Posted at 12:35 PM on July 3, 2006
by Euan Kerr
It was interesting to read the Randy Salas article in the Star Tribune over the weekend about his mixed results with an HD-DVD player. The push is already on to get Jane and Joe Filmfan to begin the migration to the new format (even though we will likely go through a beta-v-vhs-like skirmish first.)
A few years ago I was working on a story about film distribution, and was stunned to learn about the dramatic change that came about with the introduction of the DVD player. Suddenly people began buying movies in a big way. An industry study found on average dvd player owners bought no fewer than 19 DVDs in the first year after purchasing their machine.
Now I think I've bought maybe three DVDs, and the family has two players for different parts of the house. My dimly recalled math skills lead me to wonder if that means there may be some guy out there with about 60 DVDs, keeping the average up.
What remains a mystery though is, why? Why do people buy movies? I can see having a sentimental attachment to a particular flick, and heaven knows we bought enough videos to keep the kids quiet when they were young. I also have a good friend who works as a film producer, who lends out his collection of videos and tapes to his neighbors on the Isle of Skye in Scotland as part of the local film club.
But 20 films? Or more? Why?
Can anyone give me a clue? And will you be converting your library to HD-DVD, or just renting, like me?
Are they the same people, like my husband, who don't even think about visiting a library and thus automatically buy a book? I'm a heavy library user for books and movies and almost always rent movies (dvd or vhs). I feel sorry for books or movies on my shelves that were read or viewed once and then left to gather dust. I only buy if I am pretty sure I'll watch or read something several times. But some people just "gotta have it".
I feel differently about books. I like to be able to pass them on to friends. For some reason I just don't get that same feeling about DVD's. Having said that, I was very happy to be handed a copy of "Sunday in Hell" this morning by one of my newsroom colleagues. It's a classic bike race film that was shown last night at the Bicycle Film Festival, which I couldn't attend. It's likely to pass through several hands before it returns home! Maybe I can have my cake and eat it.