RIP: Film rental era officially over as Blockbuster closes

Rest in peace video rentals (as we used to say it).

The era of the physical/hard copy film rental from the UK high street officially ends today (Monday 16 December 2013), with the closure of the last few UK branches of Blockbuster.

With the closure of Blockbuster, the three-decade (or so) history of the video rental ends. Way back in the VHS era, renting videos was an essential way to access films.

If I remember correctly, pre-recorded VHS tapes of films were unattainably expensive back in the early 1980s. I’m sure I remember such tapes costing around the £80 mark back then, meaning that paying your annual membership fee (!!!) then stumping up further pennies to rent films would be your only way to get to see certain films.

And back then, browsing the shelves could lead to some remarkably great discoveries (step forward The Terminator, which I came across in this manner).

Time moves on. As nostalgic as this is, it’s not like I’ve rented any films in well over a decade.

All the same, you can’t always precisely date the ending of an era. But in the case of the video/film/DVD rental, I think it’s safe to say it’s over.

Be kind.


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