DVD Decline – A Self Fulfilling Prophecy


The home  entertainment  industry has been on decline for some time now and with the recession the situation has only worsened. Every studio in Hollywood has been trying to figure out how to fix the problem with limited success. There are two major points that, while not helping the issue in my opinion, are certainly contributing to the problem.

When the DVD format first began the format was very similar to a VHS videotape. The disc contained the movie and that was it. Special features listed on the back of the packaging included ‘interactive menus’ and ‘captioning.’ Since those days the features of the modern DVD have expanded to include trailers, bloopers and ‘making of’ featurettes of the movie. This has become pretty much standard, even with the introduction of the Blu-Ray format. This standard has slipped.

‘Special edition’ DVDs started to become the norm as well, usually at a premium price. The ‘regular edition’ DVD then started to be stripped of everything special. The features that everyone had become accustomed to were suddenly gone. Many of them had only ‘feature commentary’ as a special feature. The regular edition DVD of Transformers has no bonus features at all, not even commentary.

Many retailers also sell the ‘regular edition’ at a reduced price on this first day. Add to this the notion that most people that purchase a movie generally do so on the first day and most people would be buying the standard DVD. Stripped on bonus features this makes for a tough sell. A customer almost feels cheated to now have to pay more for what they had been getting all along.

This begins the rise of buying more used movies from a trade-in store and video rental store, where the Hollywood studio makes no money on the sale.

The second thing that I think is contributing to the decline of the home video market is the lack of availability.

There is a movie from Paramount Vantage that I had been anticipating for some months. The film, Carriers starring Chris Pine, quietly arrived in theaters in limited release and left the cinemas one week later. The film had such a limited release that I couldn’t find a theater house that was showing the film in a 100 kilometer radius.

The movie will be released on home video on December 8th and I had planned on buying a copy of the movie, but I cannot. You see while the film will see a home video release it will NOT be available for sale. No, the film is only available for rental at your local video store.

While I understand that a movie that was not a major release may be a financial risk to make a wide release in the home video market, a studio doesn’t have to produce the quantity of copies that a release like Star Trek might need. A major release may see 20-50 copies of a movie in a store you would only need the bare minimum 3-5 copies. You can’t sell a movie that you don’t put in a store.

Maybe I’m among a small few that are looking forward to the lesser known title because I’m a fan of Paramount?

At the very least make the title available for sale in the online marketplace. If you are producing copies of a movie for rental you can have some of them available for sale. The only way I can buy a copy of the movie is to wait for my local Blockbuster to sell their used copies of the movie. Money that won’t be going into the studio’s pocket, unfortunately.

So what will fix the floundering home  entertainment  market? I’m not going to proclaim that I have the answer, but at the very least these suggestions could help. First make the ‘special edition’ the norm and do away with the stripped featureless ‘regular edition.’ Secondly make all titles available for sale somewhere. If I can’t go into my local Wal-Mart to buy a copy at least let me buy it on Amazon.com.

Source by Jason Nason

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