News

DVD, vinyl, books… people still enjoy passion done right

Different technologies provide different levels of enjoyment, so why not change things up every now and then.

Andy Marken
Source – “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Warner Bros.

 

“Some people show off their beauty because they want the world to see it. Others try to hide their beauty because they want the world to see something else.” —Kostos, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Warner Bros., 2005

 

Years ago, we were talking with a client CEO of a 5.25-inch WORM (write once read many) optical library company who had just purchased a 12/14-inch WORM company, and we asked him just one question, Why? The smaller discs had long replaced the old, cumbersome ones, and we said his more advanced libraries had killed the old disc systems. He explained that the acquired company sold $40 million worth of media every year to government agencies and businesses for archiving stuff—the media had a 100-year warranted life—and that they will probably buy more than $40 million worth of media forever.

He was right!

We’ve seen rooms of filing cabinets in Washington, DC, holding microfilm and microfiche, warehouse rooms with unboxed DVD/CD/MO players that were purchased as replacement readers when old units died, and they even planned to scavenger parts to keep units playing. People/organizations don’t replace everything that “works” just because newer, better, cheaper, faster stuff has been introduced. No matter how often you hear a marketing/salesperson say, “Yep, our new ‘whatever’ is going to kill our competitors… put ’em in the grave!” 

Take those “relief from the pressures of the day” films like Zombieland. Woody (Harrelson) does his darndest to take out the epidemic and they come back again for another sequel and…. The movie saw an increase in leather jackets, beat-up cowboy hats, cool necklaces, and more in sales. Dead? Nope, they’ll be back (oops, different film series).

But there are too many instances in the industry where the “giant leap” forward became the one to fall off the cliff into oblivion because the world wouldn’t be ready for it for five to 10 years,  maybe. Or, they quietly coexisted with each finding its market segment/audience. Or, movies were going to kill the theater. TV was going to kill movies. VHS was going to do movies. DVDs were going to obliterate VHS. OTT is going to kill them all, including TV (appointment TV).

Years ago, we went to the movie theater to see some film called Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze and went bananas over it. The camp glint in his eye, 10 seconds after a fight began his shirt was torn to shreds, his muscles rippled (wife liked that part), and nary a hair on his head was out of place.

Before he and his crew set off on an adventure to save the world, he had the neatest, campiest quotes: “Before we go, let us remember our code. Let us strive every moment of our lives to make ourselves better and better to the best of our abilities so that all may profit by it. Let us think of the right and lend our assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let us take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let us be considerate of our country, our fellow citizens, and our associates in everything we say and do. Let us do right to all—and wrong no man.”

Riding on the running board, he would give the order, “Do a Barney Oldfield, Long Tom.”

You’re right, they don’t write ’em like that anymore. Yeah, we saw the film three times and were given a VHS of it! No, we don’t have a VHS player to enjoy it again, but if we really get the itch to watch it, we’ll go on Amazon or eBay and order one!

Heck, Dwayne Johnson may actually bring the character back to life for a new generation of folks who need to see the American pulp magazine hero. Once again, Lt. Col. Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair can utter those immortal words, “Have no fear! Doc Savage is here!”

Wait… do both! Get the player and see it at the theater as soon as the Man of Bronze returns!

Will the old tape be as good as the new content shot/produced with the latest technology and shown on a huge screen with rich, vivid colors and immersive Dolby Atmos sound? No, but the old version has something the new film won’t have… soul, feeling, character.

There’s something about the old version that satisfies you with the film scratches and the slight jerk of the flow. It’s like seeing the early versions of Godzilla, the earlier versions of Planet of the Apes, and yes, the first Bambi. Oh sure, DVD, Blu-ray, 4K BD are never going to take out the new kid on the block; but for those who really care about quality, old is better… seriously!

We’re not alone in that thought.

The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) and IHS Markit reported this year that sales hit $13.1 billion—yes, down from $25.2 billion in 2019.

Sources: The Digital Entertainment Group, Box Office Mojo

 

Still living—Want to take a break and enjoy some entertainment? Stream it. It’s fast and easy. If you want to really experience your entertainment, grab the physical-form DVD, vinyl, heck, even CD. It’s more immersive, more rewarding. 

 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that physical media sales are down. Yes, we know 5G is going to be everywhere before you know it—best estimate, 2023—and you’ll be able to download the movie in 8.2 seconds. Until then, even with Netflix advanced codec and transmission formulas, a good 4K HDR movie solution still requires a steady 15 Mbps connection (they recommend 25 Mbps) for full resolution. 

When you have download “issues,” don’t blame Hollywood; and don’t blame Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, Tencent Video, iWiyi, NowTV, Mubi, Sky Go, or Maxdome. It takes time—and lotsa money—to build out the national and global advanced wireless service; and it is very necessary because today, streaming video accounts for 80% of global Internet traffic.

Streaming is only going to go up, so every corner of the globe is going to need better, faster, more reliable service… desperately! That service and your SVOD subscription won’t be cheap; but movie enthusiasts still expect to get all the audio/visual entertainment out of their media (and tricked-out entertainment system) they can possibly get. 

That’s why Netflix still regularly sends red envelops to their 2.7 million DVD-by-mail subscribers ($212 million sales last year). It’s the same reason there’s probably a Redbox unit in your local grocery store. Do your grocery shopping and grab a movie for the evening. Classic, newer releases didn’t matter because you got to choose what you wanted to watch when you wanted to watch it. 

Technically, the newer technology delivery solutions are better (OK, more convenient), but still….

Source: TechnologyInegrator

 

Better, richer—Unless you go to the theater, the best way to fully experience and appreciate the quality of a good/great movie is on a quality DVD. It beats streaming every time. 

 

 

Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to take a break from technology and retreat into the comfort of yourself. We did that after reading Disney’s past CEO Bob Iger’s book, The Ride of a Lifetime. Could have gotten it less expensively in the Kindle format; but jeez, it’s a book! Cuneiform script has been around since 3200 BC, and people are already worrying about digital data being readable in a couple of hundred years or simply disappearing.

Besides, we like looking at real letters/words on a real page and turning those pages. It’s a lot like all our home entertainment. We move back and forth between technologies, enjoying each differently.

Yes, we stream music at home and the office all the time. It’s white noise that enriches the soul. When we want a break from TV or movie streams, we retreat to the living room put a record on the turntable and settle down to just listen or read. With the right artist, it’s a killer combination!

Don’t give me the BS that they are both old-fashioned and dying. We know records were going to kill live concerts/performances—think on your schedule; audio tape was going to kill records; CDs were going to kill audio tapes; streaming music was going to kill CDs.

Surprise!!!

Phonograph records have been around since 1889. And while CD, download, and streaming content folks said they were dead, they’ve actually enjoyed a resurgence over the past few years—especially with people who appreciate the quality, depth, and richness of the sound. Even turntables have shown an upswing in sales as people “rediscover” the beauty that the needle can transfer from the disc to your sound system. 

The number of people who like quality music instead of earbud-fed stuff is growing. While streaming audio has captured the largest chunk of music sales, people around the globe are finding their way back to the rich quality of vinyl music. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that last year, revenues from vinyl sales in the US reached its highest point since 1988. And why not? Tina belting out a series of songs gets your heart pumping. Listening to Roy Buchanan make the guitar talk to you is mesmerizing. And you can wrap yourself in the richness of Jimi Hendrix, B.B., Chuck, Carlos, Prince, Muddy, The Boss, Joni, or Neil.

It beats the crap outta the stuff on your iPod, iPhone any day of the week. They’re so popular that purists, audiophiles are complaining that record companies are making new discs from digital files and lower-quality CDs rather than original tapes—charging more for poorer-sounding records.

My gawd people, take a little pride in the stuff you sell! 

Sure, we still have a 300-disc CD player because sometimes we like a little surprise when one artist ends and the new one picks up the musical ball. 

In case you’re curious, CD sales fell to $698 million last year, which was sorta expected because, well, streaming is easier.

Source: NME

 

On your way—While many in the industry swore that the record store would be resigned to a quiet portion of history, the retail establishments have actually seen a resurgence in demand for quality music by a whole new generation of audiophiles as well as “more mature” buyers. 

 

Don’t even think about calling DVDs, BDs, vinyl, and yes, CDs, being dead because they aren’t really technologies. They are merely vessels that hold the passion of the actors, directors, production team, musical artists. And there is a very large group of people who want to feel, experience, and sometimes even discover that passion as often as possible. 

Don’t call them luddites. Just think of them as people who are able to step back from the leading edge of technology, take a deep breath, and have the passion to experience, enjoy the passion someone else put into his/her work.

Source – “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Warner Bros

 

Sometimes people should step back and listen to Bailey when she said, “You know what I like most about the stars? You look at them, at all of them up there… and you just know there's gotta be something more than….”

The best way to enjoy content is the way it was created… with passion.