Could the video rental shop make a comeback?

Posted on 25 July, 2018 by Bailey Clarke

Most of us have seen an increase in vinyl shops around the UK but could the video store also become popular again despite the advances in digital technology.

The video rental shop was a very common sight from the 80s with many shops even renting VHS players as well as videos for a daily hire fee. Due to the delay of movies being released to the public many opted to hire as an easier option to watch a film without a long wait.

Video hire shop comeback

When DVDs started to appear in the 90s video shops slowly started replacing the VHS with the new disc and later Blu-ray also became an option for customers. Many stores also offered game rentals as well as box sets, so the choices were growing.

Decline in sales

From 2000 films were released almost instantly to DVDs, so the once long delay was now being dramatically reduced. The benefit for customers was that they could watch the latest blockbuster sooner without much wait. The downside for the rental industry is that DVDs also started to decrease in value making them extremely easy to purchase rather than hire.

The video rental industry started to experience massive changes from early 2000 with internet services becoming readily available to consumers. Online media providers had advantages as they could offer movie packages and all sorts of entertainment with a touch of a button. All that was required was an internet connection and with broadband and then fibre optic becoming affordable the market increased.

Within the comfort of their own homes, consumers started to ditch the video hire shop and invest in services such as Netflix. With their user-friendly format, easy set-up and low-cost packages the rental market had stiff competition.

After the explosion of online streaming services, the video shop started to experience a decline in sales and after time they slowly disappeared, but could nostalgia play a key part in bringing them back to life.

Other rental options

Prior to the popularity of media service providers, there was Lovefilm a DVD-by-mail service which provided DVDs with a monthly subscription. The consumer would put their choices on a list and a movie would be selected and sent to them via the post and returned by post. From 2002 Lovefilm had over 1 million subscribers but after a decrease in demand, this old-school service finally closed in 2017.


In Liverpool, there is a video shop offering VHS and players for hire creating nostalgia for those who remembered them and a new experience for the younger generation.

The video shop offers more than just hire and rare videos, the owner has also developed the shop by offering customers a retro arcade games area for members to discuss their latest movie or gaming achievements.

By creating a place for the community to discuss films and watch them together in the vicinity could the hire shop make a comeback with a twist.

Blockbusters finally closed their doors in 2013 but with vinyl shops coming back with a vengeance potentially the VHS hire shop could also see a revival giving consumers the chance to reminisce once again.

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