The DVD rental by mail industry was pioneered by Netflix, launched in 1999 to take advantage of the power of the internet and easy delivery of DVDs by post, while eliminating hated late fees. Customers love not having to go down to the video store and the absence of late fees (which generate 18% of video store income), and given low subscription prices, don't seem to be a in hurry to swiftly return discs to get new ones; average American customers hang onto a DVD for an average of 6 nights before posting back. For comparison, a 3-disc unlimited subscription for $16.99, assuming you only watch a 3 discs a week, comes out to $1.35 per DVD with any of our top three picks, which have identical pricing.
The launch of Blockbuster's online effort in August 2004 really shook up the market , though they still comes second in market share, with perhaps half of Netflix's 12 million subscribers as of 2010. One estimate placed the ultimate US market at well over 20 million, so there's still plenty of room to grow. There are several other medium-sized services, as well as many niche providers for areas like Asian, Indian, anime, arthouse, even fitness, and craft video specialists.
The American DVD rental market will probably continue rapid growth for at least several more years as it completes it move to mainstream, driving many traditional video shops out of business in the process. The exodus to rental-by-mail will obviously hurt video shops, many of which will probably close. So enjoy the free trials and cheap subscription fees while you can.
If anything, the recent global downturn following the credit crunch has bolstered online DVD rental; for instance, Netflix sales were up 11% in late 2008 compared to the previous year.
We at DVD-Rental-Guide.us will continue to guide the way with our reviews and rankings, helping you pick the best.