/// Streamy Romance: Americans’ Love Affair With B Movies Goes Digital

May 22, 2014  |  Media Week

On an October morning in 2008, a truck loaded with VHS cassettes pulled away from Distribution Video Audio’s warehouse in Palm Harbor, Fla.—and made history: It was the last major shipment of movies on VHS bound for retail stores. As owner Ryan J. Kugler told the Los Angeles Times: “It’s dead. This is it.” VHS was dead. In fact, A History of Violence, the last major Hollywood title put on videocassette, appeared in 2006. But the demise of VHS didn’t mean that Americans had wearied of watching movies in their living rooms. In fact, we do more of it all the time. A recent Harris Poll revealed that 57 percent of consumers would rather watch a film at home than in the theater. A survey from Motorola showed the average time we spend watching movies at home has jumped from five hours a week to six. So while the medium might change, the love for home screening had not—and that’s the lesson on view in the two ads here. In a technical sense, the only difference between this 1985 ad for CBS/Fox Video and its 2014 Warner Archive counterpart is that magnetic tape has ceded its place to digital. Otherwise, both ads testify not just to the profitability of the back catalog, but to a curious truth about American cinematic tastes. Even the most obscure, marginal B-grade movie has someone, somewhere, who loves it. Actually, a loyal fan base is probably the only thing that can explain why media companies this rich can get away with creating ads this marginal. “Neither is particularly pleasing to the eye or says much, visually, about the storyline of the films,” observed movie marketing consultant Sheri Candler

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Streamy Romance: Americans’ Love Affair With B Movies Goes Digital


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