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Blockbuster Winning Battle for DVD Renter

15 Sep, 2002 By: Judith McCourt

Blockbuster Video is far ahead of the competition when it comes to DVD renters' preferred rental location, according to a recent exclusive survey of 900 U.S. households conducted for Video Store Magazine.

More than half of the DVD households surveyed — or 52 percent — picked Blockbuster as their rental location of choice. That handily beats the competition, even No. 2 rental chain Hollywood, which only garned 13 percent of DVD households in the same survey.

By pleasing DVD households more than the competition, Blockbuster is grabbing the best overall renters as well because DVD households rent more than any others. DVD households rented more videos and DVDs than their VHS only counterparts in a four-week period according to the study, in part, because they are still renting in both formats. On average a DVD households said they rented 4.3 DVDs and 3.1 cassettes in the four-week period. This compares to just 2.7 cassettes that the average VHS only household rented.

In the DVD market, Blockbuster has branded itself particularly well with Hispanics, Asian and ethnicities other than caucasians and African-Americans, and many of these households cite Blockbuster's location as the reason they favor it. Forty-nine percent of Caucasion and African-American DVD households favor Blockbuster while 69 percent of other ethnicities favor Blockbuster.

According to the study, Blockbuster has also forged strong alliances with other prime rental demographics in the DVD market, attracting a younger clientele. Of the under-30 set, Blockbuster scored as the No. 1 rental choice for 61 percent of the group. The younger the renter, the stronger their affiliation with Blockbuster. Seventy-three percent of 18 to 20 year olds with DVD players gave the big thumbs up to Blockbuster as their top rental location. Among DVD households, the location also scored well with males with no children (69 percent) and with female heads of households with children (57 percent).

VHS-only households are also more likely to rent at Blockbuster than any other location. Forty percent of all VHS-only households say that Blockbuster is their rental location of choice.

According to survey results, Blockbuster's competitors are far behind among both VHS-only and DVD households.

Independent video outlets scored second with renters. Just over a quarter of VHS-only households said that they most often rent at the local video store, while almost 20 percent of DVD households said that this is their primary rental location.

Hollywood Video finished as a third choice with both sets of households. Thirteen percent of DVD households selected the chain as their primary rental location, while 11 percent of VHS-only households said it was the main rental location.

Other findings of the study show that renting videos is still the most popular home entertainment among several options, including games, Internet and even buying videos. In the last year, two-thirds of all U.S. households said they had rented a cassette, and 21 percent said they had rented a DVD.

Household penetration of DVD players at the time of the study was pegged at 34 percent. Of households that had VHS or DVD hardware, about three-quarters of them had rented at least one cassette in the last year. Households that owned DVD players also frequent rental outlets, with 69 percent saying they had rented a disc in the last year.

DVD households rent more frequently than those who rent cassettes. Forty-one percent of DVD households rent discs one or more times a week, while 32 percent of households that rent cassettes do so at least once a week.

DVD renters find time to use the special features that have expanded the entertainment viewing experience. Sixty-one percent of DVD households said they explored special features when they rented a video.

Survey findings also show that DVD renters are not only into the extra features, they also checking out the previews that are included on the disc. Fifty-eight percent of this group said they watch at least some of the previews, with 36 percent claiming to watch them all. Their interest in previews is perhaps a reflection of their desire to build their new collections.

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