Video shops dropping to four


Dunedin’s soon-to-be two remaining video rental store proprietors say they will not be closing their doors in a hurry.
Video Venue in Green Island is closing on February 26, which will mean wider Dunedin is left with only four DVD and game rental stores.
Video Venue and Uncle Paul’s Pizza store owner Paul Larson said increased movie downloads had contributed to his store’s decline.
He tried to revive the store by adding the pizza store last year but that move had failed.
The business was not making money and Mr Larson said he could no longer sustain the financial losses.
Last year, United Video North Dunedin closed. Store owner Daniel Fergusson told the Star last year online entertainment had pulled people away from renting videos.
When Video Venue closes, Dunedin’s two remaining companies will be United Video in South Dunedin and Network Video, which has stores in Kaikorai Valley, Mosgiel and South Dunedin.
United Video South Dunedin store owner Daryle Blackler said he was not optimistic about the industry but things had “stabilised” at the moment.
His store would still be operational in six to 10 years’ time, he predicted. He recently signed a seven-year lease on the store building.
However, Mr Blackler has noticed a decline in customers in recent years. He estimated his customer base was about 60% of what it was six years ago.
About 10-12 years ago, there were more than 10 video rental stores in Dunedin, Mr Blackler said.
Once there were 20 staff employed at United Video’s South Dunedin store but now there were eight, with one full-time manager and part-timers who worked anywhere between 12 and 30 hours a week.
Network Video Dunedin stores owner Paul Whelan said the video rental industry would eventually disappear but there was “still life in the old dog”.
Although between 6000 and 7000 people visited the Network Video Dunedin stores each year, the business had seen “significant competitive growth” from online video streaming services in recent times, Mr Whelan said.
Competition from streaming services had made business harder over the last 18-24 months. Mr Whelan was trying to keep pace with technological change and said his stores would soon introduce online ordering.
Citing an older population not keen to buy broadband packages and the fact higher demand would consume more costly extra bandwidth, Mr Whelan expects his Dunedin stores will still be in business in five years.
The Network Video stores in Mosgiel and South Dunedin operated profitably, he said.
Mr Whelan said higher quality streamed video consumed additional bandwidth, which put up a barrier to new technology.