[Videolib] DVD / VHS

Mon, 8 Sep 2003 23:35:19 EDT

The assumption that DVD will replace VHS is, from a technological standpoint,
as logical as watching CDs replace LPs. However, economics plays a role here
too. Especially for the small distributor and the distributor of shorter
works. Re-mastering to DVD may not seem expensive where 10,000 copies will be sold,
but is prohibitive if only 500 are assured. And as to length, most of our
150 titles are arts documentaries; only a few are over 30 minutes in length.
Over time they do very well in VHS, but how to sell them on DVD? It is
uneconomical to make a 30 minute DVD. Combining 3 or 4 titles onto one DVD to bulk it
out to a couple of hours would be the equivalent of simply selling at a steep
discount just to sell DVD, since the marketplace expects DVDs to be
competitive with VHS. This may be one reason why VHS will hang in there for awhile
longer. When mastering to DVD comes way down in price...well, then it may be
another story.

Stephan Chodorov
Creative Arts Television
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