Blockbuster’s rental days hit a dead end

By: Kristin Bingham

SALT LAKE CITY-The well known video rental store Blockbuster, is losing its popularity. Established in 1985 in Dallas, it has grown and become known throughout the U.S. taking out competitors like Hollywood Video. Blockbuster is now facing a new competitor that could cause video rental stores to become extinct: advanced technology.

Company’s like Netflix, Comcast and Redbox have given video rental stores like Blockbuster a run for their money. The idea of a video rental store is to allow consumers to watch a movie in the comfort of their home. Netflix makes that idea even more realistic, since you don’t even have to leave your home anymore, you can instantly stream movies or have movies delivered to you. It’s a scary thought, since a lot of the 90’s babies have grown up with renting videos. The trip to the video store was an adventure for some and to think they might all become extinct is a bit overwhelming but it is happening. As hard as it might be for consumers to get a hold of, it is also difficult for the employees.

One employee, Refija Kavazovic has this to say about her store closing in West Valley:

“It is really tough because I have been working there for almost a year and have got used to the job and employees. Most of us at my store only have that as a part time job or just some extra money, but there is one person that it is his main income and uses it to support his family. They say they will try to transfer most of us, but with a Blockbuster closing every month it seems you can only place so many employees.”

A store manager at the Sandy store, who wants to remain anonymous, says she has seen a majority of the Blockbusters in Utah close and thinks that they will indeed keep on closing as they don’t have a chance.

University of Utah student, Breanne Thorup has this to say about the Blockbuster store closing by her apartment in Taylorsviille

“I am pretty bummed since it was so close to my house, now if I ever want to rent a movie from there I will have to drive further.”

With stores closing, Blockbuster still tries to stay in the game by following in the footsteps of Netflix. They offer video rentals on line which are delivered to your home. They also offer game rentals and guarantee that they have many new releases almost a month before Netflix and Redbox get them. The one thing they are missing is the capability to stream video like Netflix via computer or game console.

Assistant lab tech in the Telecom department of the University of Utah, Michael Hansen thinks Netflix will continue to stay strong.

“Right now the majority of feature film distribution is facilitated via FTP. It’s quickly becoming more rare now for a theatre let alone the studio, to deal with actual celluloid film. So Netflix is definitely a proof of concept and will last as they continue to innovate,” said Hansen.

Blockbuster hasn’t vanished off the earth yet and could possibly make a comeback if they convert over to the online watch immediately side. Until then, Netflilx remains the top dog in video “renting.”