NETFLIX KILLED THE VIDEO STORE
END OF AN ERA FOR GARBUTT
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
EPILOGUE: Paul O’Kane, owner of Civic Video in Garbutt, is closing the doors of his store following a prolonged downturn in the industry.