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Movie rental and streaming services restructuringa film distribution

Published: Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

jtompkins

Diana Amaro

Junior criminal justice major Justin Tompkins, left, and freshman Biochem major Marco Lopez, right, browse Netflix for a movie to watch during their break from class.

Convenience and fixed monthly rates have influenced the way people access films. For the first time since 2001, movie rentals have outnumbered movie purchases, according to Los Angeles Times.

While distributors Blockbuster and Hollywood Video have experienced declining revenue, Netflix, Redbox and other online providers have received consumer adoptability.

Failing to adapt to consumer preferences, Bloomberg reported that Movie gallery, parent company of Hollywood Video, filed for bankruptcy court last year. Primary rival Blockbuster also filed for bankruptcy in 2010, as announced by the Toronto Sun.

With 25 million subscribers and 20 percent of all bandwidth consumption, according to various online sources, Netflix has become a prominent competitor in the movie rental industry.

Under its official website, Netflix packages starts at $7.99 for unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. Streaming can be accessed through all major gaming consoles, select smartphones and tablets alongside an array of Internet-capable devices. Netflix also offers DVD rentals (one-at-a-time) for only $7.99 more per month and an additional $2 add-on to receive Blu-Ray movies.

"The best thing about Netflix is it's ready whenever you are," said Maria Pasillas, junior creative writing major. "You don't have to have to drive anywhere with the probability that what you're looking for isn't available. Netflix might not have what you want on Instant Streaming, but it's more likely that you'll find an old favorite you want to watch."

For students who prefer physical DVDs, both Redbox and Blockbuster offer attractive rates on Hollywood's biggest hits.

Calculated at approximately 27,800 kiosks across the nation, Redbox's accommodating locations make movie night a hassle-free experience.

Printed on the machines themselves, Redbox's DVD rentals cost one dollar per night while Blu-Ray rank at $1.50 a night. Attempt to entice gamers, CBS further reports that Redbox has begun renting video games at $2 per night.

"Redbox is quick and easy. The movies available are popular and most recent," said Stephanie Torres, freshman music performance major. "The only down side is that if you feel like watching something old, you probably won't find it there."

For those in search of a broader selection, Blockbuster's 3-tier rental system can prove a beneficial alternative.

Start at $11.99 per month, customers can rent one movie or video game at a time. The company also offers two-disc rentals for $16.99 and a three-disc package for $19.99.

"Netflix and Redbox have seriously damaged sales," said a local Blockbuster employee who wished to remain anonymous. "Daily revenue used to be in the hundreds, and while I don't have exact figures, profit has been notably lower. The decrease in business has dramatically lowered employee hours."

Additional online streaming services from YouTube and Amazon provide movie lovers with even more choices and payment flexibility.

Adjacent to YouTube's search bar, YouTube movies is an online portal which features recently released films and popular classics. Ranging from $2.99 to $3.99, this rental system grants users a 30-day window to use their 24-hour viewing pass. This service also offers free movies with scheduled commercial interruptions.

Similarly, Amazon Instant Video offers streaming on more than 5,000 films and TV shows. Prices vary from $0.99 for daily specials to $20.99 for an entire TV season. The online retailer also offers Amazon Prime - a $79 yearly subscription which allows members unlimited streaming.

Jerry Aldaz may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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