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Ailish O’Hora: Xtra-Vision falls foul of internet and recession

LIKE many traditional business models, the face of home entertainment is rapidly changing from a mainstream one to an internet-based one.

So it is no big surprise that Xtra-Vision has gone into receivership as internet services like Netflix. Amazon's LoveFilm and iTunes take centre stage.

Illegal digital downloads, high rents and declining trade also conspired against the company over the past few years.

And It had already morphed itself from a basic DVD sales service to a seller of electronic goods like smart phones.

But it wasn’t enough.

It’s not so long ago that there was a Xtra-Vision, or smaller equivalent, in nearly every town in the country and the company employed thousands of people.

But it seems the love affair between the consumer and the digital age is intensifying by the day and many businesses are struggling to keep up with the pace of chance.

In addition, the Irish market is much smaller than many others and Xtra-Vision also suffered as a result of the downturn in consumer spending as the recession took hold.

For example, chain Blockbusters was sold in the UK earlier this year saving 2,000 jobs and 264 stores.

Up until recently Xtra-Vision had been closing a number of stores and was lining up a significant new investment in a digital strategy.

But the interent waits for no one, as many businesses have discovered in the recent past.

Xtra-Vision fact box:

1979 Xtra-Vision founded by Richard Murphy.

1996 Xtra-Vision bought and run by US company Blockbuster but remained under Xtra-vision branding.

2009 Blockbuster sells off operations here to Irish investment group Birchhall Investments.

May 2011 Xtra-Vision goes into examinership and exits successfully.

April 2013 Company goes into receivership.

Online Editors