Video clubs experienced tremendous growth in the 80s, but have almost all disappeared during the 2010s.
Have you ever visited video clubs? Our archives remind us of the flourishing era of these businesses where you could stroll for a long time to choose a film to watch at home.
“Despite of the poor economic climate, there is at least one sector that is growing rapidly: that of videocassette. »
— Host Pierre Maisonneuve
In the early 1980s, video clubs sprang up like mushrooms in Quebec. In Montreal, there are about twenty stores of this type where you can subscribe to rent film cassettes.
In the news bulletin Ce soir of December 9, 1982, journalist Jean-François Lamarche is interested in this new form of entertainment to bring home.
Report by Jean-François Lamarche on the explosion of video clubs in Quebec. The newscast is presented by Pierre Maisonneuve.
It's no longer blank tapes that interest VCR owners, as the owner of the Astro-video club explains in this report.
VCR store sales are increasing 200-300% each year, and they are converging towards movie rentals.
The newer the movie, the more favor videos, explains journalist Jean-François Lamarche.
For a member of a video club, renting a movie costs $2 per night. Previously, however, he would have had to purchase a VCR for around $900.
Considering that a videocassette film retails for $80, it is much more advantageous to rent it several times than to buy it.
Many amateurs also consider that the rental of cassette tapes films is a much more economical way to be entertained than going to the cinema, for example.
Only drawback: the offer of video clubs depends entirely on the films that one available on the market in videocassette format.
In 1982, the catalog was not very diversified, with rare titles in French and a large share of erotic films and horror films.
The hit of the hour in video clubs: Rocky III, which opened in June in the cinemas and which is already available on videocassette.
Report by Danièle Bombardier on the growth of the video rental market in Quebec due to the number of titles in French. The newscast is presented by Marie-Claude Lavallée.
“Quebecers spent $60 million last year renting video movies.
— Presenter Marie-Claude Lavallée
Less than three years later, the home theater industry is on a roll.
< p class="e-p">This is what this report by Danièle Bombardier on the program Ce soir of March 1, 1985 shows us.
This growth was particularly felt in Quebec, due to the explosion in the number of films available on the market in French.
One hundred and twenty-five new titles now appear each month on the video cassette market, of which about 62% in French.
In addition to offering French-language films in Quebec, video store owners must consider another aspect for consumers: the format of the videocassette.
Some people have the acquisition of a video recorder equipped to read Beta cassettes, which have better recording quality. Others have opted instead for a VHS tape recorder.
Interview of Dominique Lajeunesse with André Viau, owner of a video club on the availability of VHS and Beta tapes.
On the program Au jour le jour of September 13, 1988, host Dominique Lajeunesse discusses this issue with André Viau, owner of a Club international video franchise movie.
The war between VHS and Beta was then about to end, since the production of Beta video recorders had just been abandoned.
The catalog of the Club international vidéo film de Cartierville is impressive : more than 7000 cassettes are in store, which allows him to still offer films on Beta cassettes.
If the market drops by 20%, he will however have to withdraw the cassettes Beta of its tablets in order to remain profitable, as the owner of the video store warns.
André Viau nevertheless recommends owners of Beta video recorders to keep their device.
On the one hand, they can continue to make recordings at home; on the other hand, they have the possibility of renting the Beta tape of a film of which all the VHS copies offered to their VHS video store have been released!
In the early 2000s, video clubs are still thriving, but at Téléjournalof September 13, 2003, their disappearance is predicted with the arrival of digital television.
Report by Paul Toutant on the threat of digital television to the video store industry. The newsletter is presented by Céline Galipeau.
It is now possible for digital television subscribers to order films without leaving their homes; the same goes for Internet subscribers, explains journalist Paul Toutant in this report.
“No more carrying tapes or DVDs to the video store!” »
— Journalist Paul Toutant
The founder of SuperClub Vidéotron Richard Soly is not overly worried. According to him, video stores continue to fill a consumer need.
In his opinion, DVD and video game rentals have breathed new life into the industry.< /p>
Same story from the vice-president of the International Video Film Club, who does not believe that digital television will cannibalize his business.
Nevertheless, during the 2010s, streaming platforms like Netflix will finally get the better of video stores, of which only a handful remain in the province.
The business of renting video films will have progressed for about 30 years, before experiencing a precipitous fall.
Go to the video store, choose a film at length while browsing the aisles , having to return the tape to avoid paying a fine: all this is now associated with the past.
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