Video rental shop

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A video rental shop/store is a physical business that rents home videos. 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.

Internet era[edit]

With the advent of the World Wide Web, services such as video on demand and DVD-by-mail (such as Netflix) have become increasingly popular since the mid 2000s, in turn greatly reducing the demand for video rental shops.


Typically, a customer must sign up for an account with the shop and give billing information like a credit card number. If items are returned late, the shop usually charges late fees, which typically accumulate day by day. Some shops now have policies where instead of late fees, they will treat overdue items as a sale after a certain date, and charge a price equivalent to a standard sale of that object (with appropriate deductions for the rental fee already paid and for its pre-opened condition).

While video rental stores primarily offer movies, many also offer music or video games. Some video rental outlets use a kiosk or vending machine to dispense and collect rentals.

In 2010, a report indicated that in the United States and Canada, public libraries collectively loaned more videos than the online rental outlet Netflix.[1]


Independently owned video rental stores started opening in the late 1970s. The first of these was opened by George Atkinson in December 1977 at 12011 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, and could offer the first 50 titles from Magnetic Video for rent, which included 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.[2][3] Such stores led to the creation of video rental chains such as West Coast Video, Blockbuster Video and Rogers Video in the 1980s.

By mid-1985 the United States had 15,000 video rental stores, and many record, grocery, and drug stores also rented tapes.[4] By mid-1986 the press discussed the VCR "and the viewing habits it has engendered — the Saturday night trip down to the tape rental store to pick out for a couple of bucks the movie you want to see when you want to see it".[5] By 1987, for example, Pennsylvania had 537 stores that primarily dealt in renting videotapes, with annual spending per resident of $10.50.[6]

To cope with the videotape format war of the 1970s and 1980s, some stores initially stocked both VHS and Betamax cassettes, while others specialized in one format or the other. During the 1980s most stores eventually became all-VHS, contributing to the eventual demise of Beta. 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 stores now rent Blu-ray Disc movies after the high definition optical disc format war was finished. All stores continued to carry VHS, Blu-ray and DVD.

Rental and copyright[edit]

The rental of books, CDs, tapes, and movies is covered by copyright law[citation needed]. Copyright owners sometimes put warning notices on the packaging of products such as VHS, Blu-ray Discs or DVDs to deter copyright infringement. In some cases, the rights of consumers in Europe and the US are in fact significantly broader than described in such warnings.

VHS Blu-ray Disc and DVD renting and buying vending machine inases: theater, rental, retail.


There would typically be a two- to three-month delay between the time a movie was available for rental, and when the movie could be purchased by the consumer. In reality, the video was available, but priced for rental shops and film enthusiasts who wanted to own a copy of the film at the earliest opportunity. The pricing was between $70 and $130. This started changing with the advent of movie releases on DVD. Blockbuster refused to use the VHS strategy for DVD, so the studios began releasing DVDs at an initially lower price. During 1998, retailers would have the DVD version of a film available for sale the same day the VHS version was available for rent. This later changed, with release dates for VHS and DVD coinciding. In 2008, this also occurred when the Blu-ray Disc format was introduced as the successor to VHS and DVD. A movie will be available on VHS, Blu-ray and DVD on the same day.

Security measures[edit]

In some rentals the boxes are on the shelves, but the actual media (VHS, Blu-ray Disc, DVD, or video game disc) is kept behind the desk, therefore reducing any risks of theft (since the most someone can steal from the shelves is the box). The media is put into the box at the same time that the rent is signed. Or the case may be locked and can only be unlocked with a special instrument kept behind the video shop counter.

In some countries, a vending machine and a credit card are employed by the user to rent the VHS, Blu-ray Disc or DVD. In such cases, the card would be charged a refundable fee to cover the physical media cost.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morning Edition (2010-07-30). "Libraries Top Netflix In DVD Rentals". NPR. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  2. ^ A Look Back At How The Content Industry Almost Killed Blockbuster And Netflix (And The VCR)
  3. ^ A History of Home Video and Video Game Retailing
  4. ^ De Atley, Richard (1985-09-07). "VCRs put entertainment industry into fast-forward frenzy". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. pp. 12–TV. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Sonasky, Steven (1986-06-10). "VCRs give cable TV firms a common enemy". Boca Raton News. Knight-Ridder Newspapers. pp. 4D. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Hussie, Andrew; Kenna, Eileen (1989-12-14). "Saturday Night Movies At Home". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Daniel Herbert, Videoland: Movie Culture at the American Video Store. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2014.

External links[edit]