Online subscription services for video rentals nearly doubled their share of the total rental market in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to research firm the NPD Group.

Online subscription services for video rentals nearly doubled their share of the total rental market in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to research firm the NPD Group.

Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group says services such as Netflix and Blockbuster Online accounted for 8% of the total rental market in the third quarter and 15% in the fourth quarter.

Netflix had 97% of the online subscription rental market in the third quarter, and 85% in the fourth quarter. After Blockbuster introduced its service last summer, it attained an 11% market share by the fourth quarter.

The NPD Group says most online subscription consumers have higher educations and incomes than other consumers.

In-store rentals declined 6% from fourth-quarter 2003 to fourth-quarter 2004.

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