British Columbia

Netflix arrival worries local video stores

At least one Vancouver video rental store is worried the Canadian launch of Netflix, an online service for movies and TV, could put them out of business.

Rogers to 'evolve' video stores

At least one Vancouver video rental store is worried the Canadian launch of Netflix, an online subscription service for movies and TV, could put them out of business.

This fall, U.S. online video giant Netflix Inc. is launching a service that will allow Canadians to stream videos over the internet to their televisions and computers.

The company has not confirmed how much the Canadian service will cost but U.S. customers currently pay $8.99 a month for unlimited access to TV shows and movies.

Darren Gay, who has been operating Vancouver's Black Dog Video for 14 years, said the arrival of Netflix makes him nervous.

"It's probably going to be one more nail in the coffin of video stores."

Gay said revenue peaked about three years ago, but increasing movie availability over the internet has been chipping away at business.

'It's probably going to be one more nail in the coffin of video stores.'—Darren Gay, Black Dog Videos

"We've seen business tail off about five to 10 per cent a year," he said. "I don't know if that's going to be the continuing trend, but that's cause for concern, that's for sure."

Still, Gay is hoping stores like his will continue to serve a certain type of clientele.

"I kind of look at the way record stores have survived," he said.

"They've probably been hit harder than video stores because it's easier to download music, [but] there's still lots of record stores in town, so I'm hoping that can be us and we can stick it out — for a while longer, anyways."

David Purdy speaks for Rogers Communications Inc., which owns around 400 video stores across the country.

"There's no plans to shut down all of our video stores, the plan is to evolve them."

He said Rogers is moving toward offering its own movie subscription service, which will offer TV shows and movies on all platforms, including cellphones.

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