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10 Things I Hate About the Video Industry

14 Nov, 2003 By: Thomas K. Arnold

While organizing my DVD collection, I came across a screener of the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You. And the way my mind works, that got me thinking about 10 things I hate about our business.

Here, in no particular order, are what I consider the 10 most annoying, aggravating or downright stupid things about our business. I'd love to hear your feedback:

1. Generally sensible industry folk who keep telling me not to write off the videocassette, that VHS still has a lot of life left in it. I'm sorry, VHS is so over. It was a flawed technology to begin with, sort of like 8-track, and I'm glad it's gone. I wish the studios would make it so the nimrods who haven't yet bought a DVD player will have no choice but to make the switch.

2. The word “prebook.” What the hell is this supposed to mean? It never made sense to me. Say “orders are due” or even “booking deadline,” but stop making up words. It's like preboarding on airplanes — either you're boarding a plane or you're not. Preboarding might mean going to the bathroom before you board, but that's about it — just like prebooking could mean poring over a sell sheet (or our National Buying Guide) to decide if you want to buy or not.

3. DVD-Audio. Enough already. Nobody wants it. Concede defeat and put the poor thing out of its misery.

4. Three sides of tapes on my DVDs. Why don't you guys just slap on a lock and give me a key? And I thought the plastic wrap on CDs was annoying…

5. Odd-sized DVD packages for boxed sets. Gee, the last thing I need is a huge box that takes up half my bookshelf. Is that really what you want — me to run out of space so I can't buy more DVDs?

6. Full-frame DVD editions. With the new generation of TVs getting wider and existing models selling far more big-screen units, there's really no need to lop off the sides of a movie anymore.

7. “Special feature” listings on DVD packages that include givens like “subtitles” and “menus.” Save this space for three or four really cool extras and trash the rest.

8. Limited-play discs. Didn't Divx teach us all a lesson? EZ-D might be a wonderful technology, maybe for video games, but certainly not for movies. Who's going to rent one of these flimsy disposable things for $6.99 when you can buy a vast assortment of quality catalog titles for even less at any Wal-Mart or Best Buy?

9. Retailers who blame all their woes on Blockbuster and the studios. All right, so everyone needs a boogieman. But I'm getting a little tired of hearing Blockbuster this and the studios that, when many of the problems indie rentailers face just might be due to their own business acumen, or lack thereof.

10. Warner's cardboard Snapper. I've written about this enough for you to know exactly why I hate it.

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