NET­FLIX KILLED THE VIDEO STORE

END OF AN ERA FOR GAR­BUTT

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - BETTINA WARBURTON bettina. warburton@ news. com. au

FACE­BOOK, Net­flix, movie down­loads, iPads – and high elec­tric­ity prices – have killed off one of Townsville’s few re­main­ing video stores.

Civic Video in Gar­butt, owned by lo­cal busi­ness­man Paul O’Kane, is clos­ing its doors af­ter op­er­at­ing for 16 years.

There are now only two re­main­ing DVD rental stores in Townsville, one in Kir­wan and one in Fair­field Wa­ters.

“It is an end of an era for me,” the fa­ther of two said. “I’ve had 12 stores in the past 17 years. This store was one of my first stores.”

Mr O’Kane said although week­end trade was strong, the week­day trade had been in de­cline for years.

“The big­gest down­turn in the in­dus­try is when Face­book and the iPad came out, which was about the same time,” he said.

“The wives who would come in Mon­day to Thurs­day to get a movie while the hus­bands were watch­ing the footy or was at work sud­denly could sit on Face­book for two hours – equiv­a­lent time to watch­ing a movie.

“But the big­gest killer to the busi­ness has not only been Face­book, movie down­loads etc, it has been the over­heads.

“Back when I started in this in­dus­try, 17 years ago, wages were about $ 12 an hour, and elec­tric­ity was about $ 500 a month. Now wages are $ 25 an hour and elec­tric­ity is $ 4500 if I put the air­con on and I still charge the same DVD hire.”

Mr O’Kane is hold­ing a clos­ing down sale this week, with DVDs up for grabs from as lit­tle as 25c.

Joseph McGhie, owner of the Civic Video Fair­field, said there was still de­mand from film fans who liked to browse along the aisles.

“We still get peo­ple sign­ing up ev­ery week,” he said.

“Our de­mo­graphic is peo­ple aged late 30s on­wards, and we also get a lot of Defence cus­tomers.

“I can’t say how long we’ll stay open, but for now we still have a steady stream of cus­tomers who want to rent a DVD from a shop rather than from an ATM or from stream­ing ser­vices.”

Mr McGhie said a DVD rental shop was still the only place a per­son could find a wide se­lec­tion of movies.

“New re­leases are al­ways pop­u­lar in this shop,” he said.

“There’s such a wide se­lec­tion of new re­leases avail­able in a DVD rental shop and peo­ple can’t get that se­lec­tion on the stream­ing ser­vices.”

Mr McGhie said he hoped to be in busi­ness for many years to come.

“We still do about 400 to 500 DVD rentals a week,” he said.

“There’s still a mar­ket ( for a DVD rental shopfront) but that’s not to say busi­ness is not in the de­cline.”

BUT THE BIG­GEST KILLER TO THE BUSI­NESS HAS NOT ONLY BEEN FACE­BOOK, MOVIE DOWN­LOADS ETC, IT HAS BEEN THE OVER­HEADS PAUL O’KANE

Pic­ture: FIONA HARD­ING

EPILOGUE: Paul O’Kane, owner of Civic Video in Gar­butt, is clos­ing the doors of his store fol­low­ing a pro­longed down­turn in the in­dus­try.

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