Finding Catalog Title a Stream14 Oct, 2013 By: Stephanie Prange
Recently, my daughter and I were looking for “The Addams Family” movies from the early 1990s. Those films — based on the 1960s sitcom my generation grew up watching in reruns — hit theaters well before my 11-year-old was born, but she had seen a Halloween costume she liked based on the Wednesday character and wanted to watch the films.
I assumed we had it on DVD, but neither the original The Addams Family movie nor the sequel Addams Family Values were anywhere in our library. We also did not have the classic TV show in physical media. Though we didn’t really try, I felt sure none of the mass merchants would be carrying those decades old movies and that we wouldn’t find it at our local Redbox kiosk, which would be stocked with the latest blockbusters windows would allow. There are no traditional video stores in my neighborhood. (As you may have read in our Sept. 2 issue article, “Rental Smackdown,” there aren’t any video stores within 10 miles of my house.) Also, to be quite honest, I wasn’t interested in driving all around the neighborhood to find discs of the movies or show.
So, we decided to go online. Perhaps Amazon Prime would have such titles, past their prime (no pun intended), but not exactly old enough to warrant a classic re-release. Bingo! Those not-yet-classic 1990s hits were available to stream. Catalog titles that my friends and I might have sought out at the local video store in years past were readily available to stream through my PlayStation 3 via Amazon. Our search was over.
And that’s a shame. My daughter has really grown fond of those movies. Had she been offered a ready purchase after discovering them via a streaming service, she might have decided to buy. As the studios sell off their libraries to online outlets clamoring for content, I think it would be prudent to take a longer-term view. Certainly, it may seem that many catalog titles have been drained of their value and are ready for the (practically free) streaming heap, but I think studios should try to extend the value of these titles by structuring deals that also offer a purchase option, ideally enabled with UltraViolet. That way, a movie discovery isn’t just a stream.