Did Redbox Kill the Video Store?

Matt and I routinely opine about how important it is for media outlets and delivery systems to never rest on laurels; to continually evolve and adapt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences. Been to a video store lately? Can you even find one open anymore? I can answer ‘yes’ to both.

As Blockbusters and Hollywood video stores continue to shutter their doors, Family Video opened up a brand new location (ironically enough in a recently closed Blockbuster store) this week near me. ‘What?’, you might ask, ‘Why?’ After all, hasn’t the increasing popularity of Redbox, Netflix and cable OnDemand type services all but rendered the traditional bricks and mortar video store obsolete? Two Blockbusters near me have closed in the past year, not to mention the ongoing and soon to be final disappearance of Borders.

During a brief tour of the new Family Video store, I was immediately impressed by how they have adapted to meet their online (and/or by mail) competition head-on. Bright, clean, open and inviting, the store features Kids and Educational sections where rentals are entirely free, ‘Just like the library’ I was told by my tour guide. Moreover, the selection of old and new movies was extensive and well organized. Not sure what constitutes “Action” or “Drama” or “Adventure”? No worries. Movies are simply alphabetical by title and easy to find. Best of all, prices start at free with many in the $1 range and new rentals at a cost conscious $2.98 for five nights.

It’s a recipe for reinvigoration: Better selection, including quicker access to new movies than Netflix, coupled with better pricing means a new, improved buying experience via a forum that looks familiar but is anything but old school. We’ll be watching – their videos as well as their business model progress.