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The Many Killers Of The Film Industry Vol. 3: Post-Ellipsis And Beyond Television

from the vhs:the-metallic-killer/new-revenue-stream dept

[If you're just joining us, be sure to check out Volume 1 and Volume 2 in this series, which tells the true story of how the movie industry was killed over and over by each new advancement in eyeball-oriented entertainment. Volume 3 is the exciting followup to the breathtaking "..." that ended Volume 2. What lies beyond? Words. A lot of them.]

The movie industry, flush with success, strutted away from the battle that never was, having successfully fended off its new drinking buddy, television. Up to its collective ears in record-breaking movie receipts, the film industry (yet again) kicked back on its gold-plated laurels and lazily watched the money roll in.

The cinema was enjoying a new Golden Age, ushered in by the advent of the multiplex, the still-viable drive-in industry and some of the finest movie-making ever, in the form of Airport, Airport '75, Airport '77 and Airport '79: New Moon.

But as was foretold by the harrowing ellipsis at the end of the last volume, a new enemy would rise (mostly from the East). This new invention would kill the film industry harder that it had ever been killed before.

Japanese electronics company JVC kicked Old Man Movie right in the throat with its VHS (Video Home System) player that promised a new era of TV and movie-dependent independence. Now people could watch television and movies in the comfort of their own home, on their own schedules. No more standing in line at the box office or endless waiting for their favorite programs to hit syndication. The public was now in command of its mostly pre-recorded destiny, leading to skyrocketing VCR sales and new highs in box office receipts.

Quite obviously, home taping was once again killing an industry.

An apoplectic Jack Valenti (representing the MPAA) stormed a listless Congress, demanding that they get off their overstuffed asses and do something, goddammit. During his Oscar-worthy performance, Valenti compared the theoretical damage done by home taping to a combination of the Holocaust, My Lai Massacre and that time when he got beat up in grade school.

The television industry fought back, claiming that the public had no right to watch their favorite shows and movies whenever and wherever the hell they wanted to. "What of our precious and highly annoying advertising?" it pleaded. "They'll be able to skip past it, thus rendering our efforts useless. Not to mention blockbuster lineups like ‘Must See Thursday,' which will now become ‘Can See Whenever the Hell We Want, Possibly Even Next Week.'"

The Positive Negatives of the VCR Invasion
Fortunately, the film and TV industries greatly overestimated the public's willingness and ability to program their VCRs, meaning that most viewing was still prerecorded movies or "live" TV. In fact, the general inscrutability of the VCR usually meant that it was regarded as a minor household diety whose mood swings and impenetrable manual were tolerated in exchange for nearly "on-demand" viewing.

Much like any diety, the VCR would periodically demand a sacrifice, devouring random tapes like "Child's First Birthday" (priceless) or a New Release rental from Blockbuster (considerably more expensive).

Not only that, but the VCR's entropic delivery system caused videotapes to degrade steadily in a short period of time, soon reducing the act of re-watching an "old favorite" to a tedious hour or two of dicking around with the tracking in a futile attempt to make the movie look like something other than scrambled Cinemax porn featuring dialogue recorded underwater.

"Boon:" Not Actually a Dirty Word
Not every industry felt threatened, however. The new videotape proved to be a boon to the porn industry, which was thrilled to have another delivery system. Porn theater staffers were thrilled to see their semen cleanup time drop by over 50%. Porn aficionados were thrilled to be able to "privatize" their perversions, without fear of being accosted by women's right groups, soft news journalists or the Sarasota, FL Sheriff's Department.

Unfortunately, a related industry fell victim to this new portable, rentable menace. The suddenly embattled trench coat industry fought this turn of events with "Home Masturbation is Killing the Trench Coat Industry" pickets. This movement never really took off however, mainly due to the fact that few people were willing to wear t-shirts or hoist signs with the word "masturbation" prominently featured.

As the years went on and prices dropped, the movie industry began to embrace this "threat" as a powerful ally in its constant struggle to make even more money. They were delighted to discover that the public was more than willing to purchase something they had most likely already paid to watch in a theater. They were made positively giddy with the realization that the public would buy the same movie twice, provided one version was slapped with a "Special Edition" label and contained a cursory 5-minute "Making Of" featurette cobbled together from second unit footage and "found sound" recordings.

The movie rental business was thrilled as well, what with it suddenly having a reason to exist, along with the opportunity to charge $3.99/night for "New Releases" that had been on the "Just In" wall for nearly half a decade.

Coming up next:
A veritable rogue's gallery of industry killers, each more diabolically deadly than the last.

Reader Comments

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  1. icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), 26 Oct 2011 @ 3:01pm


    I love these! Keep it up!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    A Dan (profile), 26 Oct 2011 @ 3:24pm

    Abetting theft

    This is obviously anti-artist revisionist-history propaganda, and you are behaving irresponsibly by publishing it. This article advocates home taping, which destroys thousands of jobs, and thus this is a rogue site. Expect ICE to be here any minute...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2011 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Fantastic

    I would like to thank you for posting these. So far it has been educational. Not in that most of it I don't know about already but in that it ties together incidents and events.

    Kudos for this series. A

    ny chance of these continuing with different topics?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), 26 Oct 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Thank you!

    Thanks Tim, love the series - looking forward to the rest!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    The Incoherent One (profile), 26 Oct 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Abetting theft

    Do they still make tapes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Christopher (profile), 26 Oct 2011 @ 7:29pm

    Hilarious article, and the sad thing is that everything in there is true.

    Though, with the advent of SSD recording (which doesn't degrade fast or at all in some cases) the TV industry does have some reasoning that they are being 'run out of business'.

    Not much, however, because people still watch their stuff using DVR's and it's still a pain in the ass to skip through the commercials, because you can never seem to stop EXACTLY when the show in question starts up again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    mrharrysan (profile), 26 Oct 2011 @ 10:36pm

    This story needs to be told and retold :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 27 Oct 2011 @ 4:33am

    Re: Re: Fantastic

    Sure. Suggest a few topics and I'll see what I can cobble together out of facts, hyperbole and various porn-related punchlines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 27 Oct 2011 @ 4:35am

    No. Thank you.

    Thanks for the support, everyone. Now I should really get off my ass and finish the next segment. To the writemobile!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    packrat (profile), 27 Oct 2011 @ 6:24am

    rogues gallery

    love the (structure, function and evolution) thingy of the entertainment industry you're doing.

    welcomtr to the electronic revolution., boothbath and reversion to old model stage.

    the region 1 censorship. MOST of today (oct 27th 2011)
    is about varients of it. (ip act, etc)

    ready to talk BBSing and darknets yet? sat feeds over commercial services? Unregistered china phones without security chips?

    I'm waiting...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 27 Oct 2011 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Abetting theft

    Everything humanity has invented and manufactured is still available for sale. So yes, they still make tapes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 27 Oct 2011 @ 6:55am

    Re: No. Thank you.

    I wonder if the movie industry will buy this as a plot line for a movie ... like that guy over at reddit ... ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    The eejit (profile), 27 Oct 2011 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Abetting theft

    Tapes are SOOO 1960s! Lone live High-def porn on Blu-Ray (only $500/disc)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Rich, 27 Oct 2011 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Fantastic

    I, to, am really enjoying these posts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Random Troll, 27 Oct 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Wrap-up Suggestion

    When ya get done (IF ya get done) with this "series"...
    You'll need to re-post as one single article.
    Sutible for saving, printing, framing, book-rights, movie-rights, etc. ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    juepucta, 28 Oct 2011 @ 3:36am

    keep it coming

    Nice! Keep these up and we'll be able to harness the power of Jack Valenti's corpse spinning in it's grave to provide clean energy for the whole continent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    A Dan (profile), 28 Oct 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Abetting theft

    You can cause roughly $1,000,000 of theft with one of these packs of tapes, but Amazon still irresponsibly sells them. 8&qid=1319835229&sr=8-2

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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