Why are dvd companies still make rental copies?

I was in a video store the other day…

(The fact that many of you are amazed to find out that there are still some video stores left in business is a prelude to my question.)

…and I saw they had some recent dvd’s that were marked as rental copies. For those who don’t remember (or never knew) these are special dvd’s that are rented at video stores rather than bought new. They’re basically the same movie as the regular version but they lack any of the special features that the regular version might have. So think of them as a stripped down version of the dvd.

I’m not a hundred percent sure why these existed in the first place. Were video stores able to buy them for less than the regular copies?

But with the massive die-off of the video store business, why are dvd companies still bothering to make these special editions? There are only around two thousand video stores left in the country. It doesn’t seem like such a small customer base can justify the expense of making a separate edition for them.

Video rental stores might be dead but Red Box is alive and booming.

As is the Netflix DVD-by-mail service, from which I regularly receive rental copies of newly released movies.

And looking at the rental copies I’ve seen, they appear to be very cheap to produce, with only monochrome cover art.