23 March, 2006
DVD rental is dead; long live DVD rental
Though high street rental outlets such as Blockbuster deny it'll affect their viability, online services like Amazon's seem to be taking over the UK DVD rental business. Independent market research reported by the BBC suggests that shop-based companies are due to experience a sharp decline in their revenues.
Alistair MacRow, managing director of Blockbuster Online in the UK, insists that the online service will complement, rather than take business from, Blockbuster's physical stores.
"The online service is fantastic for major film watchers, but DVD rental is not a frequent habit for the vast majority of people who only rent a DVD about three times a year, and only make the decision within four hours of taking one out."
I'd have to question whether assumption of market inertia is the best basis for future planning in what is, I suspect, a growing sector. He may be right on his specific point, but I suspect the emphasis is wrong, and it's the high-street premises that'll supplement the core business: online rental.
Which, in my opinion, is a good thing.