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The State of the Video Industry

19 Mar, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Welcome to another one of my periodic odds 'n' ends columns, a collection of tidbits and anecdotes that every now and then, when I get enough of them, weave a telling tapestry of the state of our humble industry. I've also added my comments — caustic and otherwise:

  • The Sav-On drugstore near our offices in Santa Ana, Calif., has a “Value Center” of budget movies for sale in the front of the store, next to the photo department. It's virtually all public domain stuff. DVDs are $5.99, while videocassettes are $7.99. (Either someone doesn't get it, or those clunky old cassettes are fast becoming collector's items.)

  • Those $5.88 DVD dump bins that for the past two years have appeared in high-traffic aisles at Wal-Mart in time for the Christmas holidays didn't disappear after the first of the year. The last time I checked, they were still there, brimming with discs and eager hands reaching for said discs. (Anyone looking another copy of Young Guns?)

  • Now that Fox has issued three volumes of “Cops” on DVD, what's next? Is the reality TV onslaught about to begin? (I've always wanted to have a copy of “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire.”)

  • Art-house films are becoming a hot commodity on DVD, as suppliers find that even what used to be considered “rental” product can be successfully marketed to DVD collectors. Documentaries are also scoring big on the sales front. Conspicuously absent from the DVD front — or least from my radar—are “how to” titles. How come? (I still remember back to my early days at Video Store Magazine, when we got a screener titled How to Skin a Wild Elk.)

  • Points to ponder: Why don't DVD players have clocks, like VCRs? Is next-generation DVD even going to be called DVD? And is it only me, or is the tape suppliers are sticking on three sides of the DVD package getting stickier, thicker and harder to remove without destroying the case?

Have a good weekend.

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