Waning Movie Rentals Could Signal Beginning Of The End For Flicks In Physical Form

I used to love driving to Blockbuster Video to pick out a horror film for scary movie nights in high school with my pals, perusing the aisles and deciding whether or not we really needed a bajillion-pound box of Raisinets. But although physical movies are still more popular than digital, Blockbuster is a ghost of its former self and rentals are on the wane in general, which could mean the beginning of the end for all kinds of disc rentals.

A new consumer survey by the NPD group says the total number of movies rented by Americans in the first six months of 2012 declined 10% from just a year ago. Physical rentals of DVDs and Blu-ray discs took a 17% dive, but they still make up the bulk of rentals overall at 62%, with kiosks like Redbox as the most popular option for movie night.

But as physical rentals are declining, video-on-demand online rentals are slowly growing, at a 5% increase.  Netflix is going gangbusters in the digital arena with 66% of all the total rentals there, followed by video-on-demand from pay TV services.

Physical rentals should be safe, for now, buffeted by the popularity of easy-to-use kiosks. However the lure of not having to get in your car and drive anywhere to get a movie is well, an alluring one. And that way no one is tempted to get that bajillion-pound box of Raisinets that don’t all get eaten and end up smushed into the carpet by your annoying little brother.

Movie rentals down 10% in first half of year [Chicago Tribune]