Three video stores have closed in Tauranga and at least two have moved locations in recent months, but owners say the market for movie rentals remains strong.

Video Ezy Brookfield, which had been at Brookfield Shopping Centre for at least 15 years, closed its doors on February 26. Family-owned Video Ezy Bayfair closed on January 20 and Welcome Bay Video & Lotto shut up shop just before Christmas.

Owner of one of the city's largest stores, Mike Shepherd, who has been in the industry for more than 20 years, recently shifted his United Video store out of Fraser Cove Shopping Centre to a nearby premise on Fraser St.

He said the industry was changing nationwide and owners had to find ways to keep overheads down and diversify.


He believes there is still a good market for movie rentals, but times are "a changing".

"To go down as a family, pick a movie and go home and enjoy it, the entertainment value's still there. It's an affordable home entertainment."

While some movie watchers would shift to online options, others were keen to continue visiting a rental store, he said.

"There's always been the core market and there'll always be the core market that don't want to, or don't know how to [use online], or just enjoy the fact that they can come to the retail store."

Video games were still an important part of the business and TV series, including box sets, were also increasingly popular.

"There's no doubt about it, it's a changing industry, but still a good one."

Late last year Carol Goldsworthy relocated her United Video franchise from a large store at Fashion Island to a smaller site at Papamoa Plaza, hoping to buy herself another three years in the industry.

Brookfield Video Ezy owner Stephen Healey could not be contacted for comment this week but told the Bay of Plenty Times in August last year that times were "certainly tough".


He blamed illegal internet downloading of movies and the Government's "laughable" copyright legislation for killing off his market.

Travis Ross fulfilled a lifelong dream to own a video store when he merged his business - Civic Mags, Cards & Lotto - with Civic Video on Cameron Rd five months ago. He trades from the original Civic Video store between 16th and 17th Aves. "It's diversified my business and the video business, they actually both kind of gel well together," he said.

The move to the high foot-traffic location, with better parking had proved successful and Mr Ross was looking forward to the winter months when movie rentals were more popular as an entertainment option.

"There will always be that market that like to belong to their local video shop," he said.

"The prices are still competitive with online."

Mr Ross planned to stay in the movie business for five to 10 years.

Video Ezy national franchise business manager Stuart Howard said busy stores at Bethlehem Town Centre and Greerton Shopping Centre would now be hoping to pick up the customers from closed stores at Brookfield and Bayfair.

While Smart TV was seeing the online movie market continue to grow, physical discs would be around for a long time still, he said.

"The online movies are one option but still a very small part of the overall picture. The rental industry in New Zealand is 90 million a year. The sale of physical discs is still fairly strong. There's a huge proportion of the public that believe something physical in your hand is important."