13 August, 2009

IS THE THE DVD ERA COMING TO AN END?


Vintage OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES VHS...

I keep advising a friend who has amassed a sizable vintage VHS collection over the last three decades to transfer them to DVD-R before they are gone forever. He keeps resisting and he may have a point. These oversized box/Mom n' Pop video store/grey market treasures may be the real deal when the inevitable end comes to the present DVD era. The end may already be in sight.

A few weeks ago a fascinating article in TIME magazine on the impact of NETFLIX on DVD buyer's habits and on popular culture in general caught my eye. TIME movie critic Richard Corliss laments the passing of the likes of Kim's Video in Manhattan while noting that DVD sales have dropped by nearly 20% in the first half of 2009. At the same time NETFLIX rentals have surged. People may be going out to see movies in theaters more often but they are purchasing fewer DVD's and renting more. He speculates that we are possibly at the end of the DVD era and heading into a Streaming Video era, where movies will be delivered on the Internet and TV through cable providers and Internet hookups. In fact, it's already happening. You can download just about anything off the Internet, including legitimately released DVD content. This has to be hurting sales. You can download movies that have never been on video or DVD anywhere. You can even download movies currently playing at your local multiplex.

I tend to think he has a point. DVD's will be around for some time but people have less disposable income in the wake of the economic downturn and would rather rent or download content out of economic necessity. I can't blame them. It's free and easy. It's only a matter of time before it all becomes Corporate. Market value may be damned, but it is rarely ignored.

We've seen the end of the VHS/Mom and Pop Video store era (and I really miss those venues), the coming and going of Laser discs. I'm buying fewer DVD's myself, but I still don't plan to get into frequent downloading or streaming video or increase my mainstream movie going.

But I do wonder what the DVD landscape will look like, say, five years from now. Will Blu-ray DVD be booming or struggling. If people can't afford regular DVD's...

I'm going to appreciate my own collection of vintage VHS more.





10 comments:

Sehnzeleid said...

I wholeheartedly agree, even though transferring VHS to DVD-R isn't a bad idea. Doing it with the intent to sell them off afterward is madness in my opinion. There's really a magic to VHS that's most much ground with the horror mavens of today and that's sad. Horror and VHS grew up together in a way, so hanging on to (and continuing to collect) vintage horror tapes is a portal to respect the genre in a curious way. Plus if we don't save 'em, they'll end up lost for good in a landfill.

Sehnzeleid said...

Also here's a picture of my copy of Filmland's U.S. Oasis of the Zombies clamshell VHS to accompany your Japanese tape:

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/4551/img2945y.jpg

Ninja Dixon said...

I was collecting vhs for many, many years - and still has a huge collection. But I see now magic in them. Just bad quality, taking up to much space and so on. It's all about nostalgia. And betamax was better anyway.

For me the most important thing is the MOVIE. What's it recorded on is more or less important.

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I agree. I have a few Franco Big Boxes that I will never get rid of. Hell, I even have Cruise Missile and Vice Squad in their original boxes. These are treasures in my collection and I would never get rid of them. I'm much less attached to my DVD collection. Well, with the exception of my 8 pack Jess Franco Erwin Dietrich Box Set.

dfordoom said...

I think the end of the DVD era will be a disaster for cult movie fans. I detest digital downloads and streaming video. I want to own the movie. I want to be able to watch it again whenever I want to. That's what being a serious movie fan is all about.

The main problem with DVD is that new release movies on DVD are absurdly over-priced, which is why rentals are booming. I don't watch new release movies so it doesn't bother me all that much. I just hope Blu-Ray dies, which will give DVD a new lease on life.

Robert Monell said...

me the most important thing is the MOVIE

Good point, Ninja!

Robert Monell said...

There's really a magic to VHS that's most much ground with the horror mavens of today and that's sad. Horror and VHS grew up together in a way, so hanging on to (and continuing to collect) vintage horror tapes is a portal to respect the genre in a curious way. Plus if we don't save 'em, they'll end up lost for good in a landfill.

I kinda miss that magic of the old VHS era when everything was popping up in now-extinct stores.

Robert Monell said...

I'm much less attached to my DVD collection.

Same with me, Doug.

Robert Monell said...

The main problem with DVD is that new release movies on DVD are absurdly over-priced, which is why rentals are booming. I don't watch new release movies so it doesn't bother me all that much. I just hope Blu-Ray dies, which will give DVD a new lease on life.

I agree with that. Blu-ray is really way over priced and it is hurting the DVD market in the economic downturn.

dfordoom said...

My great fear is that Blu-Ray will lead to a loss of diversity, that fewer movies will be availble on disc. Apparently the number of movies released on DVD is only about half the number that were released on VHS, and I suspect thay only fraction of the films that are out on DVD will ever make it to Blu-Ray. And even if DVD survives, as you say, Blu-Ray is hurting DVD sales.