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A DVD in Every Pot

22 Jul, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

If there was one thing that struck me the most at the recent Video Software Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas, it was this: In the new DVD-dominated sellthrough universe, there's product for everyone — regardless of how niche.

I saw a supplier that specializes in exploitation films and another that releases only live music videos of reggae concerts. Then, back in the office, I got a series of DVDs that, according to the cover, promise to “transform your TV screen into an art gallery, and your room into a symphony hall.” I also got a screener for a kitesurfing video, whatever that is.

This just underscored my already-brewing contention that DVDs are becoming the paperbacks of the 2000s. You can buy all the hits, but you can also buy all sorts of specialized product. Granted, there has always been a special-interest market on video, even back in the VHS days (I remember laughing all day when I got a press release in 1991 or 1992 for a video titled, no lie, How to Butcher a Wild Elk.)

But the cheaper production costs of DVD and the format's inherent collectability have taken special-interest to a whole new level of exposure and visibility, and the emergence of online sellers like Amazon.com with unlimited cyber-shelf space have brought this product out from the back pages of obscure catalogs and well within reach of mainstream America.

My oldest son, Justin, is in surf camp this week. Last night, his instructor came by the house with a DVD, wondering if I might be able to help him find a distributor. I took a look at it. It's really pretty good. And you know what? I just might be able to help.

I wonder if there's a way for me to key into this market. Perhaps a reality show starring me? What would I do? Maybe I'll butcher a wild elk.

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