Something just occurred to me: why isn't there a DVD rental-by-mail service that rents all the foreign movies that come out? Someone will clean up doing that.
I know the mail order DVD rental places will rent foreign movies, but only a few of them. There is a massive trade imbalance with movies: almost every American film made plays around the world, but only a few foreign movies ever make it to North America. Here in Canada, it's even worse- we get all of the American films, but most Canadian films never play in Canada, in spite of the fact that we fund them through taxes! It goes without saying that most Canadian films never make it to America and the ones that do are disguised as American films (Juno, A History of Violence, etc.)
A number of countries have thriving film industries that barely export anything. I was thinking about this while reading this Salon article about a French film from 2008 that is now playing in NYC and online. It's a very positive review and it occurs to me that there are a ton of French movies like this made every year. If you live in North America, however, there are only two ways to see them: 1. Watch the small fraction of French films that get released in North America, or 2. Download them from a file-sharing site. And it's the same with Japanese films, German films, Spanish movies, etc. etc. You have to get a multi-region player and find an ethnic importer store.
So, it seems to me that, were there a distributor who rented the movies through the mail in the North American region format, they'd corner an untapped market and make a lot of money. Am I right?