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Expanding DVD Rental-by-Post Industry Profiled

Customers are spoiled for choice as online DVD rental continues to grow

St. Ives, UK – 3rd August 2006

UK DVD Rental Guide (www.uk-dvd-rental-guide.com), a review and comparison website of the 34+ online UK DVD rentals by post sites, has today announced its assessment of the industry, which continues to expand, offering more choice and value for consumers as rental activity shifts from the high street to the letterbox. The BBC has rightly described an “explosion in the popularity of renting DVDs via the internet” and Screen Digest research indicates that by 2009, rental-by-post will account for over half of British video rental transactions.

Online DVD rental’s growth is due to its convenience and ease of use, with most companies following the same four-step process. First, a customer signs up online, and picks a wish list of films in order of preference from a library of tens of thousands of films. Second, the DVD rental company mails the DVDs by first class post in individual envelopes (usually in a small plastic caddy, entire DVD boxes aren’t sent). Third, the customer keeps the disc as long as desired, as most companies don’t charge late fees. Finally, the customer posts the disc back to the company, which then sends out another disc from the wish list, etc.

The online DVD rental industry was pioneered by US giant Netflix, launched in 1999. In the UK, online rentals only really started gaining momentum in 2003, with explosive growth from 2004 as they went mainstream. The situation is similar to the late-1990s mobile phone craze, before the market reached saturation. Prices are low with generous free trials to entice new customers.

Companies have different tariffs, most commonly allowing 1, 2, or 3 DVDs at home at any one time, and most are theoretically unlimited in how many discs you can watch in a month. A few years ago when the online rental industry was just getting started, many customers who swiftly mailed back their discs could get through 25+ discs in a month on an industry-standard, £15, 3 disc-at-a-time subscription.

Ted Flaherty, of the UK DVD Rental Guide, states “many companies today have a fair use policy, which will throttle back dispatches to high volume renters and give priority to less frequent users, but even so, online rentals offer great value; just watching a modest three DVDs a week, you’d average about £1.20 per disc, around a third of a typical high street rental charge and without the worry of late fees.”

Most companies offer free trials of between one week to 30 days, and there are various other factors that differentiate them, such as offering video game rentals, foreign films, adult titles, or allowing you to suspend subscriptions while away on holiday. Some companies don’t operate on an unlimited basis, and instead have a pay-per-disc tariff better suited to people who want to watch only 3-5 films per month, though these tend be more expensive, averaging around £2 per rental.

While there are around 34 DVD rental sites, though there are only 17 actual DVD rental companies, as many of these sites are branded versions of the two major players Screenselect and Lovefilm, which run rental services for major high street and media partners like Tesco DVD Rental, Sainsburys DVD Rental, WH Smith, and easycinema, among other. The two market leaders announced in April that they will soon merge into a single company under the Lovefilm name, which will control well over half the online market. Blockbuster has adapted well to the online rental market, as has Amazon.co.uk. There are also several particularly good medium-sized outfits like My Movie Stream, Movemine, and Cinema Paradiso, among many others. As UK DVD Rental Guide’s manager Flaherty states, “the online rental customer really is spoiled for choice.”

About UK DVD Rental Guide

The only unbiased comparison website that reviews all 12+ online UK DVD rental by post sites in depth, previously featured in national press and radio interviews. UK DVD Rental Guide allows customers to select the best online DVD rental service suited to them, including special offers/codes, links to free trials, a forum, and a blog on the rental industry. See the full online DVD rental comparison chart.

For more information, please contact:
Ted Flaherty
UK DVD Rental Guide
Tel: +44 (0) 1480 495350
E-mail: admin@UK-DVD-Rental-Guide.com