Movies on the cheap

Renting online is cheaper and more convenient than going to a walk-in video store. But there are hidden costs involved.
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You can pick up the latest movies from a kiosk outside your supermarket, have them delivered to your mailbox from online rental stores, or simply download them straight to your TV. 

New services offer advantages over traditional walk-in video stores, such as the convenience of having DVDs delivered to your mailbox and no late-return penalty fees. In the US, online mail order rental stores have driven major rental chains such as Blockbuster and Movie Gallery broke.

But Australian industry players don’t believe this will happen here – at least not anytime soon.

How members are renting

CHOICE conducted an online survey to find out whether our members are switching to the newer methods of movie rental or sticking with their local store.

  • An overwhelming 75% of the 532 respondents still rent movies from walk-in stores, but 18% of these are now subscribing to online rental and mail-rental stores.
  • Only about 3% download movies directly from the internet.
  • About 2% use DVD kiosks.
  • The remaining 2% borrow DVDs from their local library.

Although walk-in video stores remain the most popular method of renting movies, mail-rental DVD stores such as BigPond Movies have higher satisfaction scores among our members for cost, convenience, range and customer service.

Who’s switched

About 13% of survey respondents had switched from traditional video stores in the past three years. Of those, about 60% switched to an online mail-rental subscription service.

“Mail rental enables you to pre-select movies online, watch them at your leisure and mail them back when you are ready without any late fees or pressure to watch them overnight or in a week,” says CHOICE member Georgia.

About 30% switched to direct downloads; the rest opted for DVD kiosks, with a select few borrowing DVDs for free from their local libraries.

Movie rentals satisfaction survey


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