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

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the information-kiosks-and-great-snacks dept.

Businesses 547 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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blowjobs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019421)

I would pay for blowjobs.

Re: blowjobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019439)

Probably because of the fact no one is willing to fellate you of their own accord...

Re:blowjobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019469)

How old a guy do you want?

Hey Guys (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019429)

My friend manufacturers and sells horse whips. With this trend towards horseless carriages he doesn't seem to sell as many as he used to. Does anybody have any ideas on how he can increase his business?

Re:Hey Guys (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019495)


Re:Hey Guys (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019563)

That is easy, BDSM accessories.

Keeping a DVD Store relevant? Thats a tricky one...

Re:Hey Guys (5, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#42019641)

Yeah, unless you have access to a time machine, I think DVD stores (of any kind) are not great ideas anymore.

On the plus side, after reading all these comments, you'll probably have enough observations about horses and automobiles to open a stale metaphor store. It's been only a few minutes and I've already spotted five.

Re:Hey Guys (3, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42019705)

Does he still do VHS tapes too...?

sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019437)

If he is lucky enough to find someone to buy his business he should, otherwise, he may start transitioning his business to something else, like becoming the hometown Ebay storefront, or a shipping center.

Re:sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019605)

An ebay storefront would be good, he could even use it to sell off his existing stock while drawing in new customers.

Stop renting DVD's (3, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 2 years ago | (#42019443)

Time to find a new business. He's a buggy whip salesman in the era of automobiles.

Re:Stop renting DVD's (3, Insightful)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#42019503)

Additionally, the business owner probably has a particular set of skills which could be applied to a business with a tailwind, rather than one with a headwind. They should spend their energy figuring out what that next business or project is.

Re:Stop renting DVD's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019723)

It may even be a *very* particular set of skills. Skills he might have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like...wait, what were we talking about?

Re:Stop renting DVD's (4, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42019515)

Shutting down a business may be a violation of the rules. What collective bargaining agreements do his employees operate under? And if not, what the fuck? What kind of nutbags start a job without the protection of a collective bargaining agreement?

Re:Stop renting DVD's (2)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 2 years ago | (#42019553)

What kind of nutbags start a job without the protection of a collective bargaining agreement?

+1 funny

Re:Stop renting DVD's (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019589)

Most Americans and Canadians. Are you being disingenuous?

Re:Stop renting DVD's (4, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 2 years ago | (#42019745)

What kind of nutbags start a job without the protection of a collective bargaining agreement?

How about that, there is such a thing as a stupid question.

Answer #1: Any professional with any ambition at all. Collective bargaining agreements are a noose around the neck of anybody with the ambition to better themselves.

Answer #2: Any unskilled employee who'd like to have a paycheck if they live in a right to work state where "at will" employment predominates. Which unsurprisingly happens to be the states with the lowest unemployment rates right now.

Re:Stop renting DVD's (2)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about 2 years ago | (#42019539)

Perhaps he could open a waterbed business.

Or buy shares in Facebook.


Re:Stop renting DVD's (2)

Beamboom (2692671) | about 2 years ago | (#42019549)

As unfortunate as it is for your friend there Timothy, Hawks is right. I seriously do not see one single thing a DVD store owner can do to make his store more relevant for me. Here in Norway DVD stores along with record stores have practically vanished completely. Those who are still in business has turned more into regular candy stores than DVD stores.

Re:Stop renting DVD's (1)

markus_baertschi (259069) | about 2 years ago | (#42019551)

I agree, DVD renting as business is on the way out. in the not-too-far future there will be too few customers to keep him in business.

If he wants to stay in retail he has to start selling/renting things customer want to buy/rent in a brick and mortar store.

Re:Stop renting DVD's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019597)

Thanks for stealing my joke, AC don't need karma anyway.
Fittingly my captcha is Parasite.

Start selling Re:Stop renting DVD's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019633)

Transfer the business over to $1.00 sales for most and go up to new releases. I prefer having the harddisk and will rip and stick it on a media center.

My price point is a dollar for movies. I'll either pay your friend, the studios or I'll pay for the internet connection, bittorrent proxy and Ill pay the bittorrent website that runs 10,000 servers.

The least likely to meet my price point is the studios, the next is your friend/dollar store/sales bucket at walmart/etc The bittorrent one is fair though I should pay for three accounts which would up my price to somewhat painful level. My best effort so far has been to crack 30 local wifi routers and use those but bittorrent, even with a hacked hydra client is not very good and gluing them together only works with one proxy service who are a tad excessively priced.

Re:Stop renting DVD's (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#42019675)

I have to agree with this. The simple fact is that DVDs are on their way out and you just can't hang on to them forever. The few people I know who still use DVDs like to collect them, not rent them, and the rest do not care at all. This sucks for OP's friend, but well, the same thing happened with VHS as well.

Obl. Southpark link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019717)

We've all just been trolled it seems []

Re:Stop renting DVD's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019789)

South Park did an episode on this not more than a couple of weeks ago.

Turn it into a Bed Bath & Beyond and sell Coas (1)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 2 years ago | (#42019447)

Nice, shiny coasters.

Re:Turn it into a Bed Bath & Beyond and sell C (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019519)

...with hookers and blackjack....

Suicide (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019455)

It's really the only option.

Re:Suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019533)

Retrain as a cobbler or lift-boy.

value of time? (1, Troll)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 years ago | (#42019461)

Only a fool would spend 3 hours downloading a crappy copy of a movie that is 50/50 likely CP and viruses, instead of spending $2 to go home and watch it with his family. - if your friend is losing customers because they would rather steal than pay for something, he's not losing much.

On a broader note, there is much a movie store can give a customer that he wont find online. perhaps the greatest is a curated selection and expert advice, like a good independent book store.

Re:value of time? (2)

davmoo (63521) | about 2 years ago | (#42019513)

Obviously you are totally unaware that there are legal and reliable sites that make movies available online. Let's start with Netflix and Amazon, two services you apparently don't know about.

Re:value of time? (0)

noh8rz9 (2716595) | about 2 years ago | (#42019631)


he often listens to potential customers walk out, saying that they'd rather download the movie, and not because his prices are unreasonable

reading comprehension: the quote is saying that people will go download a movie for cheap/free, even though the store's prices are already pretty cheap. netflix and amazon are subscription services, not individual movie downloads. itunes is an awesome service, but it's expensive - $5 per movie. So the only conclusion is freetards.

Re:value of time? (1)

davmoo (63521) | about 2 years ago | (#42019783)

Take off your MPAA controlled glasses. Nothing in that quote says they are going to necessarily download it illegally. And Amazon does do individual downloads, sometimes for free, and many movies for just a couple dollars.

Re:value of time? (1)

fiziko (97143) | about 2 years ago | (#42019527)

You do realize that legally downloading movies is an option, right? iTunes, Amazon Prime, Netflix...

Re:value of time? (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#42019661)

Plus most countries except the US have legalized downloading media for personal use - they pay extra taxes on certain products to fund the equivalents of the *AA in their countries to offset the economic cost of downloading thus making it legal to copy media for home use.

Honestly none (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019471)

I don't see any relevance, sorry. I agree the end is near for your friend. I have many digital services or dvd by mail services and do not need the hassle of a brick & mortar.

Unless you had a bar, I dont understand what value could be added to renting films on any medium.

He should shut it down. (0)

StormyWeather (543593) | about 2 years ago | (#42019479)

He's making wagon wheels in the age of the automobile. He is going to either have to shut it down or become a retailer in a successful retail market (difficult). I just laid off two employees and let go of half my customers because it just wasn't the success I tried a year and a half to achieve. I'm not stopping my entrepreneurial drive I'm just going to do something different.

I really hate yo say that because there are great entrepreneurs in that industry, but reality is reality. Maybe your friend could do a hobby/games shop? He could transition his current store to that gradually perhaps as DVDs become obsolete.

Start offering video download ... (1)

fasuin (532942) | about 2 years ago | (#42019485)

or sell the shop :)

Re:Start offering video download ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019699)

or sell the shop :)

No one would buy it.

Access to rental history (1)

EriDay (679359) | about 2 years ago | (#42019487)

I don't remember titles that well. One of the things I like about Netflix is to know if I have viewed a title previously and if I liked it. See [] for an idea of what your friend should be doing.

Well... (5, Insightful)

caution live frogs (1196367) | about 2 years ago | (#42019497)

The only possible way to survive is to develop a niche. Streaming services are usually pretty good for recent movies, but a lot of back catalogue stuff is hard to find. Specialize in the stuff that's out of print, rare, etc. But really, I'm hard-pressed to see how that business model would be sustainable as a primary income source in most communities. There simply isn't enough demand for the content, especially given the huge amount of material available through Netflix's mail catalogue.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

fiziko (97143) | about 2 years ago | (#42019593)

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... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#42019719)

This seems awfully risky, since there is nothing stopping netflix or amazon from licensing any particular catalogue of movies at any time. Will there still be movies available on DVD but unavailable via streaming even five years from now?


Moreover the business strategy of serving the long tails [] as you suggested requires a vast catalog, which places the fixed expense of physical media at a big immediate disadvantage.

Re:Well... (2)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#42019731)

Foreign films - incensing for streaming in different countries is often complicated, but as long as the DVD is available for your region then you can always rent it out.

Re:Well... (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#42019735)

Also, incredibly bad movies always have a certain public. Reserve a section for classics like Plan 9 and forgotten gems like Starcrash. A DVD store will never be the most pratical place to get movies, so make it the best place for people to know new movies they might enjoy.

Know that anything you do is only a stopgap, though. The above idea might work for a while, while everyone still has DVD players, but that'll change soon enough.

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

dubbreak (623656) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019821)

Or provide movies that can be downloaded but partner with the local pizza place. Suddenly you can order pizza and a movie and get it delivered to your door in a shorter or equivalent time that the download takes.
Now the customer only have to visit one page to save the evening instead of two.
Add an option to buy the movie instead of renting it and the customer won't have to make the trip to return it.

Providing better service than the competition is another way to stay relevant, you don't really have to niche yourself.

Re:Well... (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about 2 years ago | (#42019609)


Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019671)

I'll second this. While all the Blockbuster Video rental shops and like have have closed around here, the little unique DVD rental shop down the shop has thrived. You won't find the latest big-budget movies there to rent but only weird and niche-y type DVDs. They also seem big on foreign and anime DVDs.

Re:Well... (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42019713)

Streaming services are usually pretty good for recent movies,

What streaming services, exactly, and "pretty good for recent movies"? I've tried Netflix, and their service is abysmal. I'm serious, because I still rent a lot of DVD's from Netflix, because I can't find a decent streaming service.

Location, location location (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#42019785)

You can do that in a University town where you've got lots and lots of new faces every year. Tucson, Az has several independent video rent places near their U of A.

Volume and newest titles vs boutique (1)

spineboy (22918) | about 2 years ago | (#42019501)

People often change their minds, and are inspired to see other films when browsing. Having said that, The biggest advantage the online destinations have vs a brick and motar physical store is volume, and you can't compete with that.

The latest movies - sure you can get that. I think the real question for financial success is to offer a "flavor" or style, that isn't generated by an endless catalog, because you just have to get the people who are there, rent what you have, and be happy about it. They have to see what you have, and think "Hey that looks cool/good! I want to watch that." Even if it's an older movie.

I think people who are leaving a store don't know what they want, and can't make up their minds, or aren't inspired by anything they've seen. I think what you're aiming for is a niche destination. It can never compete on a sheer volume of scale with Netflix, or other services, but it will need to offer something that captures, and rewards a certain group of people. Somewhat like Starbucks vs the local coffee shop.

Re:Volume and newest titles vs boutique (1)

middlemen (765373) | about 2 years ago | (#42019649)

Actually, depending on how much floor space your friend has he can open a coffee shop first. Then add a Red Box or similar DVD rental kiosks. Maybe add other types of kiosks too thus forcing people to come in. With the volume of folks coming in your coffee shop can make some good money Another thing that can be added is kids stuff like book reading, movie watching sessions and the likes. Reinvention is necessary to keep up with the times.

DVD re-winding service (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019509)

Offer free DVD re-winding for the returned movies.

Not much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019523)

Don't be a DVD rental store.

This is like asking what buggywhip manufacturers can do to stay relevant. Not much other than get in a different business.

Best of luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019529)

I think your friend needs to target movie audiences that like movies. Don't confuse those customers with customers who are just using movies to pass the time. Also, try and cater to an older crowd.

Some movies are harder than others to find a good torrent for. A lot of this stuff is indy. Rent things that are harder to download.

Blurays take way longer to download. Those who rent blurays are likely not to mouth off to your friend about downloading, which is a pretty rude thing to do.

Rent games and consoles, especially retro stuff that isn't commonly available.

These guys are my favorite movie rental place.

Click on the video link on the left to see what they carry. They show no signs of slowing down business.

Game Sales/Rentals? (5, Interesting)

p0p0 (1841106) | about 2 years ago | (#42019543)

All the video rental shops are closed, taking the video game rentals with them. I miss being able to rent a game instead of outright buying it. May not be a big enough market though.

Buying and reselling used games that don't cost as much as their brand new counterparts is something that people are sorely in need of. Maybe credits for game rentals with a trade-in instead of cash?
Even if you don't charge much less, charging $20-25 for a used game opposed to the $40-50 EB and Gamestop charge might drive some business away from them and towards your friend.

Re:Game Sales/Rentals? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42019685)

Gamefly is to game rental stores what netflix is to video rentals.

Re:Game Sales/Rentals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019749)

Perhaps renting the hardware. People always need extra controllers, or maybe to rent a system for a lan party. Here at my university there is always a waiting list to borrow the consoles.

Rentable custom DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019555)

I just watched all the Warehouse 13 I could on Netflix. I want to watch more, and I'm willing to pay to do it. What I'm not willing to do is watch a single commercial. Hulu-- even their paid version-- is thus out. I'd like to call up a local video store and order up a custom disc for pickup like I'm ordering a pizza. "Hey, yeah... I'd like the current episodes of Warehouse 13 season 4, starting at episode 1. Oh, and the same with Castle, season... uh, which season is Castle on now? 5? Yeah, thanks. All of those. An hour? I'll see you then. Thanks."

I'm sure there are a thousand reasons why this would be difficult or impossible, but that's what I'd pay a DVD store for. Somebody make it happen!

Send them a bill (5, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#42019559)

Compute how much these new internet business models actually cost you in the long term. Send them a bill for potential losses.

MPAA and RIAA do it all the time!

Re:Send them a bill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019823)

Actually that's not a bad idea... But send the bill to the MPAA.
Unskippable ads on dvds? Previews for shit i dont want to see you cant skip? Previews for the movie you are about to watch?!?!?! Oh no the dvd you bought is just the regular dvd... You want the directors cut. No wait the unrated version. No wait the directors cut unrated version. No wait the movie of the year unrated directors cut with 8 seconds of extra footage! Yeah thats the one you want! Oh crap. now the movie is on tv. for the next year. every. single. week.

All their bs is a large chunk of the reason dvd sales/rentals are dying. Bill them for it.

It's no more bizarre then trying to sue dead or blind people for piracy...

I'm sure you could find thousands of expert witnesses who despise unskippable shit on their dvd and THATS the reason they dont buy/rent anymore.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019561)

Use it as a front for selling illicit substances?

Nothing but radical change (2)

tmosley (996283) | about 2 years ago | (#42019569)

There is pretty well nothing you can do save radically change your business model. Get some rooms set up with very nice projectors, seating, sound systems, etc and let people rent them to have a private screening of some movie, for example (remember to have concessions). That, or find some other way to capitalize on your library of DVDs to make money. Make copies of DVDs for people who can show that they owned said DVD, maybe.

DVD rental, coffee shop and hardware sales? (3, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 2 years ago | (#42019573)

Well, people who come to a DVD shop presumably want to rent DVDs...which means that perhaps they're not comfortable with the latest tech, even if - as you quote - many say they would rather download the film. My experience with DVD shops has been that they are pretty miserable places, which make most of their profit from overdue fees.

Make a comfy place with 'cult' DVDs to hire, plus give advice on ways to upgrade your home cinema. Sell overpriced coffee.

Not much he can do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019577)

Unless he has a wide selection of movies unavailable on streaming services he's out of luck and even then he'll only ever have a niche market of people who want old obscure movies. How can he possibly compete with the internet and things like Redbox? He should get out now while he still can.

Relocate.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019583)

Relocate to the country where the local rubes ahve just discovered DVD players.

Tough one..getting traction (4, Interesting)

antiapathy (2516456) | about 2 years ago | (#42019591)

Come up with creative-funny gift ideas (Christopher Walkin Box set, Chuck Norris Box set),Sell retro computer games(similar shelving), Lend the book that goes with the movie, gather other good info with the movie, Have amazing memorabilia that will attract people into the store (celebrity death masks aren't always expensive), Like an art space, do other things to attract people there: small indie-video screenings, movie discussions, director talks. Put on a local TV show discussing movies coming out on DVD.

Re:Tough one..getting traction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019747)

Gen-X video in Waterloo Ontario had a similar business model going for 10+ years, they had a ton of extra content and memorabilia, and rare and hard to find, and genre organizations, and staff picks, and reviews, and games, and samurai movies, etc etc.

Guess what, it's gone out of business and replaced by an overpriced shitty organic coffee place now.

I think a large part of the problem is that physical space in downtown type areas is too expensive now, compared to the value people get out of it. The businesses that might be able to operate in more niche brick and mortar markets cannot afford the lease payments demanded by landlords used to huge cashflows from their "downtown" realty.

Once the downtown retail realty market crashes hard, room will open up for these sort of innovative spaces.

USB stick rentals? (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | about 2 years ago | (#42019595)

Personally, I find renting a DVD a pain in the ass. If I have a movie in mind that I want to watch, it's not there, or already rented out. Then I have to go search for another movie to watch. When I find a movie to rent, I either watch it right away, or decide to watch it later and "buffer" it on my PC. Now I have to go back to the movie store to return it, another hassle. To be honest, it's so much easier to go watch a movie on iTunes or other online services.

What would be awesome is USB stick rentals. I bring a my own USB stick, and get a copy of the DVD on my USB stick for a rental fee. I wouldn't mind if there was some time limited DRM on it because it would be like a rental. This eliminates the supply problem and the return problem. But this is essentially what a streaming service provides, so it would really only be popular with people with bad Internet connections. Also, I doubt the MPAA would be happy with this.

If your friend lives in Colorado or Washington.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019607)

.. I have an idea or two.

Sell used DVDs alongside the rentals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019615)

Buying people's old stuff is a tricky business, though.

XOR the online movie list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019627)

Move to 4K and HighDef movies only along with Games. You can put this into a membership plan with flat revenue. Make sure you also provide these movies through mail and vending machines at the store during closed hours.

I would go to a store that has 1080p and 4k movies that are not online and/or I don't want a record of them in some corporate DB that I rented it. Some folks don't like to be profiled =)

What do they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019635)

If the owner of the store is listening to people say they don't want to rent and it isn't due to the prices, then why isn't your friend asking them what they do want? Find out what it would take to get them renting. Or look into changing the business so it is less about rentals and offers something else. Don't ask Slashdot what to do, ask the customers what they want and try to give it to them.

Quality (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#42019637)

What is annoying is to rent a turkey movie DVD. So, open [] and get only movies with a rating of 7+.

The one and only real answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019643)

This is what will happen to you: [] [] []

Please end it now. There's no need for horse carriages, oil lamps or business models based on imaginary property anymore.
Your equivalent in the new world is iTunes (well, not really, since they still cling to a impossible business model), (a more sane path) and The Pirate Bay. So if you want to live on, you have to re-invent yourself from the deepest depths of your philosophy.
You certainly have my support.

Expand and make it up on volume (1)

Chang (2714) | about 2 years ago | (#42019645)

He should expand into seedboxes

Emulate a woodstove... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019653)

Burn it down for the insurance... Altho that would be illegal.

A dvd rental store... It's been a long time since i BOUGHT a dvd. And i don't think i've ever rented one. I quit renting back when it was tapes.

Dvds are too customer unfriendly and i want no part of them anymore. Everything about them was mostly a lie too. My favorite one (oh they'll get cheaper!) yeah, they did.. for blank ones. ones with movies are still insanely expensive for what it is.... a bunch of 1's and 0's that can be replicated forever. for near free.

Maybe the best idea... Turn it into a 100% porn store. For some bizarre reason the pervs still do the rental and buying thing. Someone should tell them the internet is chock full of porn... Altho your friend might blow all their profit margin on hand sanitizer then...

Like everyone else is saying... (1) (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#42019657)

...your buddy needs to get out of the buggy whip business. 5 years ago. He might have been able to sell to some sucker named Randy back then.

Music stores, book stores, and movie rental stores: No longer viable businesses.

Anything that can be transmitted electronically has no place in a physical storefront. The sooner your friend accepts reality, the sooner he can transition to services or physical goods.

adapting (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#42019659)

DVDs' primary advantages are from how obnoxious advertising becomes online for online movies and how content control interferes with maintaining and replaying copies around a house. DVD prices need to be lower to move faster in volume, closer to current rental prices where people buy armloads at a time. Home archives without DVD may become a problem because of "IP" controls.

Obligatory South Park Reference. (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | about 2 years ago | (#42019669)

A Nightmare on Facetime []
Unfortunately, you can't (legally) watch it yet.

Unfortunately, unless he's in a rural area, he's pretty much screwed. He can try to follow the model Family Video [] uses, since they all seem to be successful around here for some reason, but other than that either get out or get screwed.

DVD rental always sucked - long live the VCR (1)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | about 2 years ago | (#42019683)

I remember trying DVD rentals when these shiny new DVD thingies came out.
Trouble was, 1/3 of the movies I rented were ruined due to the discs being scratched to death.
In my experience VHS tape survives typical renter mistreatment a lot better than optical discs.
Not to mention all the unskippable shit. I presume there are now DVD players that ignore the 'do not skip' flag. Ugh.
DVD rental stores drove me away long ago.

Maybe your friend should try renting movies on VHS, and don't forget betamax!
DVDs are cheap and plentiful, whereas new release movies on betamax are hard to come by.
Supply and demand, you see. Now all you need to do is convince people that watching movies stored on magnetic tape is really the only way to truly enjoy them.

Magnetic tape? What am I thinking!? Your friend should rent out the latest release movies on spools of film.

You also get to rent out the projectors, screens, piano-players, etc, that you need, remembering that all of this is a loss-leader to sell organic popcorn.

Video Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019689)

Maybe emphasize video game rentals. Last I checked the OnLive service wasn't doing so well. Our university here has a great media library that allows checking out video games and movies, I would guess the video games are more popular. Perhaps even renting the consoles themselves, here there is always waiting list to check out the 360, the controllers, etc.

install some booths (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019691)

Install some booths and buy a hole saw.

Oh no! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42019693)

Not this [] again.

Start a hackerspace? (4, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#42019697)

If your friend is running a successful business, then he's got a particularly useful and uncommon skill.

Some 80% of all first businesses fail, but only 20% of second businesses fail. That's because after the first business, you learn from your mistakes. Your friend has the skills and experience needed to start a new business - and that's what he should do.

So, what's trending on the map right now? What brick-and-mortar establishments are on the rise?

How about setting up a hackerspace [] ? These seem to be popping up everywhere, and unlike McDonalds, there's still room for more.

While running the 'space, keep an eye out for things that might be products [] . With a hackerspace available it's easy to "test the waters" for a new tech product: you have access to people with skills for design, construction, [website] sales, and so on.

What they don't have is someone who can steer the ship, someone who has experience in things like incorporating, taxes, management, planning, accounting, and so on.

Consider starting a hackerspace. I hear that they can be successful and lots of fun.

Venue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019725)

At this stage in the game I would likely get out myself.

It's entirely possible to rent from a dvd from netflix or an automated teller (conveniently located). There are things these creatures lack that could be filled in some manner or you could just go crazy with something different.

Knowing there is a good deal of competition online and off you have to ask yourself is there a niche or service that can be provided. Multiple check out lines wouldn't hurt and several trailers playing on various positioned screens would be nice. Basically, the goal is to sale movies while you don't have to. However, if the entire establishment looks like it's a step away from either providing shelter for the homeless or a offering boot leg copies out back then don't bother. No one gets comfortable if the place is a shit hole unless they have enough familiarity to ignore the dirt. Anyhow, you get the idea or at least should. A nice little shack with some HD screens, free popcorn and a little motion. Make em want it now and make em want to come back.

Nothing says you can't join in the game either. An automated teller for after-hours might not be a bad investment, but it really depends on how much night life exists.

At this stage, we've simply thrown lipstick and a dress on a pig. It's a still a pig and it's not likely to last the night in a mob of hungry Europeans. If you happen to have a few delivery places nearby you could determine their interest in pairing up orders. This is going to require a hybrid online ordering method and very likely that stick in the mud delivery joint has an awful sql-injection ready website already. You'll have to convince them to give up their "already under new management" website and throw down with you. (Technically you could maintain two presences, but then you lose out on some potential sales).

This is neat because they will be serving in an area within your surroundings. Individuals will be less hesitant regarding the return trip and you could throw in some fairly lenient rental terms. (2-3 days DVD, 1 Day bluray) It might take a little play to figure out what works best. The other benefit is the service is now a "premium" service and you might squeeze more then a dollar a vid. Other incidentals like managing orders for another company also come with a surcharge as well. The more local delivery food shops you can add in the better. (Obviously, they will unlikely want to throw in with competiting businessess, but you you may get lucky with a trifecta of chinese, pizza and indian.

Well there is what I got. The first is to look like a first rate dealer and the second is do be more of a software/financial manager of sorts. You still rent DVD's under the second model, but it's a paradigm shift into only order management.

Find some reason to sue your customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019729)

Find some way to sue your consumer base and competitors like the other guys do when their business model erodes and collapses.
Sad alternative is to change to a sex toy / video shop.

Change Focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019737)

1. Get out of the rental business. That market is better served by other models like Netflix and RedBox.
2. Get into the movie sales business. Some people prefer a real world experience when dealing with media. They like owning the plastic cases. They like to see a collection grow and at home display it proudly.
3. There is a lot more to movies than just the movies them selves. Posters, special editions, collectible figurines. Visit a good comic book store to see how they thrive in a world where print is dead.
4. Specialize. Become the best at something. Pick a genre like Sci-Fi or Horror and become "The Place" to go for the latest and greatest in the genre. Collect and cultivate a back catalog of hard to find titles and associated items. If a new movie is coming out people should find out about it while visiting your store.
5. Make sure that you and the staff stay completely updated on current movie news and study movie trivia. When a movie fan is visiting make sure you can hold an intelligent conversation with them.
6. Be lucky enough to live in a town large enough so that a store such as this could be supported.
7. Hope that the comic book stores in the area don't catch on and start trying to attract more movie fans.

I can answer this question... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019741)

I actually might be qualified to answer this since my business partner and I are in this very scenario and we have already made adjustments that have had a real positive impact.

My partner's dvd rental store has been in business and at the same location for over 16 years. During that time, Blockbuster gave it a run for TEN years directly across the street, but closed down 2 years ago. He began supplementing the business by becoming a wireless dealer and bill payment station. Here in Houston, multipurpose shops are EVERYWHERE and are VITAL in small, mostly Hispanic communities, so in order to compete, your store must offer all or at least some of the following: Phone service, phone cards (for international calling), bill payment such as local utilities and cable, Western Union, MoneyGram, money orders, copies, fax service, etc...

We recently began offering computer repairs and upgrades in addition to the cell phone repairs and he has quite a bit of retail space dedicated to not only popcorn, candy and soda, but even chips, sweets, fortune cookies, designer fragrances, and tons of accessories.

This may seem crazy to a lot of readers here, and it's certainly a lot to juggle for a store owner, but the truth is, he has been a staple in the community for so long that our customers keep finding reasons to come in. Sure, they still rent dvds, but they really come for the multitude oi other helpful services we offer.

Rentals (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019743)

I live in china and here there are about a dozen movie/tv-show libraries online free of charge here, quality is generally good (especially pptv) when streaming dvd quality content. The selection is less so though, while there are new content most is old and obscure (lot's of B-rated movies). For that reason I prefer to visit my local movie-shop, where I'll be presented with a huge library of movies. Most are pirated and price is about 1$ for a copy. For that price, given a choice between clicking on a torrent-link and waiting an unknown amount of time, versus, going to the shop, I always go to the shop. But, if the movie is available through a stream online, I'll pick that since it starts as soon as I click it...
However, the shop still has an upper hand and that's the selection they can keep, since I'm a frequent movie watcher, the shop owner (who also happens to be the general agent for distribution of media in my city) knows me and trusts me enough to view his warehouse where he keeps titles that has not sold well and things that has not even been released yet, I'll usually find movies before they hit the torrents there. Can't beat that. Same goes for normal dvd rentals, if you get to know them well enough, you can usually get to rent before it's officially released for rent.

Delivery (1)

pellik (193063) | about 2 years ago | (#42019755)

Streaming services have woefully poor selection. DVD by mail takes 3-5 days to receive the movie you wanted to watch tonight. Perhaps your friend could use delivery drivers to cover that gap for the next few years (decade+ with the way content distributors fight).

Re:Delivery (1)

dehole (1577363) | about 2 years ago | (#42019809)

That's just what I was going to recommend.

Maybe delivery drivers + self addressed envelopes so that they can send them back.

Four words (1)

Joe Decker (3806) | about 2 years ago | (#42019759)

High speed popcorn delivery.

look at bookstores (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#42019777)

Bookstores are trying to maintain their relevance by becoming coffeeshops that sell books. The idea is to make the store a destination in its own right, rather than just the means to get a chunk of entertainment. At a bookstore you can sample the offerings before picking one out (not possible with DVD-by-mail, and possible – but not really done well – by streaming services), so maybe set up DVD players with headphones, or (shhhh) rip the DVDs and let the customers preview them on kiosks in the store. Put together displays that draw on the staff's expertise (e.g. favorite dystopic sci-fi films, throw in a free second DVD that makes for a good double feature) rather than homogenized wisdom-of-the-crowd correlations or dubious one-random-idiot's-faves lists that you find on web sites. A DVD rental store can never compete with the stock of the latest blockbusters or the depth of the library that Netflix or Amazon has; don't even make that a goal. To work, you need to focus on the "service" side of the business; every person on the floor needs to be a seasoned cinephile, not short-term minimum-wage high school kids. Set up a mini "home theater" and have regular "movie night" events for small groups of people to watch old films with fellow fans of the films. (This would probably require paying performance-rights fees to the studios.) This is all stop-gap stuff, of course. This store is not going to exist to be passed down to the kids as the family business. But it might keep the doors open and the lights on for a while longer.

Talk to your customers ... (5, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 years ago | (#42019781)

Slashdot isn't the best place to ask because most of us have bought into digital distribution. We are unlikely to be the video store's target audience so we aren't the best people to ask.

Your friend also has some challenges because copyright laws limit his options. A lot of things that could be done would be illegal or require a lot of paperwork because it would be considered a public showing (e.g. previews, a showing room for private events).

Yet they may be able to transition their business if they are into film. This could be tied to tangible products or people oriented. They could try to sell the hardware to show movies, provide a forum to discuss them, or even provide a hub for people who want to produce independent films.

There are a lot of other ways to adapt. The key though is to talk to the people who matter: the customers who would actually use the service.

Carry different products. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019795)

As it happens, I have a friend with a video store also.

It's surviving, but it's still hard. Not like the good ol' days before movie downloads and Netflix were easy.

Part of it is that the shop is set up in a community with a large percentage of the population being over retirement age; they haven't figured out how to download movies from the internet. They still rent films. Also, the shop moved to a cheaper location.

But that shop's days are definitely numbered, I'd guess.

Maybe measure the social value of the shop and see whether a transition to a new business model would be better or a complete break.

Make the decision and spend a month selling off all the stock to pay outstanding debts, then proceed to do the next thing; either find another job or start up another business.

Maybe DVDs, books, comics, board games, coffee and muffins with a cool and essential public hang-out space would work.

Still renting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019801)

Our DVD shop has been consistent for the last ten years as far as new customer sign ups go. Rentals have dropped a little bit since 2009, but the biggest change is used DVD sales. Obviously, we can no longer sell used DVDs for $9.95 anymore. Even at $2.00 we barely sell anything.

The nice thing about people supporting us is they are contributing to the neighborhood economy. I spend most of my money in my own neighborhood.

Other folks are right though, especially if this video shop of your friends is his primary business. Perhaps it's better to cash out while the inventory still has some value.

Second-hand market? (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 years ago | (#42019813)

Maybe he could try his hand at the used video market?

Just as game stores increasingly earn their profits through buybacks and re-sales of used games and console hardware, he could get into the business of purchasing and re-selling used DVD/Blu-ray movies, and maybe used video players as well.

Niche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42019825)

The old stuff. Get a good Disney section. Get a good Classic Western section. Good Sifi section. Make sure I don't feel like i am walking into a Porn store....unless you are selling Porn. Know the art. If I walk into a video rental store...and we have only one in our town other than RedBox.....I have a very specific movie or actor I am looking for and If I ask for something know it.

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