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Thirty Years of Coverage

28 Sep, 2009 By: Staff Reports


• Publishing veteran Stuart Karl launches Video Store Magazine in July 1979. The magazine focuses as heavily on hardware as software because retailers are just beginning to establish both VHS and Betamax. The magazine is soon acquired by Hester Communications, a small Orange County, Calif., publishing firm.

• At the July Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, the home video industry makes its debut on the national stage. Video Store Magazine is on hand to poll retailers about the biggest problems they face in the business today. “All expressed either confusion, frustration, resignation or downright anger about problems ranging from product availability, pricing and ‘the arrogance and aloofness by the manufacturing giants,’” the magazine writes.
• The debate over sale versus rental rages. James Jimiro of Walt Disney Productions and Gerald Philips of United Artists opt for rental only, while 20th Century Fox’s Steven Roberts and Andre Blay of Magnetic Video say rental will be short-lived. Blay foresees movies being sold only on discs at an affordable price.
• The ongoing format battle between Betamax and VHS is a hot topic.
• MCA announces plans to get into the video industry after sitting on the sidelines during the VHS and Betamax wars. MCA says it will release a dozen videos from Universal Studios sometime during the spring.
• With 1979 drawing to a close, industry leaders offer their predictions on how the business will evolve during the 1980s. Among the predictions are that “VCRs will be in 30% to 50% of color-TV homes in 10 years, and 25 million to 40 million will be in use by the end of the decade.”


• Two major manufacturers reach a format accord on the video disc when Victor Co. of Japan Ltd. (known in the United States as JVC) and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) adopt JVC’s system for production. Meanwhile, manufacturers of laserdisc players begin rolling out their new product in test markets throughout the United States, with Pioneer pricing its players as low as $750.
• The A.C. Nielsen Media Research Group releases its first report on the video industry. It estimates the installed base at 1 million units and household penetration at 1% to 2%. Classic films accounted for 41% of video purchases, with adult titles generating 25% of sales.
• MGM Film Co. and CBS form a joint venture to market videos both domestically and abroad. MGM/CBS Home Video plans to mine MGM’s 1,600-film library and television programming from CBS.
“It has been estimated that within 10 years, this field will represent a multibillion-dollar industry,” says CBS Video Enterprises president Cy Leslie.
• Walt Disney Productions enters the video market in both sales and rentals. Titles such as Davy Crockett, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Black Hole are announced as upcoming releases. The company also introduces a new rental program on 10 titles, the first of its kind in the industry, whereby retailers can lease a title for 13 weeks or buy it for a separate sales price.

• Stuart Karl steps down as VSM publisher in 1980. He later goes on to make video history by producing the Jane Fonda workout tapes.

• Columbia Pictures Industries follows Disney’s lead and introduces  a lease program. Warner rents videos to stores for $8.25 per week and lowers the rental rate to $4.40 after the sixth week.
• The International Tape/Disc Association’s Golden Videocassette Award goes to eight titles that reached $1 million in sales in 1981. Award winners include Last Tango in Paris, Raging Bull, Fiddler on the Roof, Breaking Away and Casablanca.
• The era of public chains begins when National Video Corp. of Los Angeles announces that its common stock will be trading over the counter.

• MGM/CBS Video enters the rental arena with its “First Run Home Video Theater” program. The terms of the program call for new releases to be leased for $60 for four months.
• Warner Home Video alters its video leasing program to make it more appealing to retailers. Under the new “Dealer’s Choice” plan, retailers can lease titles for $22 for the initial four weeks and at a lower price for subsequent four-week cycles.
• The Mathias Amendment, which would exempt video from the First Sale Doctrine, is being considered by Congress. Retailers oppose the move that would give studios the right to decide whether movies on video can be rented.
• Magnetic Video is absorbed by Fox and changes its name to 20th Century Fox Video.
Video Store Magazine reports on the first-ever VSDA convention, held in Dallas Aug. 29 to Sept. 3. More than 250 suppliers, distributors and retailers turn out for the event. Highlights include Paramount Home Video’s announcement that it will release Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at the low price of $39.95. Also of note is a Nielsen survey that shows Betamax is fading fast in the format war, with VHS capturing 72% of the market.
• The workout video becomes popular when Jane Fonda’s Workout Tape tops the bestseller list. That first and most successful fitness video line was founded by Stuart Karl, who left Video Store Magazine to launch Karl Home Video. The title would become the first nontheatrical home video title to sell more than 100,000 units.

• Opposition to exemption from the First Sale Doctrine (giving retailers the right to rent videos they buy) continues to build. 
• The VSDA joins the First Sale Doctrine fight and organizes a lobby to defeat the bill that would amend it. “The right of First Sale is absolutely a life-or-death issue for 95% of our members,” says VSDA president Frank Barnako.
• National Video president Ron Berger launches his controversial “Pay-Per-Transaction” plan in eight of the chain’s 240 franchised stores. Under the plan, stores get videos for free and return 40% of their rental income to National Video (later to become Rentrak). Berger says he hopes to make the plan an industrywide standard.
• The second annual VSDA convention is held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and attracts 450 retailers. “The big issue, as you would expect, was First Sale,” Video Store Magazine reported.
• Paramount Home Video sets a new industry sales mark when it ships 300,000 copies of Raiders of the Lost Ark to retailers.

• The first big retailer boom hits the industry, with stores opening at a breakneck pace. According to Video Store Magazine, hit videos such as Flashdance and Raiders of the Lost Ark are driving demand, and distributors and suppliers for the first time are having trouble filling orders for the growing ranks of retailers.
• Intense lobbying from video retailers causes a delay in a vote on the amendment to the First Sale Doctrine bill. The Senate copyright subcommittee is unable to assemble a quorum to vote on the bill because many members are still considering the issues. Congress eventually allows First Sale for video.
• The death knell sounds for the RCA’s CED video disc format. RCA chief Jack Sauter blames the growing penetration of VCRs and their plummeting price (down to $300) for the failure of the video disc.
• The rapid growth of the industry is reflected in attendance at the third annual VSDA convention in Las Vegas. More than 2,000 people attend the event, four times as many as the previous year, and for the first time, the show attracts celebrities such as Bo Derek, Henry Winkler and Raquel Welch. Speakers include Francis Ford Coppola.

VSM publishes an inaugural Top 100 report of leading retailers and does so through 2004. Video Station of Santa Monica, Calif., with 500 stores tops the list. Ron Berger’s 286-store National Video of Portland, Ore., is second.
• Meanwhile, VSM owner Hester Communications is bought by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publications. Several years later, HBJ Publications becomes Edgell Communications in a leveraged buyout.

• The first big retail merger takes place when National Video buys the 35-store Video Galore chain of Lafayette, La.
• Macrovision develops a new anti-copying process that prevents pirates from duplicating videos.

• Dallas businessman David Cook introduces a new idea to the industry with ready-made video stores. Cook’s Blockbuster Video chain offers to ship all the components needed to open a store to any investor.  “We sell video stores in the same way that Coca-Cola would license a distributorship,” he says.

• Former trash-hauling magnate H. Wayne Huizenga and his investment group buy controlling interest of Blockbuster Video from founder David Cook and set off on an ambitious expansion plan that will take the chain national in a few months.

• Walt Disney Home Video heads its 35-title holiday release package with Cinderella and backs it with a $25 million advertising campaign. The recent success of Lady and the Tramp encourages Disney to stake its claim as the industrywide sellthrough leader.
• The video game industry starts to become a big revenue generator for retailers with the introduction of a new generation of high-tech games. Leading the way are Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda and Sega’s Afterburner.
• Blockbuster Video ousts Erol’s as the top revenue-generating chain in the country in Video Store Magazine’s Top 100. The chain numbers 289 company-owned stores.

• The VSDA and Nintendo are at odds over legislation pending in the House Judiciary Committee that could cripple the lucrative video game rental business.
• A record turnout of 14,600 converge on Las Vegas for the eighth annual VSDA convention. Ted Turner delivers the keynote speech and Steven Spielberg is honored as video’s “Man of the Decade.”
• The industry is shocked by the shooting death of LIVE Entertainment chief Jose Menendez, who built the company into an independent entertainment powerhouse. Menendez and his wife were killed in their home by unknown assailants who later turn out to be their sons, Lyle and Eric.

• Blockbuster ends the year on top once again, increasing its store count by more than 50% and ending 1990 with 1,525 stores and $1.2 billion in revenue.


VSM founder Stuart Karl passes away from cancer in August 1991.

• Former No. 1 chain Erol’s finally goes under as Blockbuster Video buys it for $40 million. The video chain acquisition is the largest ever.
• The sellthrough era hits its stride when Fox Video announces plans to release Home Alone for $24.98.
• The Persian Gulf War and subsequent recession sparks a shakeout in the home video retail ranks. Video Store Magazine estimates 2,000 stores went out of business between 1989 and 1991.

• Buena Vista Home Video sets a new sellthrough record when it ships more than 14 million units of Fantasia. The figure beats the old mark of 13 million set by E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial.
• Retailers are in an uproar over the announcement that Dances With Wolves will be available at McDonald’s for $5.99 with the purchase of a meal. The move is lambasted for devaluing video.
• Debuting on Video Store Magazine’s Top 100 is Movie Gallery of Dothan, Ala., with 54 stores throughout the Southeast.

• With its first issue of 1992, VSM becomes a weekly publication. The magazine’s parent company, Edgell Communications, emerges from Chapter 11, becoming Advanstar Communications.
• Longtime contributor Thomas K. Arnold joins the VSM staff as senior editor. He would be promoted to editor in November 1993, eventually becoming editorial director and, in October 2006, publisher.

• Blockbuster branches out by buying a 50% share of Spelling Entertainment.
• Hollywood Entertainment Corp. of Wilsonville, Ore., takes the money from its sold-out public offering and starts to grow.
• Disney scores another huge hit with Aladdin, which sells 16 million units to become the top shipper of all time up to that point.

• After the July 1993 VSDA confab, VSM emerges as a tabloid-sized publication.

• Blockbuster merges with cable TV giant Viacom Inc. in an $8.4 billion deal. The move helps Viacom buy a controlling stake in Paramount.
• Disney’s Buena Vista Home Video announces plans to launch a line of direct-to-video animated titles. The first is The Return of Jafar, a sequel to Aladdin that ends up selling more than 10 million units — a direct-to-video record.
• A crowd of 14,000, the second-biggest ever, attends the 13th annual VSDA convention in Las Vegas.

VSM publishes its first series of “show dailies” at the 1994 VSDA (now EMA) convention, a practice that continues through 2008.

• Movie Gallery announces plans to acquire 43 new outlets, bringing its store count to 340 locations in nine Southeastern states.
• The digital versatile disc (DVD) makes news as Sony Corp. and Philips Consumer Electronics begin a battle over the disc format. Toshiba Corp. and Time Warner join the battle — Sony and Philips call for a one-sided disc while Toshiba and Time Warner want two-sided.
• Buena Vista Home Video’s The Lion King sets a sales record, moving an estimated 28 million units.
• DVD’s U.S. launch is still two years away, but already Paul Kagan Associates predicts the new format could become a $6 billion business by 2000.
• Make way for revenue-sharing — Blockbuster suggests to major studios a plan for ‘A’ titles, claiming it will help boost profits and keep an abundance of titles in stock.
• Toshiba plans to unveil its new DVD player in the United States instead of Japan, hoping for a September 1996 debut.

VSM launches a dedicated sellthrough section in 1995, spearheaded by editor Stephanie Prange.

• Former Wal-Mart chief Bill Fields is tapped by Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone to take the helm of Blockbuster Video, replacing Steve Berrard.
• A crowd of 13,600 visits Los Angeles for the annual VSDA convention — which many consider a high point for the show as the studios host spectacular parties.
• Blockbuster deals a blow to its distributor, ETD, with its decision to go direct with major studios and independent suppliers.
• Blockbuster announces the move of its headquarters from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Dallas.
• DVD finally bows in Japan as Warner releases four titles: Assassins, The Fugitive, Eraser and the director’s cut of Blade Runner.

VSM goes online with its own Web site in 1996. Today, HomeMediaMagazine.com offers news, reviews, commentary and videos about home entertainment.

• Warner Home Video uses the Winter Consumer Electronics Show to make the first domestic DVD software announcement: a day-and-date VHS and DVD release of Space Jam. Meanwhile, DVD hardware begins seeping into the market as the first players arrive in stores, bearing a ticket price of $600.
• Warner Home Video introduces the first DVD titles in the United States in a seven-city test launch. Meanwhile, Warner president Warren Lieberfarb blasts the other major studios for not supporting DVD.
• Blockbuster rocks the industry with the sudden departure of Bill Fields, which comes on the heels of a report that earnings for the first quarter will be down a staggering 15% from the first quarter of 1996. Blockbuster hires ex-Taco Bell chief John Antioco to take over the troubled video retail chain.
• The annual VSDA convention returns to Las Vegas and draws an estimated 12,000 attendees. Big news at the convention involves the mysterious DVD variant, Divx.
• Warner goes national with DVD distribution, and other studios follow suit. By the end of the month, the discs are in more than 7,000 stores.
• Rumors spread that troubled Blockbuster is negotiating direct revenue-sharing deals with one or more of the major studios.
• Controversial DVD offshoot Divx gets real with the announcement by Circuit City CEO Richard Sharp that the pay-per-play variant has the support of four major studios. Circuit City owns two-thirds of Divx.
• Warner Home Video announces an ambitious copy-depth program designed to help retailers bring in more copies of the hits. The “Profit Plus” program rewards retailers with 20% more units if they meet buying goals.

• “Copy depth” is the buzz word early in the year. Columbia TriStar Home Video rolls out a “copy maximization” program for spring releases that is similarly structured to Warner’s Profit Plus. Warner, meanwhile, readies “Profit Plus II,” while Buena Vista says it is in the “final throes” of developing a new revenue-sharing program that will be available to all retailers through traditional distribution.
• Independent retailers complain about being hurt by “price wars” between Blockbuster and Hollywood Entertainment. They also say the two big chains are using direct revenue-sharing deals with studios to guarantee a ready supply of the hits and thus build market share.
• Blockbuster, which is now widely believed to have revenue-sharing deals in place with most of the major studios, cuts a deal with Rentrak Corp. so it can buy product on a revenue-sharing basis from other suppliers as well.
• Chicago-based Independent Video Retailers Group announces plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against the chains and studios.
• The Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association stops tracking sales of laserdisc players after 13 years due to rapidly declining sales.
• Divx debuts in Circuit City stores.
• Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone fuels widespread speculation that Blockbuster has  negotiated “sweet--heart” direct revenue-sharing deals with the studios when he tells Forbes magazine that “today, roughly speaking, we pay zero to $7 a tape.”
n Hollywood Entertainment gets into the fledgling e-commerce business when it shells out $100 million to acquire online video retailer
• DVD hits a milestone when manufacturers ship the 1 millionth DVD player into the market.

VSM launches a dedicated DVD section in 1998.

• Blockbuster announces plans for an initial public offering sometime in the second quarter of 1999.
• Independent retailers file an antitrust lawsuit in a Texas court against Blockbuster and the studios. They go to court in 2002, but lose.
• A new Paul Kagan Associates study says DVD sellthrough will grow to double the size of the rental business by 2009.
• Walt Disney Motion Picture chief Dick Cook is tapped to run Buena Vista Home Entertainment after it fails to meet revenue expectations.

• Sony announces its much-anticipated PlayStation 2 game system will hit U.S. retail shelves Oct. 26.
• Hollywood Entertainment, parent of No. 2 rental chain Hollywood Video, racks up more losses from its recently shuttered online division, Reel.com.
• Universal Studios Home Entertainment's Craig Kornblau says special features are an “absolute requirement” for the success of DVD.
• Analysts say DVD sellthrough — not rental — is the star of the year.

• A judge denies class certification to retail plaintiffs claiming predatory pricing by Blockbuster and seven studios.
• Warner Home Video president Warren Lieberfarb urges the cable industry to work with studios, saying VOD is superior to VHS.
• The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks contribute to a temporary rental surge as consumers stay home.

• Studios say consumers spent $12.5 billion in the year buying new-release titles on DVD.
• Studio-supported Movielink bows, aiming to offer new-release titles over the Internet.
• Despite the growth of sellthrough, rental revenue dips just 3%, according to the studios.
• Warner Home Video president Warren Lieberfarb is abruptly fired at the end of the year. Within days, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Pat Wyatt exits, and Eric Doctorow, president of Paramount Pictures, is removed from his post after 20 years.

• With the first-ever Home Entertainment Summit, DVD at 5, VSM launches its conferences initiative in 2002.

• The TV DVD business starts to take off, with Adams Media Research saying sales of TV DVD product will top $1 billion for the year.
• Studios say the average U.S. household bought 12 DVD movies, compared to nine in 2002.
• A judge tosses the last remnants of a lawsuit filed by independent video dealers against Blockbuster and the studios alleging price fixing.
• Disney bows MovieBeam, a proprietary set-top box that offers movies, bypassing cable; its home video arm begins testing Flexplay disposable discs.
• Online DVD rental service Netflix says it has more than 1 million subscribers.

VSM holds the first TV DVD conference in October 2003.

• Tower Records and Video files bankruptcy.
• Viacom spins off Blockbuster, saddling the No. 1 DVD rental service with nearly $800 million in debt.
• DVD sellthrough begins to mature as top titles fail to meet sales expectations.
• Blockbuster launches a used-DVD trading program in which customers can receive store credit; independent rentailers up the offer to cash.
• Studios take sides on the burgeoning format war, with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (and MGM acquisition) and Buena Vista Home Entertainment throwing support for Blu-ray Disc, while Warner Home Video, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment side with HD DVD.

• VideoScan says DVD unit sales in the year increased 5.9% from 2004 while revenue declined.
• CE manufactures and studios ratchet up the volume on their cases for Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD, while critics contend the format war is turning off consumers.
• Blockbuster bows Total Access (with Jessica Simpson as an honorary first member), which allows consumers to rent online and return in-store for new titles.

VSM begins 2005 by changing its name to Home Media Retailing. In May, HMR is among several publications that splits from Advanstar to form the new Questex Media Group. In June, HMR devotes a weekly section to TV DVD. Also in June, the fourth DVD Summit hosts the first annual DVD Critics Awards.

• Studios began offering digital copies of their movies day-and-date with DVD on download sites CinemaNow and Movielink.
• Genius Products reinvents itself by inking an exclusive home video distribution deal for all new releases from The Weinstein Co.
• Musicland and Tower Records and Video shutter operations permanently.

• In 2006 HMR launches a daily e-newsletter; a weekly digital edition; the consumer magazine Agent DVD for distribution at San Diego Comic-Con International; and regular sections for High-Def and Electronic Delivery.
• Stephanie Prange becomes editor in chief in March, and Thomas K. Arnold publisher in October, while maintaining his position as editorial director.

• Move Gallery continues to incur heavy losses from its $1.1 billion acquisition of Hollywood Video as it struggles to sustain operations. Stocks plummet to penny status as investors flee.

• Recognizing a broader audience than retailers, the magazine changes its name to Home Media Magazine in 2007.

• Warner, New Line and HBO support Blu-ray early in the year. Toshiba officially pulls the plug on HD DVD in February.
• The anticipated slowdown in packaged-media sales proves to be just 2% in 2007, according to DEG.
• Blu-ray supporters bask at the annual CES trade show, touting players and new partners while stunned HD DVD backers abandon their booth and events they had planned.
• Redbox says it rented its 100 millionth DVD.
• Time Warner pulls the plug on New Line Cinema, including New Line Home Entertainment, and folds them into Warner Home Video.
• Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says Warner Bros. will begin releasing the majority of its titles on cable VOD the same day as DVD.
• Apple’s iTunes begins offering electronic sellthrough of movies from most major studios on the same day as the DVD release.
• Netflix formally bows its proprietary $99 streaming set-top box from Roku.
• Wal-Mart introduces a Magnavox Blu-ray player for $298, the cheapest player available at retail.
• Blockbuster rolls out 50 branded Blockbuster Express DVD rental kiosks and announces plans for as many as 10,000 more before the end of 2009.
• RealNetworks files a pre-emptive federal lawsuit against the major studios and the DVD Copy Control Association, seeking to have its commercial DVD-copying software approved.
• Blockbuster enters the VOD set-top box game, with chairman and CEO Jim Keyes announcing the company’s new digital-delivery box will deliver Movielink (renamed Blockbuster On Demand) titles to the TV.
• Circuit City files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
• Sonic Solutions agrees to buy CinemaNow for $3 million.

• Studios are slammed as Disney, News Corp. and Time Warner all report plummeting operating incomes due in part to softening packaged-media sales.
• Warner Home Video launches an online manufacturing-on-demand (MOD) DVD program that allows consumers access to certain titles from the studio’s classic film library.
• Search behemoth Google  reports its YouTube subsidiary has signed streaming agreements with Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, CBS Corp., BBC and Starz, among others.
• Best Buy tests standalone kiosks that allow users to return used video games in exchange for a gift card for anything in the store.
• Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Redbox announce a five-year distribution agreement. Lionsgate and Paramount soon join Sony in making deals with Redbox, while Warner, Universal and Fox seek a window on new releases for kiosks. Redbox sues the three studios that want windows.

Home Entertainment Event Timeline

(Sources: EMA; Veni, Vidi, Video: The Hollywood Empire and the VCR, Frederick Wasser; Home Media Magazine)

Sony launches Betamax, the first major home video product.

JVC launches VHS, with lower quality but a longer playing time than Betamax tapes, as well as faster rewind times; The Copyright Act of 1976 establishes “fair use,” crucial to home video rental (the act would go into effect in 1978 and would be amended later).

Andre Blay’s Magnetic Video is the first to license films for home video, licensing 50 films from 20th Century Fox to release on VHS and Betamax; RCA begins selling the first VHS player; the first video rental stores pop up (George Atkinson’s in Los Angeles and Arthur Morowitz’s in New York).

Paramount and Columbia Pictures form home entertainment divisions, and Fotomat begins renting videocassettes at 3,700 locations, firmly establishing the home entertainment industry. Stuart Karl begins publishing Video Store Magazine (now known as Home Media Magazine) out of the garage of his home in Orange County, Calif.

The Walt Disney Co. forms its own home video unit, licensing 13 films for rental; MCA launches MCA Videocassette to release Universal titles, and MCA and Philips’ laserdisc comes to market.

A trade organization for video retailers forms called the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA, later renamed the EMA), initially battling to protect First Sale for video.

Magnetic Video becomes 20th Century Fox Video; Legislation is introduced in the U.S. Senate to attempt to give copyright holders power over rental and threatening first sale protection for video; Paramount Pictures announces it will sell Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at a then-unheard-of $39.95, spearheading the sellthrough business.

CBS/Fox Video is launched following a merger between 20th Century Fox Video and CBS Video Enterprises.

The “Betamax case” (Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios Inc.) establishes that devices such as the VCR that allow copying of TV programs for personal use do not infringe copyright.

Movie Gallery forms in Dothan, Ala.

Domestic home video spending surpasses that of theatrical. Blockbuster’s David Cook expands the chain with ready-made video stores, shipping components to investors.

Blockbuster becomes the No. 1 renter of home video; rental revenue alone exceeds theatrical revenue for the year; Rentrak Corp. forms, and with it comes revenue-sharing.

Viacom acquires Blockbuster.

After CBS/Fox reorganizes in 1990, Fox Video becomes 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; Disney releases on home video The Lion King, breaking all sales records.

After launching a year prior in Japan, DVD formally launches in the United States.

Circuit City launches another new format, the pay-per-play Divx disc; Netflix starts the first online by-mail video rental service; Amazon.com launches its online video store.

Sellthrough alone surpasses theatrical as the dominant source of revenue for movie studios.

Independent retailers take Blockbuster to court alleging its revenue-sharing deals with major studios violate antitrust law, but the suit is ultimately unsuccessful.

According to Video Store Magazine, more consumer dollars are spent at Wal-Mart than at Blockbuster; DVD rental revenue surpasses that of VHS.

McDonald’s bows Redbox kiosks, offering $1-per-night DVD rentals; Blockbuster adds by-mail services with Blockbuster Online.

Movie Gallery acquires Hollywood Video.

Toshiba’s HD DVD and Sony’s Blu-ray Disc launch, with Sony also bowing the PlayStation 3, which can play Blu-ray; studios go day-and-date with DVD on movie download sites.

Blu-ray wins the format war.

In hard times, rental makes a comeback, buoyed by the success of Netflix and Redbox; Redbox sues three studios over rental windows.

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