When Did You Last Rent A Movie?

When Did You Last Rent A Movie?

Last year, my nearest video rental outlet closed and was replaced by a chemist. I didn’t really care, because I’d never been a member. As accurately as I can calculate, the last time I rented a video (and it actually was a video, not a DVD) was sometime around the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Just how extreme is that?

Picture by Craig Anderson

Between the rapidly dropping price of DVD movies, a wide range of digital channels, video on demand services and Channel BT, it’s not exactly surprising that video stores are struggling for custom. Even if you’re a mad film buff, a DVD by mail service is likely to cover your needs more effectively than any store. Anecdotal evidence suggests that stores which are still open rely heavily on phone recharges and food sales to supplement video rentals.

But I’m wondering just how off the curve I am. When did you last rent a movie? Do you still regularly frequent your local video store? Tell us (and tell us why) in the comments.


  • Closed and turned into a chemist? You don’t live in Rowville do you? Happened not to long ago.

    I still rent occasionally, once every few weeks when I’m not near internet (its hell).

    • Those of us who want to stay legal still rent occasionally, although at my house we are doing it through iTunes store rather than video shops – around 1 in 3 DVDs we rent are scratched enough that they skip in places, and about 1 in 6 are so scratched they are unwatchable. DVD store will credit you back but it’s not really worthwhile when you sit down for a video night and get caught out like that.

      • Oh, by internet I didn’t mean I pirate movies/tv otherwise.

        I just meant I rarely get a chance to watch anything, and hire because I’m at my girlfriends once a week and have no internet to do my work.

        Which is actually nice and relaxing for once!

    • About 10 days ago, my GF and I rented 7 weeklies for $7, very economical, probably more so than if it were downloaded via bittorrent (cost of electricity, potential throttling of internet speed for downloading 10 to 28gig, burning to DVD since there is no other method on that TV at the moment) and on the plus side it was also legal.

  • Mmm last time I rented DVD’s about 2 months ago, Blu-Ray’s – 2 weeks ago. It does however tend to be movies not TV series that are rented (exception being children series). That is because with children and cost of movies means going to the cinema is very expensive. It is cheaper to catch up on movies I have missed via renting than buying (particularly if it is a “watch once” movie).

    I’ll also note that we borrow DVDs from the local library every time we are there. That however has no charge so not renting as such.

  • I live out in the middle of nowhere, and all I have for internet is a 512k satellite connection, which costs $44.95 a month and all I get is 8 GB of downloads (2 on peak, 6 off peak).

    If it wasn’t for the fact the town 60 KM away has a Video Ezy, I wouldn’t have movies at all.

  • Probably haven’t rented anything for a couple of years now. Go to the movies several times a year, but I rarely sit down and watch a movie at home, and when I do it tends to be either live on TV, or something I’ve recorded off it.

  • I might go for months without renting a movie, and then get ten out all at once because I’ve got a free weekend. I found that the DVD mail services and download options don’t suit this sort of behaviour – you’re stuck getting movies when you don’t have time to watch them or else you can’t get enough movies if you want to watch a bunch.

    I agree that going to the video store seems archaic, but it’s not that inconvenient (I have one near my supermarket; plus it’s a good reason to go for a walk), and it’s usually cheaper in the long run.

  • Last movie I tried to rent was back in about 2002 from Video Ezy Bundoora (in melbourne). Upon paying for the movie I was told that the last overnight movie I rented was returned a day late (which wasnt true because I put it in the overnight chute – my guess is that it wasnt checked for a day or two) and that I had been fined. Also becuase I hadnt paid the fine I had to pay another fine. That was BS because I wasnt even told about the fine, how can I pay a fine I dont even know about? So anyway, I didnt rent the movie, paid the fine and blacklisted the store. Now I just download movies and it works great. Go to hell video ezy, go to hell…

    • I had exactly the same situation. I had put them in the chute which they don’t check all the time and as a result got a fine. Hadn’t been back for about 3 months so they sent me a letter from a debt collector chasing something like $30 in fines. Went in, disputed it, paid half and never returned.

      With the crap customer service they have, hope they go bust.

  • I own a DVD store, and I can tell you right now that over 95% of our gross income comes direct from DVD rental.

    I live in a town with a pop. of over 65,000 people and I have over 5500 active (hired within the last 12 months) on the books.

    Video stores are not going anywhere any time soon, as despite different delivery mediums appearing, no one has managed to do what ever B&M store does and that is deals.

    Yeah VOD and mail services are great (ive used them both in the past) but if you want to go and pick up the latest and greatest as well as a few classics you could easily spend double what you would in a store on VOD, and with mail rental you can only have x amount out at a time. 2 new releases and 4 weekly movies for $10 is what I offer, not to mention happy hour between 7.30 – 8.30.

    While it is true that some stores are failing miserably, I think it is more of a representation of their managements inability to move with the times and market their product effectivly than a representation of the whole industry. In the last 2 years our store has grown 50%+ Year on year. B&M stores will be around for a long time yet. They keep the distributors alive. I wont blab on any more, but Im confident any one with a genuine knowledge of the industry at a distributor level will back me up.

    • Are you serious? Paying $6 for the pleasure of using up your download quota, having to deploy your hardware to produce a less than dvd quality result!!! I don’t think so.

      Come on… Video stores are dying b/c of bit torrents and illegal downloading.

      Video Stores are still way ahead of online VOD b/c it often costs lest to hire new release DVD. In fact my local store regularly sends out vouchers and new releases cost $2-3 and if you take advantage of discount times it can cost $2.

      Oovie is also great as they only charge $3 and offer a free wed dvd as well as other promotions.

      When will the VOD crowed wake up and provide a service for a price that it’s worth. They should be charging $1-2 for new release movies not $6.

      Most Video stores will offer weekly dvd for $1 and VOD charge upwards of $3 – what a rip off!!!

      Well done Simon on keeping up a great store.

      • You’re forgetting the people who live in remote areas don’t have Internet connections as strong as those who live in metropolitan areas.

        DVD stores aren’t going to be wiped out anytime soon ’til the period when everybody has access to broadband.

  • Last night. My DVD store has overnight new releases for $1 Monday to Thursday. Haven’t seen anything that can match the price or convenience of that.

    Pandorum by the way. A pretty good movie.

  • Last Sunday. 2 Blurays. No snacks.

    I rent pretty regularly but I also have a large collection of DVDs I own as well as being a ChannelBT fan and now a VOD user as well.

    Up until about 3 months ago there were 3 different rental franchises plus a DVD ATM thing within a 2 minute walk of my house. One of the franchises has now closed.

    I only use one of the franchises near me. A Video-Ezy. They have a good selection and always print out the little deal coupons which are great.
    There are always people in there too, even during weekdays.

  • The Blockbuster near my house has gradually reduced in size in the last year. It started as a double unit store and is now lucky to be half a unit. The bakery next door is doing better.

  • before 2004-5, i was a movie addict, and hired VHS/DVDs weekly. i even worked in a local civic video thru uni. then i got into computers, and my friends were lan leechers, so my needs were met digitally.

    i seem to remember a point, late last year, where the misses wanted to watch “phantom of the opera”, and it was @ an end of a bandwidth cap cycle, so i went to the video shop, not 20m away.

    even then, i struggled to remember my password for the account.

    shame really…

  • I rent constantly.

    Channel BT just doesnt look good on a large TV compared to DVD or BD. I figure why spend a couple of grant on a high def TV if you are only going to get compressed copies of the internet. And itune quality for movies is laughable and would not recommend to anyone. Handbrake does a better job.

    And the amount of movies that “look good” and turn out to be utter rubish is to high for purchased in my opinion. Again itune is very guilty about that. See my comments for the movie Tale of a Vampire on itunes.

  • It probably closed because it was crap. Try finding a good store, my local Blockbuster is great. When i want a movie i run down get it none of this waiting for ever to download, deliver etc. A lot cheaper then any other service, get full HD Blurays. They have a huge range of movie’s compared to any other service.

  • I dont rent hugely often by i definitely do it.

    i tend to buy movies i really like but there are still a large number of ones that i’m interested in but doubt id ever want to watch more than once, to those movies i rent.

    my internet isnt up to streaming HD (or even dvd quality) and i spent a good deal of money on a home theater system so i want better than a 700meg dvd rip for pretty much everything i watch.

    i tend to be a bit naughty and will get a whole bunch of new releases at once, rip them all and then watch them whenever i feel like it so i dont have to worry about the 1 day return policy.

    realistically until i can stream Blu ray quality video into my house for cheap then i will still have a use for my local video stores

  • Our family rents five DVDs/BDs a week. We often don’t watch all of them, but it’s only $7.50, and it sure beats waiting an entire day for one movie to download.

  • Have not rented a movie for 7 years.

    I divested myself of physical media 5 years ago, and ergo, all devices required to play them (VCR/DVD/CD).

    Finally got rid of the TV itself 3 years ago.

    All quality decisions I don’t regret at ALL 🙂

  • We’ve not rented a DVD in about a year now (since we got foxtel actually.) And before that we stuck to weekly rentals. We just felt new releases were too pricey ($6 each in my local store) and they always became weeklys sooner or later so we just waited.

    We’ve always had a VideoEzy (still do) but we had a Blockbuster for a while that didn’t last long. I suppose that was because they kept the new releases on the shelf too long, longer than video ezy! I’m not sure what helps our dvd store remain, but they always had tons of dvds for sale, new and ex rental.

  • Last week. I stay at my girlfriend’s a lot, and she doesn’t have the download quota for Zune Marketplace/PSN video/iTunes that I do, so we just generally hire DVDs.
    Also no internet connected box on the bedroom TV means DVDs as well.

  • Would’ve been around 2005 for me I reckon.
    Only started downloading 2 years ago though.. Prior to that I churned some of my way through my housemate’s DVD Library before we got kicked out and parted ways.

  • Every week or so, because once you’ve gone proper hi def, it’s tough to go back, even to DVDs let alone compressed downloads. How anyone can spend 2-3 grand on a monster flatscreen then watch legovision downloads to save a 5 minute drive and a couple of bucks is beyond me. And waiting a couple of hours or more to download a legit copy, chewing half your download limit for the near the same cost is daft. Even worse are the folk who spend $50 a month to up their quota to save $30 in movies they actually watch (in crap quality).

    Sure, when download speeds and quotas become good enough to get high quality movies over the wire, I’ll switch. But right now, even though I have access to it on my PS3, it’s no go for downloading movies.

    Channel BT is great for TV shows you miss or are delayed, but I’d never touch a movie.

    The power of the tight-ar$e never ceases to amaze me. What folks will spend to get something for “free” is incredible psychology.

  • Early 1990’s. Grotty VHS days when rental shop’s paid between $200 – $400, for a single movie tape to rent out; then unthoughtful turds, who wouldn’t clean the heads on their video players caused others to experience shit viewing, even if you forked out for a decent hifi video player.

    DVD’s came along but stampeding to rent a movie was too hard. I mean, the concept behind watching movie’s/TV all the time is a bit weird – ‘to be entertained’… but what makes it’s so important that you have to be entertained all the time, never figured that out.

  • I also run a DVD store, the same one since VHS. It’s a Video Ezy (used to be Movieland) and has been there for around 24 years. I can assure you, we aren’t going anywhere soon, we still increase in revenue year on year. It is true that there are definitely stores closing down all around us, but all that does is strengthen our position because as stores close down, the remaining members have to find a different store, mine. There are many reasons these stores are closing down, as stated by someone else, poor management and inability to effectively market is a prime factor in their demise. Plenty of other reasons for closures as well. Damaged discs is right up there on the list, Late Fee’s is another. The stores that close down are the ones that don’t do anything to compete with these other avenues. The Late Fees at my store are minimal, and scratched discs are almost non-existent due to the fact that our barcodes are on the underside of the disc, forcing the staff, and customer (you know, the ones that actually damage the discs) to be aware of the discs. The staff can buff the disc on it’s return if it needs it, and can also buff the disc when it’s rented out if needed (rare cause it gets done on the way in). Due to this we are also able to pinpoint exactly who has damaged a disc, and we charge them $15 ro replace it, not for the money, but as discipline lol. Torrent downloading has been around for years, fast internet for years and high volume bandwidth also, and yes, there is a marginal percentage of the populous that don’t come to video stores because of this, but if there was a poll done, you would find that most of the people are young adults, or males aged 18-30, there’s still a massive market out there for us and it won’t go away for a while. Foxtel has been around for how long? Itunes, not as long as Foxtel, but still been around for a while. Oovie? Scratched. Disc. MAYHEM; those units are maintained once a week. Pfft. The biggest threat to the B&M store in my opinion is a truckload of extra free to air channels. Cause they’re free. It will die eventually, but it will be a long time.

  • I rented a DVD once, when I went through a Miyosaki phase. Still got the card somewhere- wonder if the shop still exists?

    Seriously- we rented a couple of videos when they first came available, but never really took to it. We have a TV. Sometimes we go through phases of recording to watch later.

    We see TV as passive entertainment. The idea of driving to the shop to pay to watch a show we’ll see sooner or later just doesn’t gel.

  • We are on a BigPond Hire Plan. Chose the $12.95 per month plan which entitles us to 3 movies a month. You can select more movies etc there are various plans to pick from. There are no contracts & when you need to suspend (ie holiday times) you just do it through their website.
    Basically it works along the lines of going to the BigPond Movie site, log in & then select what movies are of interest add them to your Queue. You receive movie with a reply paid envelope and when finished you just post back. They then send the next in your queue. The site has thousands of movies/TV Series to choose from.

    Brilliant service as we hate thumbing through the movies in store and trying to make quick decisions..this way we can select a list in the comfort of our home. NO not on a commission, but it is a great system.

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