OK, I’m not pulling the blanket over my head and ignoring the fact DVD sales are way down, but the DVD business is still vital and very much alive. It’s just moved on, the old paradigm no longer applies and understanding why and where is critical to the continuing success of the format, giving us a few more years to enjoy the format.
Consumers entering most retailers have been trained to expect current hit movies, a smattering of ”B” movies and older catalog titles, and if they frequented the same store regularly, they learned to just ask for what they wanted and left, not exploring, rarely seeking out deeper catalog or discovering new films and programs.
That was the beauty of retailers like Tower, Suncoast and even Borders, in their heyday.
You were encouraged to come in and explore, to pick up and handle product, secure in the knowledge there was a possibility you’d stumble on something you’d almost forgotten ever existed but brought a smile to your face. Something that compelled you to bring it home to watch and maybe share.
Amazon, not the Internet, changed our business. If you could imagine it, if you could remember it, if it was available, Amazon made it possible to own it. You stopped relying on video retailers, especially when the Towers of the world disappeared .And make no mistake, even with a crappy economy, we remain a nation of collectors. Watching an old TV show, seeing an Elizabeth Taylor in the bloom of her youth, it’s like mashed potatoes. It’s comfort food.
What the internet has and continues to do is provide information. What’s available, where is it available, making it easier for consumers to find what they wanted, viewing clips on YouTube that feed their memories. I’m constantly getting letters from people who’ve purchased or seen the product we release, thanking us for making it available, often suggesting other TV series, films, concerts they want to see made available. And when I explain the logistical and financial issues, they’re invariably understanding and supportive.
Consider this….about 1/3 of the population of this country is either a baby boomer or older yet they control no less than 50% of the discretionary income. They’re under served, less likely to want to view programs on their computer, not as comfortable with new technologies, wanting to handle and own these memories so they turn to the internet to purchase. No longer passive, they become active consumers of DVDs.
The flip side is, it’s allowed pirates to steal programming, often placing poor quality product into the market but people want what they want.
The key here is, people are still purchasing DVDs and will continue, so long as we continue to provide programs they enjoy.
Arny Schorr is the president of S’more Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based boutique label specializing in DVD, CD and digital distribution of feature films, classic television programming, long form music and special interest programming.
S’More Entertainment’s DVD releases include Celebrity Bowling: 3-DVD Collector’s Set and American Music Masters: Louis Armstrong: Satchmo.