Video rental is one concept that I can firmly say is undergoing great change in my lifetime. I know I'll relate to many people that have shelves full of VHS movies, and engage some that have seen the progression of video on tape to where it is today. As for today's teens and children, a little perspective on where video rental has come from.
Growing up in a frugal family that uses movies for entertainment, I now feel a connection to history – after all, look up the original use of nickelodeon if you haven't recently. A quick visit to inflation calculators reveals that a nickel from 100 years ago is worth $1.16. The cost range of $1-$1.29 is meaningful beyond a fast-food dollar menu, it is the approximate cost for hours of entertainment for countless people. A local video rental store (still a favorite of mine) marketed that you could rent videos for a dollar per VHS and per day (in groups of five). Sound like a Redbox? Netflix, which once felt ubiquitous for postal workers is still hurting from "one of the largest-ever single-year drops" in customer satisfaction history. Now brick-and-mortar stores like Blockbuster are struggling to reach the ever-growing, ever-isolating niche audiences.
For those older-but-good movies that you want to rewatch or share with uneducated companions, there are dwindling rental options if a movie like The Princess Bride is not in your media library. The quest for this 1987 favorite started with Apple TV, which offered a purchase of the full movie, at full price. The next attempt with Netflix left me saddened with a "by mail only" option. Just short of contacting my nearest relative to borrow the movie, I drove past a few Redbox kiosks (which upon further review, wouldn't have had The Princess Bride anyway) and stopped at a bare bones Blockbuster. Did they have it? Yes, after $1.06 and some friendly person to person interaction, I got the movie I wanted, and I'm glad I didn't watch it on my phone.
Mobile video is a form of on demand video which is a form of video rental, and a result of niche audiences taking over. It could be argued that streaming video is a type of rental since content can be delivered for temporary viewing, and this appears to be the future of home video. Streaming video's subcategory of mobile video is still volatile, take a look at Viddy. Instead of getting a DVD by mail from Blockbuster we'll take our "need to have it right now" attitude and maybe even pay the small cost of viewing few advertisements in order to view the video we want.You might even find that what was used to be known as a blockbuster is now a viral video.