Alphaville Closing

News Brief: Sept. 2010

After 13 years, international video rental shop Alphaville in the Schleifmühlgasse in Vienna’s 5th District will be closing. Started in 1997, by current owners Norman Shetler’s and Georg Schneider as a collection of about 2,000 VHS cassettes, it rapidly became a center for Viennese film lovers. The shop specialized in foreign language films, dominated by English language movies but included films in French, Italian, Spanish and other languages.

At their opening, “we didn’t think that we would exist for more than 5 years,” Schneider recalled, “and certainly never that Alphaville would become an institution in the cultural life of Vienna.”

More recently, radical changes in the video-and media rental business, including increased competition from other rental shops, and illegal as well as legal digital channels have taken a toll on the business, and Shetler and Schneider decided to close, a step they say “was not easy for [them]”.

Alphaville begins to sell the more than 13,000 DVDs on Sept. 1, while the rental of those that remain will continue until the beginning of November, when the shop will close for good.

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