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Local Video Stores Hope to Capitalize on Netflix Hike

Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News
Austin's-based video store I Luv Video hopes to cash in on Netflix's DVD rental price hike through local loyalty and more spur-of-the-moment business.

Netflix customers received an email yesterday explaining a new pricing system. Starting Sept. 1 customers will have to opt to receive unlimited DVDs by mail for $7.99 or unlimited streaming for the same price. If you want both you’ll now have to pay $15.98, which is a 60% increase from the current cost.

The announcement has many customers reeling all through the blogosphere. But it's music to the ears of local video stores, like I Luv Video.

William Clark Wilson is a manager at I Luv Video. He expect to recapture some customers who left I Luv Video for Netflix. But he adds that Netflix and I Luv Videos offer slightly different services that appeal to different types of people. According to Wilson, I Luv Video always retained a certain kind of customer.

“They like the idea of supporting a local business, or they like being able to come in and look and make decisions based on what pops up in front of them,” Wilson said. “Or they just like having somewhere to hang out.”

He added that I Luv Video is open late (3 a.m on Fridays and Saturdays) so it’s good for people who are night owls, impulsive, or looking for something to do – the kind of people who probably don’t like waiting for DVDs in the mail.

He figures the Netflix price change shouldn’t impact the actions of those typical core customers too much.

Kelsey Sheridan is a news intern at KUT. She currently studies religion and journalism at Northwestern University.