The Internet Killed the Video Store


Not so long ago, the local video store was commonplace on streets across the country. But recent years have seen this once booming industry suffer a rapid decline in popularity. Since the dawn of technological advances, our once-luxuries have been replaced by faster and more innovative ideas. Even Redbox sales have dwindled due to online streaming. The rise of movie-on-demand services and digital downloads have forced many stores to shut, often leaving behind scenes resembling something from a post-apocalyptic movie that the store would once have stocked.

The first video stores appeared towards the end of the 1970s and by the mid-1980s, the home entertainment industry had taken off in a big way with chains such as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video dominating the market.

Currently, there are only 12 Blockbusters still open - 8 in Alaska, 2 in Oregon and 2 in Texas. Alan Payne owns the 8 in Alaska and more than half of the revenue is generated during a six-hour period on Friday nights. In Alaska internet service is more expensive than in most states, because data packages are not unlimited. They charge by the gig. Payne also reported that 20 percent of sales came from rentals of online streaming TV shows — from the “binge watchers." Those dark, long winters and expensive WiFi have helped maintain a core group of loyal customers. The ‘Last Frontier.'