A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a traffic light by the Hollywood Video store near my home and glanced over at the empty parking lot. This was not an unusual sight because for years the parking lot at the Hollywood Video was always empty. But looking a bit closer, I realized the space was being gutted and prepped for an upcoming Advanced Auto Parts store. The Hollywood Video store was gone for good.
To be honest, I have not entered a video rental store in probably 10 years. But, I still felt a bit sad and nostalgic for all those Friday and Saturday nights back in the early 1990’s that I spent in the video store perusing the shelves for the newest flick with my boyfriend (who is now my wonderful husband). Rows and rows of videotapes, which eventually changed over to DVDs, were all lined up right at our fingertips. We really enjoyed going to the video store.
But then my husband and I stopped going to the video rental store. And it looks like everyone else stopped going too.
Remember the song “Video Killed the Radio Star?” Well, DVD rental by mail and on-demand streaming video killed the video rental store.
Companies such as Netflix, Redbox, Amazon and iTunes are flourishing. They offer popular media at the click of a button, a delivery right to your mailbox or a quick stop at a kiosk at your local convenience store. With media being so easily accessible now, there really is no reason to make a special trip to a video rental store anymore.
Hollywood Video has closed its doors. If you visit the website, you will see a message saying the company is “exploring new ways of delivering entertainment to you.” And Blockbuster Video, which was the leader in video rentals for over 20 years, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of September. Obviously, these companies are looking to reorganize and find a way to compete with companies such as Netflix and Redbox, but there is no doubt that video rental stores will not be a part of their reorg plans.
I guess what it comes down to is how fleeting technology really is. It is amazing how a certain technology and/or the ways to access that technology becomes completely obsolete – even when it has been at the top of its popularity for a long period of time. Something comes along that is bigger (or smaller), faster, better and more exciting. It makes that “something you thought you couldn’t live without” a thing of the past.
I wonder which “something you can’t live without” will be the next thing to wither away and die. DVDs and Blu-ray? The laptop? Firefox? Only time will tell…