Friday, July 30, 2010

Libraries more popular than Netflix for DVD rentals in US.

Online DVD rental websites like Netflix may be extremely popular, spelling doom for video rental stores, but it turns out that local libraries are still top dog for loaning out DVDs according to a recent survey by the Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC).

The study found that while people rent two million DVDs from Netflix every day, over 2.1 million borrow DVDs from US libraries on a daily basis. It turns out libraries are far from dead after all. In fact, the next best thing to Netflix in the US, Redbox, only rents out 1.4 million DVDs a day, giving public libraries a significant edge.

One reason for the substantial volume of DVD loans from libraries is that the video catalogue has more than doubled over the past ten years. In 1999 there were 73.5 DVDs and VHS tapes per thousand people, while in 2008 that figure has jumped to 166.7 per thousand.

Another reason may be the tightening of belts as people lost jobs or received pay cuts during the recession. Many Americans may have chosen to get a DVD for free from their library rather than pay Netflix cash for it.

However, film buffs are more likely to find modern movies and TV shows on Netflix, which has a larger collection of material to offer, numbering in the thousands.

Meanwhile British DVD rental service Lovefilm has signed an agreement with US-based Widevine. The deal will see Widevine take over Lovefilm's digital rights management and video optimisation in efforts to deliver more content to a larger number of devices. This will give users increased access to Lovefilm's rental collection and may help to increase its 1.4 million subscriber base.

Last we checked UK libraries offer DVD rentals. But in recent times, after major spending cuts, we're not 100 percent sure if libraries still exist.


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