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What a Long, Strange Trip

28 Sep, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

As our 30th anniversary comes upon us, it’s hard to believe we’ve been around that long, but we’ve grown up with the home entertainment industry and, quite honestly, it’s hard to imagine life before home video.

I vaguely remember looking forward to network television’s annual showing of The Wizard of Oz, but that’s about it. For as long as I can consciously remember, watching a movie on TV has meant sticking a videocassette or DVD into a set-top box. And while I was already 20 when the first VCR arrived in stores, it’s hard for me to even imagine a time when I could not control what I was watching on TV.

It’s also hard for me to imagine life before Home Media Magazine. I’ve been with this publication for nearly 18 years, and I had been freelancing for what was then Video Store Magazine since 1988. My first story: a feature on how retailers could get co-op funds from studios.

Overall, life here has been good for me. It’s been challenging at times, probably never more so than now, with the troubled economy, slumping DVD sales and a general malaise among the print business. But it’s also been interesting, invigorating and inclusive. I don’t consider myself an outsider looking in, the way some journalists do. Rather, I feel as though I am part of the industry I cover. Sure, I have a vested interest in its success, but it goes beyond that. It’s not just business, it’s personal. When an executive or publicist I’ve known for more than a decade loses his job, I feel his pain. I want to help. And when someone I have known for years lands a great new job or gets a well-deserved promotion, I share in his joy. I want to celebrate.

This is my work. But the people with whom I’ve dealt for so many years — they’re more like my family.

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