OPLIN 4cast #364: What does the Blockbuster closing mean?

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

BlockbusterIt has been about a month since Dish Networks announced that they were closing the remaining 300 Blockbuster Video stores, starting a rash of articles proclaiming the death of the video rental business. Have you seen a drop in demand for videos in your library? Maybe not. There is some question as to just what the closing of Blockbuster really says about our culture and the shift from physical to digital media delivery in general. There may be food for thought here for libraries.

  • Blockbuster goes bye-bye: It’s all kiosks & digital now (GigaOM/Michael Wolf)  “There will be lots of postmortems about Blockbuster and the death of physical media over the next few days, and they will be, for the most part, stating the obvious (and right) conclusion that the continual move towards digital distribution meant movie rental was a dying business, particularly the big-footprint brand of rental that Blockbuster had pioneered in the 80s and still, by and large, used today. But in the end, I think kiosks like Red Box were just as deadly, if not more, to Blockbuster.”
  • Blockbuster’s demise; An elegy to video store culture (TechCrunch/Chris Nesi)  “With the advent of Redbox, a machine not much larger than an ATM performs a service that in my lifetime once took a building, a payroll, a management hierarchy, and two-dozen employees to deliver. Despite the distinct lack of “experience” involved in sauntering up to a machine and pressing a few buttons to make your selection and pay for it, the store model didn’t stand a chance.”
  • Blockbuster’s death scene won’t end the video rental store (BloombergBusinessweek/Justin Bachman)  “‘The fact is that one retailer just doesn’t an industry make,’ says Mark Fisher, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Association, a home-video and gaming trade group. ‘When Tower closed its doors, it certainly didn’t signal the end of the music business.’ Indeed, in the $18 billion home-video market, rental is hot. Spending for movie rentals is expected to top movie sales this year for the first time since 2001, according to research firm BTIG.”
  • Blockbuster closes its last stores – is this the future for Barnes & Noble? (TeleRead/Chris Meadows)  “I remember when you couldn’t find anything in the discount movie bins except badly-dubbed Jackie Chan movies and other public-domain films for which people might just be willing to pay a buck or so more than they cost to crank out. But now you find classics and blockbusters just a couple of years old. I was in Best Buy the other day and found Labyrinth, The Wild Bunch, and There Will Be Blood on Blu-ray for $8 each. And I didn’t buy any of them because I knew it would be simpler to watch them online if I actually wanted to! I wonder to what extent we might be looking at the future of the physical book?”

Blockbuster fact:
Just ten years ago there were about 9,000 Blockbuster stores.

OPLIN 4Cast #193: VOD vs DVD

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Video On Demand LogoAccording to the rumor mill, Blockbuster video is set to declare bankruptcy sometime in September. Some video-industry commentators are wondering if this is not just one more step along the path to replacing DVDs with video on demand (VOD). Many libraries, of course, still loan VCR tapes, so it’s not likely that DVDs will disappear from library shelves very soon. In fact, “hard” copy VOD, like Redbox, will probably continue to prosper for a while. In the long run, however, a shift in the video distribution industry that bypasses any kind of physical medium will certainly affect library circulation numbers.

Netflix soars as Blockbuster plans bankruptcy (CNET News/Greg Sandoval) “This month, Netflix penned a five-year deal worth nearly $1 billion to stream movies from Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM. And digital distribution of movies and TV shows is barely in its infancy. Services such as Hulu, YouTube, and Boxee are still developing. Apple is reportedly working on some kind of new digital-video service perhaps tied to a new generation of Apple TV. While we still have a long way to go, it doesn’t look like brick-and-mortar video stores will be making the trip.”

Studios Giving Up on DVD (NewTeeVee/Ryan Lawler) “…the vast majority of film titles are now being released on cable VOD the same day-and-date that they’re available in stores. In 2006, the typical window between DVD and VOD release was 30 days, with some titles lasting up to 45 days before they became available. As recently as 2009, the average wait between DVDs hitting shelves and films being available on VOD was still 21 days.”

YouTube to launch pay-per-view movies (MediaBeat/Dean Takahashi) “Negotiations have been taking place for a few months, but they have taken on more urgency because Apple could be launching its own counter-move this week. Rumors suggest that Apple will upgrade its ailing Apple TV service this week at a press conference in San Francisco on Sept. 1. Google will likely have to compete with Netflix and Hulu as well.”

Libraries top Netflix, Redbox when it comes to loaning DVDs (Yahoo!News/Ben Patterson) An older article (from July), but still pertinent.

Little-known Fact:
YouTube has actually been offering streaming movie rentals from a number of smaller studios since January. (Ars Technica)

OPLIN 4Cast#117: Google News Archive Search, Video on Demand, Book trading, ALA Tech Study

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

1.  Google News Archive Search - Historical newspapers as compiled by Google

2. Amazon has released a new service: Video on Demand. It will replace the Unbox Store, and so the Amazon video player is no longer needed.  Instead, movies will stream through your browser.

3. Don’t buy that book, let’s trade! These sites encourage users to browse the collections and pay only shipping to receive desired items.  Of course, you must also have books to trade to be able to get books delivered.

4. A survey for you to consider: