Re: future DVD?

Randy Pitman (vidlib@videolibrarian.com)
Wed, 11 Oct 2000 11:12:11 -0700 (PDT)

Wow--that was bleak. While I agree with some of Darryl's (and Gary's)
remarks (I too find myself reaching for the shiny new DVD discs on the
review pile before the VHS titles), I think that we have to keep in mind a
larger point. While "content" may not play as large a part in techno's big
distribution decisions, I'm not entirely convinced that it ever really did:
TV always has been about numbers of eyeballs, and producer Joel Silver's
(and many of his contemporaries) movies have always been about "asses on
seats." What's really different, of course, is that--compared to 20 years
ago--we're bellied up to a 24/7 Ultimate Smorgasbord buffet, content-wise.
Maybe I'm being uncharacteristically optimistic, but I think the really good
stuff will--for the most part--rise again in the format du jour, especially
as costs decline and demand increases. I just watched the Eames' "Powers of
10" on DVD the other night: no one would have bet on a seminal scientific
short finding its way on to DVD a few years back.

Randy Pitman
Publisher/Editor
Video Librarian
8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
Seabeck, WA 98380
Tel: (800) 692-2270
vidlib@videolibrarian.com

----- Original Message -----
From: Darryl Wiggers <Darryl.Wiggers@AllianceAtlantis.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <videolib@library.berkeley.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 9:37 AM
Subject: RE: future DVD?

> At one point Gary Handman says (in part) "The lessons here are: Content
has
> nothing to do with anything anymore." Forgive me, but I think this is
> important so I'll repeat it again: "Content has nothing to do with
anything
> anymore."
>
> I highlight this not because I'm thrilled to hear it (though I derive a
> sense of "So what? More DVDs for Christmas. Yipee!" from the writer) but
> because, thus far, I think it's the most succinct and accurate statement
in
> this thread. I see it everyday. Already I'm meeting 20-something folks who
> refuse to watch anything unless it's on DVD. The lack of picture sharpness
> on VHS now repulses them much like how my generation reacted to black &
> white movies 20 or so years ago. Even if a movie title interests them,
they
> would rather wait to see if it comes out on DVD. If not, they'll simply
opt
> for what is available. Preferably a newer title because older films
weren't
> made with Stereo Dolby Digital 5.1. Ultimately "content has nothing to do
> with anything anymore."
>
> A number of list members have already predicted that many titles will be
> forever lost because they don't make the DVD transition (is there any
> doubt?). But I also think it's obvious few will care because "content has
> nothing to do with anything anymore."
>
> In the last few months I've been checking out some of the latest DVD
titles,
> and the "goodies" everyone seems to love. I find it interesting that most
of
> these "goodies" (an interesting, positive term) are actually marketing
> elements, such as the Terminator 3-D ride on the T2 DVD, or the LL Cool J
CD
> on Any Given Sunday. Even standard features like chapter selection and
> language selection are listed as "extras" or "Special Features" -- I
assume
> because most people are incapable of realizing the deception. Again,
> "content has nothing to do with anything anymore."
>
> So I turn my attention back to broadcasting where, even in the days of
VHS,
> a far wider selection of films are made available. And now, with digital
> signals, the quality of the picture is even better. But, gradually, more
and
> more commercials creep in. And corporate logos are burned onto the bottom
> right-hand corner. And content is cut because it is deemed offensive, or
> they need more room for commercials. And, ultimately, few will care anyway
> because "content has nothing to do with anything anymore."
>
> And someday it'll be reported on the TV news: "Hooray! It's official!
> Culture is Dead -- Marketing Rules!" And most of us will stare blankly at
> our TV screens because "content has nothing to do with anything anymore."
>
> dw