Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's curtains for more movie-rental stores

The depressing plot twists just keep getting worse for bricks-and-mortar video rental shops: Movie Gallery, which operates stores under its own name and the Hollywood Video banner, this week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be closing 760 stores nationwide, more than a quarter of its total. The company also warns that more locations could close as the bankruptcy process unfolds. Movie Gallery is aiming to reorganize and move ahead with its most profitable stores, but this is its second trip into bankruptcy in less than three years, and it also closed several hundred stores during its initial stint there.

There are 22 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores in the Charlotte region. Of those, half are set to close, according to the company's Web site. Affected locations include the Movie Gallery stores in Belmont, Cherryville, Chester, Gastonia, Lake Wylie, Lincolnton, Rock Hill and Waxhaw, and the Hollywood Video stores in Matthews, Harrisburg and on Johnston Road in Charlotte.

Beset by competition from Netflix, Redbox, and other downloadable and on-demand streaming services, traditional video rental stores are vanishing from the landscape at a precipitous rate. Blockbuster Video, the nation's largest video rental chain, has also been closing hundreds of stores, including but not limited to locations on Montford Drive and at Quail Corners on Park Road in Charlotte. The Montford Drive location was where I went to rent movies when I first moved to Charlotte. But that was years ago, before I had a Netflix subscription - which kind of sums up the dilemma such stores face these days.

According to a news release, Movie Gallery's goal is to emerge from bankruptcy with a "new and sustainable business model centered on a smaller base of profitable stores." But with the tides shifting as they are, I'm wondering how long even those will remain profitable enough to remain afloat. Though there are still people who like to pick out movies in person - and impulsive times when that's the only option - that pool of customers seems to be draining quickly.
It'll be interesting to see where it ends.


BadGenius said...

Unless their model revolves around streaming, they're done. Of course they can try to sell overpriced candy at checkout.

Anonymous said...

I've started going back to the Blockbuster on Pineville-Matthews Rd.....I kind of like walking around and browsing the aisles for something that looks good. Netflix kind of takes the fun out of it.

Mama Glenda said...

Netflix is wonderful! There are some things for which I enjoy shopping, namely groceries -- I get a high from double (and sometimes triple) coupons. However, I find no thrill in shopping for videos.

Bill Teal said...

This business is following the standard curve of maturing businesses that when young, were innovative, risk-taking, and open to change quickly, reacting to the marketplace. Then as they grew the curve changed from a growing line to a flat line as they worked to keep what they had attained, reducing risk, protective, self-involved. Then futher the curve turned downward as further withdrawal from competition, risk, attentive to customers, the market, and refusing to react to the marketplace, in denial of the obvious need to change, and subsequently will be eliminated. It happens more quickly as technology evolves more rapidly today than it has in the recent past. It wil be the fate of any company who refuses to keep an ear to the trends, ins and outs of their customers' desires,and tastes. Look at the demise of the companies around Charlotte. Same tune, same beat. Same result each time. They are no longer around.

Anonymous said...

Forget the chain stores...check out Visart Video on 7th St... a paradise for any movie buff not necessarily interested in the mainstream. And for those looking for mainstream, they've got that too. Best video store around by far, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Thank god for Visart on 7th Street.

VisArt has every movie you can think of. Great staff; deal with human beings!

Anonymous said...

I say good riddance to these companies business models of making money from late fees. I had a run in with Blockbuster a couple of years ago over late fees I shouldn't have been charged and I cut up all my video cards then and started using Redbox. I haven't tried Netflix because I don't really watch that many videos.

Anonymous said... is the best! Much easier to browse 1,00000000s of movies vs walking through every aisle in a store.

Only 8.99 monthly for my movies! comes to me, and returns for free.

Welcome to the new age!

Anonymous said...

Netflix won't work for me since I only rent/watch a few movies a year. You have to watch a couple movies a month to make it worthwhile. I have no way to stream movies. Redbox might work but from what I've heard they only have the latest movies. Even though I only rent a couple times a year I'll miss the brick and mortar video stores. I guess they can't survive if everyone was like me and only rented a couple times a year. For one I just don't have the time to watch movies and two movies coming out today just aren't that good.