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Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

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Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Old 11-06-22, 08:42 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
That's the thing though. You have 1400 titles, which should be more than enough for you for the rest of you're life. How long would it take you to watch all those titles? And yet... you want new content, not just watching/rewatching what you already own. And you're getting upset that your preferred method of obtaining and viewing new content isn't getting all the new content, even though you claim you're fine with what you already own.

Also, you don't have to be subscribed to every service at once. You can subscribe to one service for one month, binge watch what's available, cancel, subscribe to another service for the next month, binge, cancel, etc. A one month subscription to Netflix would let you watch season 3 & 4 of Stranger Things for less than buying them on Blu-ray would cost, plus you could watch a few other movies and TV shows in that month. Not to mention a few services offer free trials and/or discounts periodically. I got Disney+ for $0.99 for one month and binged a year's worth of MCU TV shows. Even if they got released on Blu-ray, and at good prices, that would've been $80 in purchases, for seasons of shows I enjoyed but likely won't ever revisit. From a value perspective, the one month subscription was the better choice.

I think there's a certain mentality that wants absolute control over the content they consume or want to consume, and maybe they also like the physical marker of consuming and enjoying. It's a bit like collecting vinyl or CDs or Books. But physical items take up space, both physically and mentally, and everyone has a limit on how much they want, although it varies from person to person, and sometimes when hitting that limit a person may take a step back and look at what they've collected and think "what actual value am I getting from all of this, and is it worth the cost?" And of course, this collector mentality has always been in the minority. Most people limit their collections in some way, if they collect at all, based on practicalities. People who buy books also borrow many from the library. People who listen to vinyl or CDs also listen to the radio or streaming, or even borrow CDs from the library. IF they collect, they only collect the special fraction of what they consume they feel is worth owning and having that instant access with no threat of it being unavailable to them for some reason (checked out of library, not playing on the radio right then, no re-runs on TV, streaming service lost the license, etc. ).

Streaming fills a niche that both TV broadcasts AND video rentals used to fill, but its more convenient and a better value. If you truly buy everything you watch and hold onto it forever after, then streaming may truly have no appeal. But for anyone who's ok with not outright owning a copy of everything they watch, streaming is the best option.
You can push the concept of streaming all you want to, but to me there's nothing better than holding the physical media in my hand, owning the complete series on media that I can hold in my hand, look at it, read what it says on the front, back, on the inserts, watch the special features that accompany most of my videos. You don't know me so you can't know what it feels like to me to hold that in my hands and say "That's mine". I take a certain pride in my collection, and if I want to add to it, where's the harm? I also own 500 vinyl LPs that I collected over many years, alot of it is rare, alot of it nobody's ever heard of. But I can put any of them on my turntable any time I want to and savor the material. Streaming just doesn't appeal to me.
Old 11-06-22, 10:36 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
You can push the concept of streaming all you want to, but to me there's nothing better than holding the physical media in my hand, owning the complete series on media that I can hold in my hand, look at it, read what it says on the front, back, on the inserts, watch the special features that accompany most of my videos.
Sure, but if you want exclusively that experience going forward, you're going to be missing out on a lot of content.

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
You don't know me so you can't know what it feels like...
I know what you're presented yourself as here, the arguments you've made. To deny yourself new content simply because it's not in your personal ideal format for watching seems incredibly myopic. Your little boycott isn't going to bring Stranger Things back to Blu-ray, because you and others like you are just too small a niche now to bother with, for many titles.

And to go back to your original post, it's not "studio politics" keeping these titles off Blu-ray, but basic economics. Target had to basically clearance off their "Target Exclusive" Stranger Things seasons. Not enough people were buying it. Physical media for video had its moment, and for a brief while for the hardcore collector it was glorious, but the majority of the population has left it behind, and that's what's going to be catered to for the most part going forward.

But here's a question for you: do you not go see movies in the theater? Because you're paying nearly the price of a Blu-ray for an ultimately ephemeral experience. You don't own the movie, and you only get to watch it once. If you want to see it again, you have to buy another ticket. There's literally none of the advantages of owning that you tout for seeing something in theaters. So to be logically consistent, you must never go see a movie in theaters, or listed to music on the radio, or seeing a live performance, because that time/money could be better spent buying and consuming physical media, yes?

Last edited by Jay G.; 11-07-22 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 11-07-22, 12:35 AM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

The quality of the theater experience, at least near me, had just gotten too lousy to bother with anymore. Iíll likely see Avatar 2 just because it wonít be available in high frame rate 3D at home, but Iím not looking forward to going. Thereís a couple newer theaters I havenít been to yet so they at least have a chance to show me that they donít suck.

Iíve worked in both the theater biz (mainly as a film projectionist) and in media retail at Towerís main office the last 5 years they were alive (it was what I was planning to fall back on if I ever had to leave theaters), itís been sad to see them both decline so much.
Old 11-07-22, 10:35 AM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
The quality of the theater experience, at least near me, had just gotten too lousy to bother with anymore.
That's not really the argument I was making though. The point is that whether you own a copy you can watch at any time you want is just one factor of many people may use to consider paying to watch particular content, and that even collectors are willing to pay for an ephemeral experience, if other factors are appealing (i.e. a better experience than you can buy, in some way).
Old 11-07-22, 12:51 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Sure, but if you want exclusively that experience going forward, you're going to be missing out on a lot of content.


I know what you're presented yourself as here, the arguments you've made. To deny yourself new content simply because it's not in your personal ideal format for watching seems incredibly myopic. Your little boycott isn't going to bring Stranger Things back to Blu-ray, because you and others like you are just too small a niche now to bother with, for many titles.

And to go back to your original post, it's not "studio politics" keeping these titles off Blu-ray, but basic economics. Target had to basically clearance off their "Target Exclusive" Stranger Things seasons. Not enough people were buying it. Physical media for video had its moment, and for a brief while for the hardcore collector it was glorious, but the majority of the population has left it behind, and that's what's going to be catered to for the most part going forward.

But here's a question for you: do you not go see movies in the theater? Because you're paying nearly the price of a Blu-ray for an ultimately ephemeral experience. You don't own the movie, and you only get to watch it once. If you want to see it again, you have to buy another ticket. There's literally none of the advantages of owning that you tout for seeing something in theaters. So to be logically consistent, you must never go see a movie in theaters, or listed to music on the radio, or seeing a live performance, because that time/money could be better spent buying and consuming physical media, yes?
We haven't been to a movie theater in years.
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Old 11-07-22, 01:09 PM
  #181  
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
"Love"? Maybe for a small indie store, although as morriscroy pointed out, they're still going to need to make a profit to stay in business. However, chains like Virgin Records and Suncoast were corporate entities, and we're about "love," but about running a business.
Even non-profits have to break even, unless they're getting donations from people to just keep existing.

That said, I know of some video rental stores that have gone that way. Scarecrow Video in Seattle, WI is now a non-profit:
https://blog.scarecrow.com/about-us-3/

There's also Four Star Video Cooperative in Madison, WI, although I don't know if it's technically a non-profit, or just employee-owned.
https://fourstarvideorental.com/

But these are filling a small niche. Maybe a handful of existing indies will get more traffic, and possibly expand to another location or something, but you're not going to see video retail stores popping up all over the place and become even a significant fraction as ubiquitous as they were before Best Buy drove them out of business.
Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
My shop out here will be 20 years old next year and I only started going to them about a year ago:
https://www.vidtheque.com/about.aspx
Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
You need to stop romanticizing business. The moment Amoeba becomes unprofitable they will be out of there, make no mistake.
​​​​​​​
Here in Canada's largest city, there are exactly two video rental shops remaining: Bay Street Video, and Eye Sore Cinema. Bay Street has been in the base of a ritzy condo tower for decades in what is now a very chi-chi part of downtown, in a unit they either own or for which they must have a very sweet grandfathered deal on the rent. Eyesore is in a more downmarket vintage/hipster/foodie area a few blocks away, and caters heavily to the cult cinema crowd. Both have large rental selections, Bay's selection covers both mainstream and cult, while Eyesore's leans more toward cult (even the new releases). Both also sell physical media; the upscale place has copies of virtually every new release on whatever formats they're released on; the downscale place has a 'curated' selection of cult titles from the usual boutique labels. Spend fifteen minutes in either place and you'll inevitably see two or three people come in and rent/buy stuff, but I do wonder how that adds up on a daily and weekly basis. Eyesore does offer 'extras' that seem to serve them well, or ad last enhance their hipster cred: multiple in-person screenings per month in their musty old backroom, Twitch marathons and auctions, giveaways, merch, etc. Similarly, Bay Street has exclusive partnerships with some of the US boutiques and a podcast. As has been pointed out, though, that kind of "love" for physical media will only get you so far these days. I do hope these places survive even as I admit to not buying from them in favour of better deals online (and my US mailbox); for me they're enjoyable and familiar places to visit, however briefly, when I'm wandering around downtown. Both are too far away from me to make renting cost effective. But maybe there are enough 'locals' in a city this size to keep them afloat with a little creative marketing? Should they go under some day, two things will happen: I'll raid their stock sell-offs once the prices get super cheap (I did this with most of their old competitors when they closed down circa 2016-2018), and I'll continue to shop online for the convenience.
Old 11-07-22, 01:14 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
We haven't been to a movie theater in years.
I just live without something if I either don't have immediate access (such as various streaming services, etc ...), or if I am too lazy (such as theaters or blurays).

In recent times, there were numerous movies which I originally wanted to see in the theater. Though out of sheer laziness, I never got around to it. When these movies were released on bluray, I was too lazy and didn't feel like buying it. (ie. Not a priority).

Eventually when these movies were played on basic cable or even network tv (on saturday or sundays when nobody is watching tv), I came to the realization many of these movies were snoozers. (Many of these first-run theaterical movies eventually show up on basic cable or network tv, two years or so later after their original theatrical release dates).
Old 11-07-22, 01:15 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
I’ve worked in both the theater biz (mainly as a film projectionist) and in media retail at Tower’s main office the last 5 years they were alive (it was what I was planning to fall back on if I ever had to leave theaters), it’s been sad to see them both decline so much.
You're not working at Mill Creek ?
Old 11-07-22, 03:50 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
​​​​​​ Should they go under some day, two things will happen: I'll raid their stock sell-offs once the prices get super cheap (I did this with most of their old competitors when they closed down circa 2016-2018), and I'll continue to shop online for the convenience.
Here in Vancouver, Black Dog Video was one of the few remaining rental stores catering to the cinephile market who closed their doors this last summer. I think they kept the good titles to sell online and sold the remaining titles in-store during their last weekend before closing. The line-up just to get in was 2-3 hours long.

The owner was questioning why there wasn't this level of excitement when they were still open. The simple answer is people didn't want to rent these titles, they wanted to own them. That and the lure of re-sellers thinking they were going to find that rare out-of-print $200 DVD for $3.


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Old 11-07-22, 06:04 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
Here in Vancouver, Black Dog Video was one of the few remaining rental stores catering to the cinephile market who closed their doors this last summer. I think they kept the good titles to sell online and sold the remaining titles in-store during their last weekend before closing. The line-up just to get in was 2-3 hours long.

The owner was questioning why there wasn't this level of excitement when they were still open. The simple answer is people didn't want to rent these titles, they wanted to own them. That and the lure of re-sellers thinking they were going to find that rare out-of-print $200 DVD for $3.
Exactly!

There were three reasonably famous stores here that closed in 2017-ish, in this order: Queen Video (the original, on Queen Street), Suspect Video (the coolest of the bunch, tucked in the side-street back corner of the legendary Honest Ed's discount store), and Queen Video on Bloor (in the Annex).

When the original Queen Video announced it's closing, that's exactly what I figured they'd do: keep all the valuable stuff for eBay and sell off all the chaff. But they didn't. They sold everything. I overheard customers asking why they didn't take the stock home and sell it online and they said explained about it being better to just liquidate the assets, or something like that. Tt was probably a telling sign that some of the cult-iest of their cult titles survived virtually the duration of the sale, to the point I was hoovering them up for $1.00 or $2.00 a pop (meaning: cult collectors, and therefore renters, are few even in a city this size). On day one of their sale, everything was like $15 - $20 a disc, which I'm sure baited enough suckers to offset steeper reductions later on. Sure enough, when I went back about three days later, and prices were something like $10 - $15 – with tons of great stuff still on the shelves. So I hedged my bets and just kept going back every couple of days to see if they'd dropped further. Once they got to the $6 to $10 range I started buying modest batches just to be safe (FOMO, I guess). The batches got bigger as pricing came down. I did oveerhear the owner (who ran the place from day one in the 1980's with his wife and had actually grown wealthy enough from it to actually buy the building it was in) wonder aloud to more than one customer about where all these scavengers were hiding in recent years. And my thinking was the same: people had either moved on (streaming) or they wanted to own these things, and relatively cheaply, so this was their best, near to last opportunity. To be honest, some of the stuff I bought was worth considerably more than I paid, in theory, and I may indeed part with some of it at a profit when I finally plow through it all, but a lot of these discs do show signs of rental wear-and-tear, so I certainly won't get top dollar. If I can make enough to break even, great. But more importantly I'll be able to scratch a whole bunch of weirdness off my watchlist, which in many cases is a higher priority than owning, or resale value.

Similar story at Suspect Video. They took an 'everything must go' approach and didn't hold back the good stuff for themselves as far as I know. I still had to wait for prices to be affordable and justifiable, but then I went to town. Didn't get everything I would have liked as there were obviously other cult junkies cleaning up there too, but I still found some gems. Like their name implies, though, not everything in there was legit, although a lot of it was still rare . . . to see. Lots of close-but-no-cigar labels on the discs and tapes (like Video Search of Miami), but again, for $2 - $5 I just grabbed whatever piqued my interest.

The third store, Queen Video in the Annex was the least interesting, since it didn't have a long history, and mostly rented newer releases. I put together a couple of stacks in the waning days, but little that would be considered crucial to a cult buff.

Who knows, maybe Black Dog and places like it got wind of some of the Toronto deals being had and decided to better maximize the value of their collection when the time came.
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Old 11-08-22, 04:48 AM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
The people who run Amoeba do it for the love of it.
Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
You need to stop romanticizing business. The moment Amoeba becomes unprofitable they will be out of there, make no mistake.
Love won't pay the rent. Love won't keep the lights on.

You know how you would walk into a Fry's and see all of the empty shelves? That was because they didn't have enough money to pay back the distributors and they pulled their credit. At which point, the distributor, fearing losing even more money, will only accept cash up front to stock the shelves. They don't accept love as payment.
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Old 11-08-22, 05:07 AM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
And to go back to your original post, it's not "studio politics" keeping these titles off Blu-ray, but basic economics. Target had to basically clearance off their "Target Exclusive" Stranger Things seasons. Not enough people were buying it. Physical media for video had its moment, and for a brief while for the hardcore collector it was glorious, but the majority of the population has left it behind, and that's what's going to be catered to for the most part going forward.
It's a combination of market forces and studio politics.

It's absolutely true that the average person has moved away consuming content on physical media to watching it digitally (either streaming, digital rentals, or digital purchases), but certain studios do seem to want to hasten the death of physical media.
Compare Disney and Paramount. Disney have not released any of their Disney+ MCU and Star Wars series onto disc. Paramount is still releasing all of their Paramount+ Star Trek content onto disc. I would wager that The Mandalorian and Loki would probably sell more copies than Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Lower Decks, but Disney doesn't seem interested because it appears they would rather have the Disney+ streaming service be the only place these series, whereas Paramount is still utilizing a second revenue stream.

As far as Stranger Things goes, I think it sold reasonably well for a tv series, but they greatly overestimated the demand for it and printed up too many copies. I would walk into any Target and each one probably had close to one hundred copies of it sitting on the shelves. And even by that point in history, tv on disc was a fading market.

The Stranger Things release also had so many things going against it aside from over production. Store exclusivity (which is never a good idea -- just ask my $1.99 CD of Chinese Democracy). The odd, over-sized packaging. The non-existent marketing strategy, where it was never even announced, it just showed in the weekly Target flyer and on the shelves.
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Old 11-08-22, 09:21 AM
  #188  
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

Seeing this thread pop up again, I realized that, this year, I probably purchased MORE physical media then I have since my peak DVD days. I think I had read a story about Disney phasing out physical copies (whether it's true or not, I don't know) but it got me scooping up a bunch of the early Platinum/Diamond blurays because of the special features. I also finally started upgrading flicks I had on DVD that I've been meaning too for awhile. Then there's 4K. While I don't yet have a tv or player, I snagged a bunch of films based on reviews and recommendations in that format (mainly when upgrading the aforementioned DVDs...like the Kubrick collection). Finally, in a weird twist, I bought my first DVDs in a couple of years (discovered the Astair/Rogers collection at a garage sale for $5 in mint condition and, well, I'm a sucker for old black and white flicks).

Soooo, yeah, if streaming released shows like the Disney Marvel shows / Star Wars stuff I'd purchase it too as I like seeing things "complete" on my shelf.

I'll probably be among the last hold outs but I love getting a copy of something I can hold in my hands.
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Old 11-09-22, 09:27 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

I mean, I did buy Sonic the Movie 2 for $10 last week....
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Old 11-10-22, 12:53 PM
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Re: Hard Talk - Letís discuss getting rid of physical media

My buying has shifted a lot, I used to buy almost exclusively used but that market is changing. I used to be able to walk into Disc Replay and find at least one title, if not 3-4 that I wanted to buy. Now, I walk out empty handed many times (or buy something non-disc related, like Magic cards or collectibles). I'm more likely to just spend a good $20 or $30 on a new title that I know I want. So, I'm buying fewer discs but I'm putting more cash directly to the studios now.
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