Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Demise of the Video Store

On March 10th 2011 Azam Ahmed wrote a piece for the New York Times about Blockbuster's Bankruptcy sale. The point of the article in this post is not important, but it made me think about the changing technology and the end of the video store. 

When I was young kid growing up in Albany, NY I remember heading to the video store Coulson's on Delaware Avenue.  They had magazines,snacks, and in the back a place to find and rent movies.  I remember my excitement renting The Muppet Show and Care Bears (don't laugh).  Coulson's went out of business  in 1996 fifteen years ago-this was the highpoint of video rental chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. I remember being sad when Coulson's stopped being the place to go, but I moved on and started renting movies from Blockbuster.

As the years went by I have cherished what Coulson's meant, it was that old musty classic store where there were great movies old and new.  Coulson's felt classic, like a good old movie.

When I started renting from Blockbuster the process to rent movies was not as fun: their selection was not as great, there was a lack of older movies, and the store felt sterile.  Now don't get me wrong I love buying previously viewed movies from Blockbuster, but this chain store ruined the nostalgic feeling of going to a video store.

Now with Blockbuster being sold the newer forms of renting movies are changing things even more. Many people have started joining Netflix, where they mail a movie to your house, or you can watch a movie streaming from your computer.  You can also go to a local store like Wal-Mart and pick up rental from the Redbox for a dollar a night.  Cable Providers have also created the On Demand system where you can click a few buttons on your remote and be instantly watching a new movie. 

Now many of these options are cheaper and make things more accessible, and that is important.  I am a big propenent of getting movies out to the public, and these new options provide that opportunity.  Having On Demand options helps someone chose a movie at their fingertips, but I miss getting to pick out my rental at the store.

Call me old fashioned but like in High Fidelity, I would prefer the old school store that sells videos and DVDS to the chains, and technologically mass produced opportunities.  The movie experience is not as magical as it once was, I remember going to the theatre and being in awe of the sheer greatness of films, but some of that feeling is gone.  As techonology advances in society, the art produced becomes less real and genuine. 

Here is a link to the article: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/bankruptcy-judge-approves-sale-of-blockbuster/ (Note it may not be available long-NY Times articles tend to be accessible to members).


JC said...

I feel similarly about libraries, old books, mom-and-pop book stores. I feel like something's been lost. And, since I suck at watching movies when they come out, and old movies aren't always on the on demand menu, I always end up watching some adulturated version on cable :(

It's a shame really.

pookey56 said...

Our BlockBusters here in Canada are solvent and in no imminent danger of bankruptcy.

I'm no big fan of BB but, it's still nice to have that option; especially after seeing my favorite, independent Video Store close down.