Industry History

A History of Home Video and Video Game Retailing


2000 – Movie Gallery reaches 1,000 stores.

2000 – Babbage's Etc. becomes GameStop, Inc.

2000 – Video sell-through revenue totals $8.6 billion, surpassing theatrical box office ($7.7 billion) for the first time.

October 2000 – Sony launches PlayStation 2, the first video game console to incorporate DVD playback capability.

November 2001 – Microsoft launches the second DVD-based video game console, Xbox.

February 2002 – MGM becomes the first major studio to permit its movies to be made available online on a pay-per-view basis, through CinemaNow and Intertainer. One of the first two titles offered is What's the Worst That Could Happen? On CinemaNow, the movies are available both as downloads and streams, prices range from $1.99 to $4.99, and the movies are available to viewing for 24 hours after purchase.

August 28, 2002 – Sony announces that by the end of the year it would cease manufacturing the Betamax, which had only been available in Japan since 1998. A total of 18 million units were manufactured worldwide during its 27-year span.

November 2002 – MovieLink launches its Internet video-on-demand service.

2002 – TNR Entertainment Corp. is formed and soon begins offering DVD rentals through self-service kiosks in supermarkets and other venues under the brand name "The New Release." 

February 2003 – Netflix surpasses 1 million subscribers.

March 16, 2003 – DVD rentals generated more revenue than VHS rentals during the preceding week, marking the first time that weekly DVD rental revenues exceeded VHS rental revenues. For the week ending March 16, 2003, U.S. DVD rentals generated $80 million in revenue, and VHS rentals yielded $78 million, according to VSDA VidTrac. The milestone occurred six years to the month after the launch of the DVD format in the U.S.

June 15, 2003 – For the first time ever, more DVDs were rented during the week than VHS videocassettes. According to VSDA VidTrac, 28.2 million DVDs were rented during the week ending June 15, 2003, while 27.3 million VHS cassettes were rented.

2003 – Wal-Mart/San's Club tops Blockbuster in U.S. video revenues, marking the first time that a sellthrough retailer was the market leader.

2003 – Movie Gallery expands to all 50 states and reaches 2,000 stores, making it the second-largest video specialty retailer in the U.S. in terms of store count.

2003 – Annual DVD rental revenue exceeds VHS rental revenue for the first time. Consumers spent $4.38 billion renting DVDs and $3.82 billion renting VHS cassettes during the year.

January 15, 2004 – CinemaNow becomes the first service to offer "electronic sell-through," motion pictures that can be downloaded for unlimited viewing on the computer to which they are downloaded.

May 2004 – McDonald's launches "Redbox" DVD rental kiosks, offering $1 per night rentals, at its restaurants in the Denver area.

August 2004 – Blockbuster launches its online DVD rental service, "Blockbuster Online."

2004 – Viacom divests itself of Blockbuster.

2004 – Annual DVD rental turns exceed VHS rental turns for the first time. DVD saw 1.75 billion rental turns, which VHS rental turns were 842 million.

2005 – Hollywood Video is acquired by Movie Gallery.

June 12, 2005 – Movies Unlimited, which claimed to be the first store specializing in video, closes after operating in the same location for 27 years. The owner decided to close when the building was sold. The business continued as a mail order enterprise.

June 2005 – McDonald's expands its redbox DVD kiosks to the Houston, Salt Lake City, Minnesota, and western Wisconsin markets.

October 10, 2005 – GameStop and EB Games merge, creating the world's largest video game specialty retailer.

January 25, 2006 – Redbox enters into an agreement with Stop & Shop and Giant Foods to install DVD rental kiosks in their supermarkets.

March 27, 2006 – Trans World Entertainment acquires Suncoast Motion Picture Co.

April 2006 – The Video Software Dealers Association merges with the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association and the combined organization renames itself the Entertainment Merchants Association.

April 4, 2006 – MovieLink launches a "download to own" service for major theatrical motion pictures. The service allows consumers to view the movies as often as desired, and the movie can remain on the computer hard-drive indefinitely. Previously, MovieLink had offered major movies only for "rental": they expired 24 hours after viewing began or in 30 days. Brokeback Mountain is the first title available on the new service and is day and date with its DVD release.

April 18, 2006 – Toshiba begins selling the first high-definition DVD players in the U.S. and the first high-definition DVDs in the U.S. are released. The three HD DVD titles are The Last Samarai, The Phantom Of The Opera, and Serenity.

June 20, 2006 – The first Blu-Ray high-definition discs are issued. The titles are: 50 First Dates; The Fifth Element; Hitch; House of Flying Daggers; The Terminator; Underworld – Evolution; and XXX.

July 19, 2006 – CinemaNow launches the first "download to burn DVD" service for major theatrical motion pictures. The 101 titles initially available include About a Boy, Agent Cody Banks, Backdraft, Barbershop, Cry Freedom, High Plains Drifter, I Spy, In Good Company, Scent of a Woman, and a number of independent films and concert DVDs.

November 17, 2006 – Sony's PlayStation3, the first video game console to incorporate a built-in high-definition disc drive, is released in the U.S.

December 22, 2006 – Following a liquidation sale, Tower Records & Video ceases operations.

September 7, 2006 – Amazon launches its Amazon Unbox online video-on-demand service, which would later become Amazon Video on Demand and ultimately Amazon Instant Video.

November 20, 2007 – “Live Free Or Die Hard” is the first home video release to be accompanied by a “digital copy,” a companion disc with a copy of the movie that can be loaded on to personal computer or portable video device for playback.

January 2008 – Apple begins renting movies and television shows through its iTunes service.

January 4, 2008 – Warner Home Video deals what will be the death blow to the HD DVD format when it announces that it would abandon HD DVD and release high-definition videos exclusively on Blu-ray Discs.

February 19, 2008 – The high-definition disc format war ends as Toshiba announces that it will no longer manufacture HD DVD players.

March 12, 2008 – Hulu begins public streaming on content on its online video-on-demand service.

February 2009 – Netflix reaches ten million subscribers.

March 2009 – Circuit City ceases operations.

March 16, 2010 – Monsters Vs. Aliens is the first 3D Blu-ray release.

June 2010 – Hampered by debt it incurred to acquire Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery – which operated more than 4,700 stores at its peak – liquidates its stores and ceases operation, leaving Blockbuster as the sole national brick and mortar rental chain.

September 2010 – Redbox rents its one billionth disc.

Q3 2010 – For the first time, more discs were rented via kiosks than in traditional brick and mortar stores, according to The NPD Group.

November 2010 – Netflix introduces a “streaming only” subscription, for $7.99 per month.

February 2011 – Redbox achieves a 35% market share and becomes the leading renter of discs.

April 6, 2011 – Dish Network acquires Blockbuster, which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2010.

October 2011 – Horrible Bosses from Warner Bros. is the first title released for the cloud-based UltraViolet digital library and Flixster becomes the first Ultraviolet streaming service.

July 2012 – Google Play begins selling movies and television shows online and via Android devices.

November 6, 2013 – DISH Network announces that it is closing all remaining corporate-owned Blockbuster stores. Rentals ceased on November 9, all stores were liquidated by January 12, 2014.


J. Lardener, Fast Forward: Hollywood, The Japanese, and the VCR Wars (1987); F. Wasser, Veni, Vidi, Video: The Hollywood Empire and the VCR (2001); Adams Media Research; Paul Kagan Associates, Inc.; Video Business; Video Store Magazine (now Home Media Magazine);; Blockbuster, Inc.; CinemaNow; Family Video; Hollywood Entertainment, Inc.; Movie Gallery; Netflix, Inc.; redbox;;; "Selling home movies", Los Angeles Times, (July 5, 2005); Stewart, James B., DisneyWar (2005; p. 92).

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