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DVD Rental



Acquired by Amazon.com in 2011, the service had reached 2 million subscribers. It claimed over 70,000 titles, and over 4 million DVD, Blu-ray or game rentals per month in five countries. Through a series of acquisitions, Lovefilm quickly became the leading online DVD rental and streaming outlet in the UK and Europe.




DVD Rental



The company offered a download service alongside postal delivery but this ceased on 23 February 2009.[2] The company also started a "watch online" service which offered over 4,700 films available to watch as part of a subscription. This online viewing was available for free to subscribers who had opted for one of their unlimited monthly rental plans or the unlimited streaming-only account.


ScreenSelect led what became a clutch of mergers across the UK DVD rental industry. In December 2003, this began with the acquisition of In-Movies. In September 2004, ScreenSelect followed up with the merger with Video Island, which combined ScreenSelect's management and brand with Video Island's venture capital.


Up until July 2013, Lovefilm offered a video game rental service to customers. In July 2013, it issued a statement letting both new and existing customers know that this service would no longer be offered beginning 8 August 2013.[17]


On 21 February 2014, it was announced that the Lovefilm video-on-demand service would be discontinued on 26 February 2014, and folded into Amazon Instant Video. The Lovefilm name would be maintained for the DVD rental business, although this service was embedded into Amazon as well.[18][19]


Lovefilm came in for criticism from users over its claim to offer "unlimited" DVD rentals. Some users reportedly found the company used long delays at the shipping stage to reduce the number of films a month a customer can rent. In 2006, before the merger with ScreenSelect, Lovefilm was subject of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority over the use of the word "unlimited" in their advertising. The ASA upheld the complaint. It was revealed that they practised throttling, where high-volume customers experienced slower shipments from different warehouses and selections from lower in their rental list. They were also less likely to receive replacement shipments on the same day a disc is received.[27] The company claimed that this "fair usage" policy means all customers get a similar service.


In late November 2009, Lovefilm stopped adding new DVDs from the distributor Universal Pictures (UK) to the rental area of their site. This made a number of films unavailable to users, including Public Enemies, The Invention of Lying, Brüno, Funny People, Inglourious Basterds and Kick-Ass. The dispute was resolved in May 2012, and Lovefilm offered for rental and for streaming post-2009 films distributed by Universal Pictures.[28]


A video rental shop/store is a physical retail business that rents home videos such as movies, prerecorded TV shows, video game discs and other media content. Typically, a rental shop conducts business with customers under conditions and terms agreed upon in a rental agreement or contract, which may be implied, explicit, or written. Many video rental stores also sell previously viewed movies and/or new, unopened movies.


In the 1980s, video rental stores rented VHS and Betamax tapes of movies, although most stores dropped Beta tapes when VHS won the format war late in the decade. In the 2000s, video rental stores began renting DVDs, a digital format with higher resolution than VHS. In the late 2000s, stores began selling and renting Blu-ray discs, a format that supports high definition resolution.


Widespread adoption of video on demand and video streaming services such as Netflix in the 2010s sharply reduced the revenues of most major rental chains, leading to the closure of most locations. Due to the precipitous drop in demand, few rental shops have survived into the present day. As of 2022, the small number of remaining stores tend to cater to film buffs seeking classic and historic films, art films, independent films, and cult films that are less available on streaming platforms.


The world's oldest business renting out copies of movies for private use was a film reel rental shop opened by Eckhard Baum in Kassel, Germany in the summer of 1975. Baum collected movies on Super 8 film as a hobby and lent pieces of his collection to friends and acquaintances. Because they showed great interest in his films, he came up with the idea of renting out films as a sideline.[1] Over the years, videotapes and optical discs were added to the range. Baum still operates the business as of September 2015[2] and was portrayed in the June 2006 documentary film Eckis Welt by Olaf Saumer.[3]


The first professionally managed video rental store in the U.S., Video Station, was opened by George Atkinson in December 1977 at 12011 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. After 20th Century Fox had signed an agreement with Magnetic Video founder Andre Blay to license him 50 of their titles for sale directly to consumers, amongst them Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, M*A*S*H, Hello, Dolly!, Patton, The French Connection, The King And I and The Sound Of Music, Atkinson bought all the titles in both VHS and Beta formats, and offered them for rent.[4][5][6] Such stores led to the creation of video rental chains such as West Coast Video, Blockbuster Video, and Rogers Video in the 1980s.


Video games started being rented in video shops from 1982. Some of the earliest game cartridges available for rental included Donkey Kong, Frogger and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. However, not many stores made them available for rental at the time.[12] In Japan, Nintendo Entertainment System games could be rented as early as 1983. However, in response to rental stores making unauthorized copies of game cartridges, video game companies, as well as the Recording Industry Association of Japan and trade associations, lobbied for an amendment to the Japanese Copyright Act that banned the rental of video games in Japan in 1984.[13]


In the late 1990s, DVDs began appearing in video rental stores. The format was smaller than tapes, allowing stores to stock more movies. As well, the thin, lightweight discs could be mailed, which made mail DVD services feasible.In the late 1990s, Netflix offered a per-rental model for each DVD but introduced a monthly subscription for DVDs concept in September 1999.[19] The per-rental model was dropped by early 2000, allowing the company to focus on the business model of flat-fee unlimited rentals without due dates, late fees (a source of annoyance for bricks and mortar video store customers), shipping and handling fees, or per-title rental fees.[20]


Rogers Video was the first chain to provide DVD rentals in Canada. Other chains and independent stores later transitioned to the newer format. Similarly, many video stores rented Blu-ray Disc movies after the high definition optical disc format war ended in the late 2000s.


Some firms rented DVDs from automatic kiosk machines such as Redbox. Customers selected a movie from a list using buttons, paid by credit card, and the movie popped out of a slot. While traditional brick and mortar video rental stores were closing at a high rate, Redbox moved into existing retail locations such as supermarkets, and placed kiosks within them or outside of them to gain access to that consumer base.[21] As well, with Redbox, consumers could rent the movie at one kiosk (for example, one near their work) and return it to any Redbox kiosk (for example, one near their home), thus increasing convenience. Redbox surpassed Blockbuster in 2007 in the number of US locations,[22] passed 100 million rentals in February 2008,[23] and passed 1 billion rentals in September 2010.[24]


On January 5, 2021, Glenview, Illinois-based Family Video announced it was closing all its remaining video rental stores.[35] The company was the last remaining video rental chain in the United States; its closing marked the end of large video rental chains.[citation needed]


In the 2020s, some video stores facing the loss of their business model have adapted by becoming non-profit organizations that focus on preserving an archive of film heritage and educating people about cinema.[36] Operating as a non-profit enables a video store to use volunteer personnel and apply for foundation grants, which can make it feasible to operate with less rental revenue.[36]


Meanwhile, as the end of 2022, there are still more than 2,000 video rental stores in Japan, including Tsutaya and Geo. However, as is typical, the number is decreasing year by year.[37][38] In addition, Redboxhas nearly 40,000 vending machine-type stores in the U.S. as of 2021.[39]


In 2022, CBC News reported that Ottawa still has two DVD rental stores: Movies n' Stuff (12,000 titles for rent and 40,000 more in storage) and Glebe Video International (18,000 titles for rent).Movies n' Stuff's owner, Peter Thompson, attributes the continued interest in video rental stores to the rising cost of streaming subscription services and patrons' desire for the personalized film recommendations he provides. [40]


Film critic Collin Souter states that video stores gave "film lovers [a place] to congregate" and make "discoveries by browsing" the racks of film shelves, with the store providing a "film school, a social gathering, a place of cinematic discovery, date nights, and rites of passage."[42] He underscores the impact that video stores had by noting that when film director Quentin Tarantino, a former video rental store employee, learned that Video Archives in Hermosa Beach California (the store he had worked at) was closing, he bought the entire "inventory and recreated the store in his basement", as for him, "that place [was] a lifesaver."[42]


In 2010, the small number of remaining video stores have launched International Video Store Day, which is on the third Saturday in October, to promote awareness of video rental stores and their unique contribution to film culture. [43] 041b061a72


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