was that just me?) and video rentals were at their peak, Blockbuster had 9,000 store locations and brought in $5.9 billion in revenue. By the second quarter of 2013, Blockbuster had 300 stores left, and revenue had fallen drastically to $120 million. Also in 2004, $24.9 billion was spent on DVDs, Blu rays and VHS tapes. In 2012, $8.46 billion was spent.
Even powerhouses like Netflix have been seeing drastic drops in their DVD rental subscriptions, going from 14 million to 11 million in 2011. The fact is that digital streaming is taking over. Netflix considers itself succeeding in their online subscriptions despite DVD rental subscriptions decreasing. Other online sources like Amazon, HBOGO, and Comcast Xfinity on Demand have experienced similar success.
With the ease of online streaming, and ability to stream directly to your laptop, smart phone, tablet, and then of course plugging THAT device into your TV, this increase in online streaming seems to make sense. At the same time, with free (often illegal) online streaming becoming more readily available, it is becoming less and less necessary to pay to watch a movie or television.
These developments are not going unnoticed by television and film executives. My own personal love for film (and attachment to movie rental stores as my former home away from home) has me joining the many concerned for the future of the film industry, pushing me to continue to support film and television and pay for it as a product. But because I cannot tell a lie (even in written word) I must admit that as I write this, I have Breaking Bad streaming on Netflix.