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Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant? 547

smi.james.th writes "Here on Slashdot, the concept that older models of business need to be updated to keep with the times is often mentioned. A friend of mine owns a DVD rental store, and he often listens to potential customers walk out, saying that they'd rather download the movie, and not because his prices are unreasonable. With the local telco on a project to boost internet speeds, my friend feels as though the end is near for his livelihood. So, Slashdotters, I put it to you: What can a DVD store owner do to make his store more relevant? What services would you pay for at a DVD store?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant?

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  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by fiziko ( 97143 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:39PM (#42019593) Homepage

    Mod parent up.

    This is exactly what I was going to say. Provide movies that can't be downloaded. One point I'd add though: get to know your catalog and know how to help customers choose movies they'd enjoy. Some online recommendation programs work well, but others don't. If you know a lot about film, you can help people find movies they love that they'd never heard of, which will help promote repeat business.

    The difficult part is starting now. Odds are, your friend has already seen a dropoff. (Though, frankly, your friend must run a good store if he's still in business at all.) It may be difficult to buy enough titles to diversify the catalog enough to keep things going. I'd suggest starting with Criterion Collection and Kino-Lorber titles. Criterion are more expensive but have strong brand recognition. Kino Video has weaker brand recognition but lower prices, and often do great work restoring copyright expired titles. (Just check out their silent library, such as the Art of Buster Keaton box set.)

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dubbreak ( 623656 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @01:03PM (#42019819)
    Ding ding ding ding ding. We have a winner.


    The ONLY video store I know that is still successful specializes in difficult to find material. The kicker is all their staff are avid film and movie fans and can recommend films you haven't seen, "Oh you like that director? Have you seen his little known release X? What about this director from a decade prior that was his main influence?"

    Personally I think it would be cool if rental places could do a beer growler style service. You bring a flash drive in, they drop a 1080P film on it of your choice. I like my movies in HD, but I'm no fan of BR. Of course DRM and the MPAA stands between that ever realistically happening. Why would I want such a service rather than online or a kiosk? Aside from online DL speed being slow on low compression HD videos (especially less popular ones), the same reason the as above. So I can have a human help me select something. That's where the value is added.
  • by urbanriot ( 924981 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @01:07PM (#42019851)
    We've had a rental outlet in my city for the past 20 years or so and they've survived by giving people what they want and people drive 30 minutes out of town to rent videos from this place. What sets them apart is the following:

    - wide selection of movies and TV shows, stuff you won't find elsewhere or downloadable via torrents, like lesser known foreign and independent movies, the place is huge.

    - enough copies of popular movies so you can almost always get what you went there for

    - blu-ray, DVD, VHS (!), Xbox 360, Wii, etc., whatever you and your family needs, it's there

    - two for one days on slower nights of the week and other coupons for the past decade brings plenty of people into the outlet

    - extras are sold off at a good price when they're no longer rented

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @01:58PM (#42020303)

    So I guess the work rules that said that you had to have one guy on the truck to drive it, and another one on the truck to actually unload the truck and stock the shelves had nothing to do with it? Guess stocking the shelves requires such specialized training we can't expect drivers to figure it out. Or how about the rules that said that if you had cakes and breads going to the same location, you had to send two trucks, one for the cakes and one for the breads? Can't see how that would be an issue, either. How about the Forbes article from February which noted that Hostess had 372 separate collective bargaining agreements and 80 separate health and pension plans. Workers compensation costs for last year averaged out to $2700 for each of its 18K+ employees.
    Yes- management getting bonuses while the workers take it on the chin is scummy. Working for a struggling company when it is bought by a private-equity firm is almost always bad news.
    But why don't you look past your knee-jerk "it's the far right" response- there's plenty of blame to go around in this instance, and the unions are one of the prime reasons the Hostess workers no longer have jobs.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples.gmail@com> on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:02PM (#42020335) Homepage Journal

    As bandwidth improves

    It's not just burst bandwidth that has to improve but also sustained bandwidth. Several types of home Internet access, such as satellite and cellular, have acceptable burst bandwidth (in the high hundreds of Kbps to low Mbps) but unacceptable sustained bandwidth (typically less than 10 GB per month). That's not going to change until A. it becomes drastically cheaper to get rural areas wired for fiber, or B. the state subsidizes getting rural areas wired for fiber.

  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:10PM (#42020399) Homepage
    So the salary of the senior execs salary went from $1 to $3?
    O wait you get your news from various kook sites, such as huffington post, who are deliberately mixing up a previous CEO with the current CEO.
  • by Dragon Bait ( 997809 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:43PM (#42020709)
    I would add "reasonable subscription." Our local DVD rental store had a reasonable rate and we were allowed three DVDs out at one time. The movies of course were "two tier" -- older movies and new releases. Our subscription didn't include new releases. When they tripled the cost of the subscription, we cancelled it (and within two months the store was closed).
  • by atriusofbricia ( 686672 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:50PM (#42020773) Journal

    Judging by what happened to Hostess, anyone who actually wants to keep that job.

    You mean how Hostess tripled their CEO's pay and raised other exec's salaries, while cutting worker's pay and benefits?

    Stop drinking the far right's Kool Aid. It's not unions that are killing companies like Hostess, it's vulture capitalists.

    Perhaps you should stop drinking your own Kool Aid. The Baker's Union was told that if they continued to strike the company would fail. Not "we don't want to pay you more" but "the company will close and everyone will be out of work". Their response, even after the Teamsters agreed, was "up yours". Shockingly, the company closed. The Baker's Union was greedy and assumed the owners were lying to them. They weren't. End of Story.

    The CEO's pay had exactly nothing to do with the demise of the company and is nothing but a red herring.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @11:11PM (#42023785) Homepage

    > DVD Rental is dependant on the Movie Publishing houses wanting to rent DVD's and so allowing them to be licensed for rental.

    That is pure nonsense and the sort that should not be repeated on Slashdot.

    You have the right to dispose of your property as you please. You have first sale rights. These include DVDs. There is no "mythical implied license".

    That's why physical media distributors are still in a better position relative to big content. Warner Brothers can't tell you that you're not allowed to rent their movie. They can tell you that you aren't allowed to stream their movies anymore.

    If you can buy it, then you can rent it.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982