160 Aussies still work in this once-booming industry

A group of people walking on the street and a stack of DVDs to represent people working in the movie rental industry.
Very few Aussies still work in the movie-rental industry. (Source: Getty)

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the only way you could watch a movie that was no longer in cinemas was to pop down to the movie-rental store and pick up a DVD or video.

And, despite the rise of on-demand streaming services, it turns out there are still ways to get that nostalgic feeling.

According to census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 160 Australians reported they still worked in the movie-rental space.

While the classic Video Ezy and Blockbuster stores are mostly gone, there are a number of independently owned movie-rental stores across the country.

But where did it all go wrong for the major players?

The demise of movie rentals

The first Blockbuster store opened in the United States in 1985 and, by 1994, there were more than 6,000 stores across the globe.

But the height of its popularity wouldn’t last long.

Netflix was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings, who said he was sick and tired of having to pay late fees to his local Blockbuster.

Before becoming what it is today, Netflix would send customers DVDs in the mail for a monthly rate and had no late fees.

In 2000, Blockbuster considered buying Netflix for US$50 million - a decision which could have changed everything about how we consume our content today.

But they ultimately decided against buying the company, which brought in $47.5 billion (US$29.7 billion) last year.

Despite ditching late fees and launching Blockbuster online, the damage had been done and, by 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Blockbuster had been the leading movie-rental company globally, so it’s no wonder the other major players followed suit - each coming to a slow end.

But if you do want to bring back the feeling of a Friday movie night, it’s good to know there are still a few stores around.

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