Online video rentals a double-edged sword

By JAKE MOKRIS
Teen Takeover staff
With the relatively recent advent of online movie rental programs, the movie-renting business has moved into the 21st century. Through these rental programs, families can rent movies at home and potentially never go to a rental store again.


But this forward-looking movie-rental device has its drawbacks. Though local video rental stores are not obsolete, the online rental programs have set local stores on the path to obsolescence. The consequences of this trend are unfavorable to the families that do not subscribe to one of the online rental programs.
Suppose you decide that you want to rent a movie to watch tonight. If you subscribe to an online rental program, and if you had decided a few days beforehand that you wanted to watch a movie tonight, you could have gone online a few days earlier, perused a list of movies, and ordered one. The movie would come in the mail, and you would have it to watch tonight. But if you did not subscribe to such a program, or if you had not planned this movie night beforehand, you would have to go to the local video rental store.
But when you get there, you find that the store does not have the movie you want. The clerk tells you that, because the store is part of a major chain that has its own online rental program, the local stores no longer keep large amounts of movies in stock. The clerk then asks you if you want to subscribe to the online rental program.
Or, if the store does happen to have the movie, the clerk says that you can buy the movie instead of merely renting it. By selling the movies and diminishing their stock, local movie rental stores can force consumers to depend on online rental programs to find particular movies.
As a result, impromptu movie nights at home are over. The only way to rent a movie spontaneously is to go to the movie store, but many of the good movies might be available only through the online rental programs. So unless you plan to rent a new release, you may no longer be able to simply drive to the movie store and look for a movie to watch.
Jake Mokris is a home-schooled student and member of the Teen Takeover staff.

About Scott Fisher

I’m opinion page editor and blogging coordinator for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and Yorkblog.com. Phone: 717-771-2049. Email: sfisher@ydr.com. Twitter: YDReditpage.

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