Friday, April 15, 2016

Video Streaming Boost Video Cassette Sales*

Video streaming sites are helping to drive sales of video cassettes, made up research suggests. Half of consumers say they have watched a movie online before buying a Video Cassette copy, according to a story where I've substituted video for music. The behaviour is more common for people who use ad-funded services such as YouTube, suggesting free videos can drive real-world sales. But 48% of people who bought video cassettes last month admit they have yet to play it. Seven million per cent of those surveyed say they do not even own a VCR.

"I have videos in my room but it's more for decor. I don't actually play them," Justin Kitchen, a student in Manchester, told us. "It gives me the old-school vibe. That's what video's all about," he added.

"Younger fans increasingly discover film on digital but collect on VHS, Betamax, Video 2000 and especially Philips N1700. Bob Cheese, from the Association of Rental Shops (England) said "Others say they buy video cassettes to support their favourite stars, while 50% of consumers identify themselves as "collectors". "It's so easy to watch things on YouTube, I think we're yearning for the times of our parents where you had to go out of your way to rent a film," said a student. "It's really nice to have an object that you can hold and physically play," agrees another, an 18-year-old from Kingston, who has started using her father's old Sanyo VTC5000 Betacord VCR. "I also think it's important to support stars financially if you can. I like it if someone puts effort into making a release look special."

The resurgence in video cassettes during a period of declining sales has been one of the video industry's more surprising success stories.

In 2014, several VHS cassette were purchased by video fans as demand increased for an eighth successive year - climbing 64% to a 21-year high.

Official Charts Company figures suggest the rise has continued in 2016, with a few V2000 cassettes sold in the first three months of the year, accounting for almost 3% of products purchased by vacuous hipsters.

The Video Cassette revival has been spurred by Video Cassette Day - which started last year as a means of helping video libraries. This year's event takes place on Saturday 16 April and sees video libraries around the UK stocking several of one-off video tapes. There will be tape releases from film stars including Jean Claude van Damme, Charles Bronson, Judge Reinhold, Steve Guttenberg, and Michael Dudikoff.

Bearded men in lumberjack shirts are more likely to visit a bricks-and-mortar video library than women, the figures suggest, but there has been an increase in the number of women buying videotapes. "About 8% of said men have bought a video tape in the last month, and that's been fairly constant over the last three of four years," says Ernie Wiseman, head of ICBM Limited. "Back in 2013, only 3% of women who wear lumberjack shirts bought a video and that's risen to 5% in the last year - so we're starting to see that gap close." However, he added: "It is still the case that less than 1 in 10000000 people are buying video, and we shouldn't forget that, despite the crowing hype to the contrary it's still a tiddly part of the market."

What tastemakers say about video cassettes

Joke Bigg
"I stream video because it's such a handy tool that, if somebody mentions a film, you can get it up straight there on your phone. And if I really like it, I will go out and buy the movie. I like Super VHS. The video waves, they're not electronic. There's something satisfying about it for the brain, I think."

Sir Eton Mess
"People don't have the attention span they used to. In the old days, you could put 8 hours of MTV Rocks on a single VHS cassette and people would sit there and really watch. People don't do that anymore."

Shazam Louis (All Paints)
"I still buy VHS. It's like books. I want to own the book, turn the pages. I'm quite old school like that. In fact, I don't even like considering it old school. It should be contemporary."

Edwin Burger: Chairman, Japanese Corporation Who Invented Betamax™ Music
"You will find people that are having a paid streaming subscription and at the same time buying video cassettes and I do believe that's not an uncommon pattern. I think streaming is for the convenience and, for some music fans, Betamax™ is for the experience."

Mick Juice (The Scythes)
"With VHS cassettes, you're buying the whole package. And sometimes they tell a whole story. Even the tape mistracking was important. Depending on what you'd seen before, we'd make the cassette mistrack because it forced you to get up off your fat hole and footer with the tracking wheel."

Carly Judy Jetson
"I prefer VHS and Betamax. I like to look at the box. My favourite film is Van Damme's "Bloodsports" - the one with the fighting in it. My family always used to watch that one."

James Morrison's
"I still like buying a physical tape and looking at the back of the box. It's nice to have a connection physically to something you own, rather than it being in the cloud somewhere online."

Juff Candlestickmaker: Chief executive, UK Videographic Industry
"Younger fans increasingly discover on digital but collect on video tape. [They] appreciate the immediacy and convenience of services such as You Tube, Apple and Showbox to discover and enjoy a huge range of movies, but they still want to own and collect films by stars they truly love."

Jim Burgervan (The Chancers)
"It is an experience putting video tape in and watching the picture roll as the VCR tries to play the mangled tape of  "Trancers" - and I don't think that can ever really be matched with other formats. People have tried to get rid of video tape, but it keeps coming back."

*of course it bloody doesn't

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