Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-30-2013, 01:42 PM
gytalf2000 gytalf2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 3,065
When did VHS Tapes of movies become affordable to the masses?

The other day, I was trying to think of the time frame of mass ownership of commercial VHS tapes of popular movies and TV shows. I know that in the early and mid 1980s, most people just rented them from Blockbuster and the other video stores. At some point, they became affordable to the average person, and people began to amass their own movie collections on VHS. Did that start in the late 1980s?
Any info would be appreciated.
  #2  
Old 05-30-2013, 01:47 PM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,948
I seem to recall that you could buy Disney movies for around $24.95 in the mid-late '80s. If a movie happened to be a blockbuster you could also buy it on VHS for a reasonable price. I remember the Tim Burton "Batman" selling for about $15 at a local Walmart when it came out on home video.

Last edited by joebuck20; 05-30-2013 at 01:47 PM.
  #3  
Old 05-30-2013, 02:13 PM
gytalf2000 gytalf2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 3,065
Quote:
Originally Posted by joebuck20 View Post
I seem to recall that you could buy Disney movies for around $24.95 in the mid-late '80s. If a movie happened to be a blockbuster you could also buy it on VHS for a reasonable price. I remember the Tim Burton "Batman" selling for about $15 at a local Walmart when it came out on home video.


Mid-late 1980s? Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Thanks!


I still have a bunch of VHS tapes stored in boxes. I probably have 200 or more of the commercial variety, and about the same amount of personal VHS tapes that I used to record television shows on. I bought most of the movies from the mid-1990s to early 2000s.
  #4  
Old 05-30-2013, 02:16 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Quantum foam
Posts: 24,263
I remember rental clubs in the early 80s that cost over $100 to join. I worked at one in a mall that had membership fees up to $279 for highest level. I don't remember too much more about that. We sold used tapes, but I don't think they were very discounted. Maybe like 25% off the new prices which were often in the $89 to over $100 range.

Then, sometime by the late 80s/early 90s, things were all WAY cheaper.

No cites, all anecdotal.
  #5  
Old 05-30-2013, 02:17 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: oklahoma city
Posts: 7,886
To get kinda close, I remember that "Top Gun" came out on VHS and could be had for about $24.95, which was amazing, at the time.* The trick was, that you had to put up with the commercials at the beginning of the tape. That's the one that started it, IIRC. When was that, '86?



*Something makes me think that there was also the $69.95 version without commercials. Could be hallucinating, tho.

Last edited by handsomeharry; 05-30-2013 at 02:19 PM.
  #6  
Old 05-30-2013, 02:20 PM
gytalf2000 gytalf2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 3,065
Quote:
Originally Posted by handsomeharry View Post
To get kinda close, I remember that "Top Gun" came out on VHS and could be had for about $24.95, which was amazing, at the time.* The trick was, that you had to put up with the commercials at the beginning of the tape. When was that, '86?



*Something makes me think that there was also the $69.95 version without commercials. Could be hallucinating, tho.

Interesting! This is making feel a bit nostalgic...
  #7  
Old 05-30-2013, 02:25 PM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,948
Quote:
Originally Posted by handsomeharry View Post
To get kinda close, I remember that "Top Gun" came out on VHS and could be had for about $24.95, which was amazing, at the time.* The trick was, that you had to put up with the commercials at the beginning of the tape. That's the one that started it, IIRC. When was that, '86?



*Something makes me think that there was also the $69.95 version without commercials. Could be hallucinating, tho.
Yeah, I still remember the Diet Coke commercial at the beginning of the Batman tape. They also had one with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck for the Warner Brothers merchandise catalog.
  #8  
Old 05-30-2013, 02:59 PM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 15,124
ISTR VHS tapes of most movies being something like $40-50 bucks each up until the early 1990s, at which point they dropped, but to the comparatively high nadir of about $25 or so.

Considering that renting was under $5 for 2-3 days, and a movie ticket was only $6 or so, $25 for a movie was still astronomically high for most people, especially since (IIRC) movies came out on tape AFTER having been on cable first, and most people I knew just taped them from cable.

Movie collections in general didn't become a "thing" until sometime in the late 1990s when DVDs came out and were priced similarly to VHS tapes, but with much higher quality and durability. Eventually they became much cheaper as well, and came out prior to being released on cable- that's the big thing that made movie collections a big deal.
  #9  
Old 05-30-2013, 04:43 PM
Odesio Odesio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 11,384
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Tr...han#Home_media

According to Wikipedia, the Wrath of Khan VHS and Betamax cassettes were released in 1983 and sold for $40 whereas most other movies would have sold for $80. But, yeah, newly released videos were priced to rent for a few years but they started to come down in price by the mid-1990s. I bought the Indiana Jones VHS three movie bundle around 1995 or 1996 and I can't imagine I spent more than $60 for it.

I don't know if it's true but it looks like DVD was a real game changer for movies being priced to own rather than rent. I suspect whatever deal studios had with Blockbuster and their ilk did not apply to DVDs. Thus you could get a newly released movie on DVD for $20-30 rather than spending more on a VHS tape like you would have in 1995.
  #10  
Old 05-30-2013, 04:57 PM
Meltdown Meltdown is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 827
[Nostalgia Hijack] We got our first VHS player around 1984. Initially, the only thing we used it for was to records TV shows and movies off of broadcast TV (we didn't even have cable back then). This was the principal use for VCRs at the time (I think video rental places were just starting to take off). In fact, we used to have a device that looked like the trigger to an explosive device you see in cheesy movies. It hooked into the VHS player, and you clicked it to pause the recording during commercials (and then clicked it again to resume recording after the commercial was over). Does everyone else remember doing this? Also, does anyone want to buy a collection of VHS tapes of movies recorded off the TV with no commercials? [/Nostalgia Hijack]
  #11  
Old 05-30-2013, 05:08 PM
That Don Guy That Don Guy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,740
Most films started out costing $100 or so; at one point, Entertainment Weekly magazine referred to this as "Priced for Rental" (i.e. only rental stores would actually buy the tapes, since they would make back the money in rentals). About three months later, when pretty much everybody who wanted to rent the movie had already done so, the prices would drop to $30 or so.

The exceptions tended to be (a) movies that the studios figured people would want to watch over and over again (usually animation or other titles aimed at children), and (b) boxed sets of TV shows; those started out at affordable prices.

In my opinion, the only reason the same thing wasn't done with DVDs was, at first, there weren't enough DVD players to make widespread DVD rental particularly profitable, so DVDs were priced to sell to the early adopters. When DVDs replaced VHS tapes as the media of choice, somebody noticed that they weren't losing as much money as they thought when they released the DVDs at the lower price point, so they stayed that way.
  #12  
Old 05-30-2013, 05:20 PM
BurnMeUp BurnMeUp is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Redmond, WA USA
Posts: 3,407
I remember there being videos "priced to rent" even up until Pulp Fiction came out on VHS. Many of the movies would release at the higher prices and you'd have to wait for the used units to creep into sale bins rather than paying the $60+ prices.
  #13  
Old 05-30-2013, 05:38 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: the Keystone State
Posts: 13,626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
...I don't know if it's true but it looks like DVD was a real game changer for movies being priced to own rather than rent. I suspect whatever deal studios had with Blockbuster and their ilk did not apply to DVDs. Thus you could get a newly released movie on DVD for $20-30 rather than spending more on a VHS tape like you would have in 1995.
IIRC the previous arrangement for video rentals was that the individual shops would buy a tape direct from the studio for a $100 or so and have the lifetime rights to that tape. What Blockbuster did differently was sign deals with the studios where they got the tapes (& later DVDs) for cheap or even free, but shared the revenue from rentals with the studios. Now everyone does that; even Netflix. Anecdotally I remember Blockbuster had two big differences from the mom-&-pop shops from when I was a kid; they actually kept the tapes on the shelf instead of just the empty boxes to take to the counter, and they had no backroom filled with adult videos. That must've saved a lot on space.
__________________
No Gods, No Masters
  #14  
Old 05-30-2013, 06:07 PM
Icerigger Icerigger is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: The Keystone State
Posts: 3,358
When we got our first VCR in 1981 the blank tapes were $25.00!
  #15  
Old 05-30-2013, 06:46 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Studios tried several strategies to sell VHS tapes. The initial offerings were never intended for rental, and indeed lawsuits happened to try and prevent rentals. So the first answer to the OP is, "immediately." That is, in the late 1970's. I mean, $30 was a lot of money in 1979, but certainly "affordable" as far as entertainment goes.

Then they tried making them more expensive, to account for the loss of revenue to the rental stores. By 1983, some titles were $80 or more, while others remained "priced to own" (we called it "sell-through pricing") around $20-30. Generally it was the more popular movies priced cheaper, while older and/or less popular titles (called "library" or "catalog" titles in the industry) stayed high. Those were intended for sale to collectors and to rental stores, people who were more willing to part with big bucks to have an older movie.

This stayed pretty much the same until Revenue Sharing was attempted in the late 90's. With revenue sharing, the rental stores paid less per copy the more copies they bought. The catch was that the tape itself still belonged to the distributor - we couldn't sell them as Previously Viewed Tapes, they had to be boxed up and shipped back to the distributor, who would remove our store labels and repackage the tapes for resale to discount stores. Revenue shared movies were the big titles, the new releases, and priced at rental, not sell-through prices (although as I said, the price per tape when down the more you ordered. But order just one, and it would be around $100.)

IIRC, sell-through prices came an average of 3 months after rental prices. So if you'd just be patient, you could get a (new, not pre-viewed) movie for $20 or less 3 months after it came out for rental, more often than not.

The last major theatrical release to be put out on VHS was A History of Violence, in 2006. Fitting in a way, I guess.

Oh, look. Guess I could have just linked to this. That's how I remember it as well. (Blockbuster Manager 1992-1999)

Last edited by WhyNot; 05-30-2013 at 06:47 PM.
  #16  
Old 05-30-2013, 07:28 PM
gytalf2000 gytalf2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 3,065
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Studios tried several strategies to sell VHS tapes. The initial offerings were never intended for rental, and indeed lawsuits happened to try and prevent rentals. So the first answer to the OP is, "immediately." That is, in the late 1970's. I mean, $30 was a lot of money in 1979, but certainly "affordable" as far as entertainment goes.

Then they tried making them more expensive, to account for the loss of revenue to the rental stores. By 1983, some titles were $80 or more, while others remained "priced to own" (we called it "sell-through pricing") around $20-30. Generally it was the more popular movies priced cheaper, while older and/or less popular titles (called "library" or "catalog" titles in the industry) stayed high. Those were intended for sale to collectors and to rental stores, people who were more willing to part with big bucks to have an older movie.

This stayed pretty much the same until Revenue Sharing was attempted in the late 90's. With revenue sharing, the rental stores paid less per copy the more copies they bought. The catch was that the tape itself still belonged to the distributor - we couldn't sell them as Previously Viewed Tapes, they had to be boxed up and shipped back to the distributor, who would remove our store labels and repackage the tapes for resale to discount stores. Revenue shared movies were the big titles, the new releases, and priced at rental, not sell-through prices (although as I said, the price per tape when down the more you ordered. But order just one, and it would be around $100.)

IIRC, sell-through prices came an average of 3 months after rental prices. So if you'd just be patient, you could get a (new, not pre-viewed) movie for $20 or less 3 months after it came out for rental, more often than not.

The last major theatrical release to be put out on VHS was A History of Violence, in 2006. Fitting in a way, I guess.

Oh, look. Guess I could have just linked to this. That's how I remember it as well. (Blockbuster Manager 1992-1999)


Thanks! I appreciate the info and the link.
  #17  
Old 05-30-2013, 09:07 PM
Student Driver Student Driver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 2,451
Quote:
Originally Posted by BurnMeUp View Post
I remember there being videos "priced to rent" even up until Pulp Fiction came out on VHS. Many of the movies would release at the higher prices and you'd have to wait for the used units to creep into sale bins rather than paying the $60+ prices.
This was one of the primary reasons I was a laserdisc collector. When discussing now why laserdisc was always a niche format, writers often point to the high cost of movies ($20-$50 for a standard one- or two-disc movie, $60 for Criterion), but in comparison to buying VHS, it was downright cheap. Often only blockbusters and children's video were available at "sell-through" prices on VHS when first released. If you wanted anything else on VHS, you either paid $100, waited until the studios allowed used cassettes to be sold months later for $30, or prayed that the movie had enough legs to eventually go to sell-through prices. Niche movies, art-house, and catalogue titles on VHS often never went to sell through. I often owned LD movies months or years before friends could afford them on VHS, got them new instead of used, got better A/V and more features, yet spent less overall.
  #18  
Old 05-30-2013, 09:12 PM
Quimby Quimby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: NJ
Posts: 7,225
The first movie I remember being priced to buy was Batman. It also was the first one recall coming out less than a year after the movie came out.
  #19  
Old 05-30-2013, 09:46 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 地球
Posts: 27,271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quimby View Post
The first movie I remember being priced to buy was Batman. It also was the first one recall coming out less than a year after the movie came out.
The first movie I had was Hoosiers, which McDonald's was selling for really cheap if you bought a meal there. It seemed like everyone had it on tape after that promotion.
  #20  
Old 05-30-2013, 10:11 PM
stui magpie stui magpie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 1,675
In Australia I think it was the very early 90's before VHS movies became cheap to buy. I ended up getting pretty much the whole disney collection for the kids. That was as smart as buying that set of encyclopedias in hindsight.

But blank tapes were always cheap, as far back as I can recall. I remember hooking two VCR's together playing a borrowed movie in one of them and copying it onto a blank tape in the other.
  #21  
Old 05-30-2013, 11:08 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 13,209
Quote:
Originally Posted by joebuck20 View Post
I seem to recall that you could buy Disney movies for around $24.95 in the mid-late '80s. If a movie happened to be a blockbuster you could also buy it on VHS for a reasonable price.
Maybe you could buy "classic" Disney movies for that price, but I remember that when I was a kid ('80s and early '90s) if we wanted a newer Disney movie like The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast we had to wait until used copies became available. IIRC after a movie had been available to rent for a while the video stores would sell off a bunch of their used copies and keep just a few to continue renting out. $25 sounds about right for these used copies, but whatever they cost new it was too much for my family to afford.
  #22  
Old 05-30-2013, 11:27 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Disney's always been an entity unto themselves. They, for a couple of decades, anyhow, decided on a 7 year release schedule, to hit every generation of 7 year olds with their collection as if they were new movies. It was rather brilliant. They were either available at sell-through prices, or not available at all for another 7 years.

There was a time midway between releases of The Little Mermaid when you couldn't buy a copy of the VHS for under $300. It was insanity. Most of my stores didn't even have it for rental, because people figured out they could rent it and then never return it. They'd gladly pay our $100 "MSRP" (the computer automatically reverted any movie that we couldn't actually order to $99.99) as that was the "replacement cost" of their "lost" tape. But even we couldn't order a new copy for our own rental collection, so we'd just not have it.
  #23  
Old 05-31-2013, 01:07 AM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NY USA
Posts: 7,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quimby View Post
The first movie I remember being priced to buy was Batman. It also was the first one recall coming out less than a year after the movie came out.
It wasn't the first that was priced to own, but I too remember it being the very first 'quick' release. Nowadays it's an established, rigid cycle of promotion, release domestic, release worldwide, PPV, then DVD etc. but back in the early VHS days it routinely took years for any film of even modest popularity to get released on video. The top grossers (i.e. Jaws, The Godfather, the Star Wars movies etc.) took even longer.

But Burton's Batman was released in theaters in Jan or Feb of '89 and was a huge hit (for a while I think the only one in the top ten that wasn't a Lucas and/or Spielberg production). So I specifically remember being shocked when I saw a sign at a department store that summer with just the Bat Symbol and "Coming this Fall" below it. i actually had to ask if that meant what I thought it did.

Now that I think of it, it may have been the first blockbuster that was released initially as priced to own ($20-25). Before that the big films first came out priced to rent ($89.99) for a year or two then dropped.
  #24  
Old 05-31-2013, 01:09 AM
denquixote denquixote is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,558
I never bought new releases but I began collecting VHS movies in the late seventies. I never paid more than $30 dollars for a movie. I can specifically remember joining the Time-Life Video club and getting movies $19.95. Not new releases though, these were by and large 50 and 60 dollars. I too paid $24.95 for a blank VHS tape from 1975 to maybe 1980.
  #25  
Old 05-31-2013, 06:01 AM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdown View Post
[Nostalgia Hijack] We got our first VHS player around 1984. Initially, the only thing we used it for was to records TV shows and movies off of broadcast TV (we didn't even have cable back then). This was the principal use for VCRs at the time (I think video rental places were just starting to take off). In fact, we used to have a device that looked like the trigger to an explosive device you see in cheesy movies. It hooked into the VHS player, and you clicked it to pause the recording during commercials (and then clicked it again to resume recording after the commercial was over). Does everyone else remember doing this?
Our family had a Beta VCR about 1983 or so and I remember Dad using a "bomb release" remote control like the one you describe to pause/restart recording when he was taping things off TV/

IIRC pre-recorded VHS cassettes were quite expensive to buy in New Zealand until the early/mid-1990s when they suddenly dropped to about $25-$40 or so - not spectacularly cheap but not unaffordable, either.

What surprises me is the now exponentially shorter delay between a cinema run and DVD/Blu-Ray release. As someone mentioned earlier, it used to take months or even years for movies to get a VHS release after they were finished in the theatre - now it seems to be about 6 weeks (and sometimes there are movies which I'm sure are still playing in the theatre when the DVD comes out too.)
  #26  
Old 05-31-2013, 10:03 AM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,948
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
But Burton's Batman was released in theaters in Jan or Feb of '89 and was a huge hit (for a while I think the only one in the top ten that wasn't a Lucas and/or Spielberg production). So I specifically remember being shocked when I saw a sign at a department store that summer with just the Bat Symbol and "Coming this Fall" below it. i actually had to ask if that meant what I thought it did.
Batman was released in theaters June 23, 1989.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_%281989_film%29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martini Enfield View Post
What surprises me is the now exponentially shorter delay between a cinema run and DVD/Blu-Ray release. As someone mentioned earlier, it used to take months or even years for movies to get a VHS release after they were finished in the theatre - now it seems to be about 6 weeks (and sometimes there are movies which I'm sure are still playing in the theatre when the DVD comes out too.)
I seem to recall turnaround times of about 5-6 months in the late 80s and early 90s, from when a movie hit theaters to when it was released on video. The last movie I can remember having to wait a really long time for it to come out on video was Jurassic Park. I think it was more than a year after it hit theaters before it was released on VHS.

Anyway, at our local dollar theater, it's not uncommon to see movies playing after they've been released on video. They tend to get movies about two or three months after their original release, more if the movie happens to be a blockbuster. I think the last Twilight movie was still playing a month after it was released on DVD.

Last edited by joebuck20; 05-31-2013 at 10:06 AM.
  #27  
Old 05-31-2013, 07:35 PM
TBG TBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 8,592
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdown View Post
[Nostalgia Hijack] We got our first VHS player around 1984. Initially, the only thing we used it for was to records TV shows and movies off of broadcast TV (we didn't even have cable back then). This was the principal use for VCRs at the time (I think video rental places were just starting to take off). In fact, we used to have a device that looked like the trigger to an explosive device you see in cheesy movies. It hooked into the VHS player, and you clicked it to pause the recording during commercials (and then clicked it again to resume recording after the commercial was over). Does everyone else remember doing this? Also, does anyone want to buy a collection of VHS tapes of movies recorded off the TV with no commercials? [/Nostalgia Hijack]
We had one of those, but a lot earlier than 1984. Then in 84 we got robbed and they took that VCR, and the replacement we got had an actual honest to goodness remote control with no cord or anything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quimby View Post
The first movie I remember being priced to buy was Batman. It also was the first one recall coming out less than a year after the movie came out.
Yeah, I was quite shocked when I found out Batman was not only going to be cheap enough to buy, but also going to be out before the end of the year.

Nowadays you have places willing to take your money to preorder blurays/dvd's of movies that have only been in theaters for a couple of weeks. I can't imagine what kids today would think knowing how long a wait was for movies to come to video if you missed the theatrical run. Of course go back a little further and there was no home video at all.

Last edited by TBG; 05-31-2013 at 07:39 PM.
  #28  
Old 05-03-2015, 06:51 PM
da9iel da9iel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
ISTR VHS tapes of most movies being something like $40-50 bucks each up until the early 1990s, at which point they dropped, but to the comparatively high nadir of about $25 or so.

Movie collections in general didn't become a "thing" until sometime in the late 1990s when DVDs came out and were priced similarly to VHS tapes, but with much higher quality and durability. Eventually they became much cheaper as well, and came out prior to being released on cable- that's the big thing that made movie collections a big deal.
Posting in an ancient thread, but since this comment is so far off the mark (by about a decade), I thought I'd chime in.

People have had movie collections since the first VCR was introduced in the '70s. Many of the early collections were recorded (and meticulously labelled) from cable or satellite. By the time I was 14 in 1984, my best friend's dad already had a collection of several hundred films, all neatly organized on shelving he'd built right next to his entertainment center (which consisted of a nice sized, '80s television, and a very expensive stereo system with massive speakers... his tv was routed through the speakers as well, via what was then called an amplifier, which was basically a central hookup and audio selector that output directly to the speakers). He was not the only person I knew with a VHS collection or with a home entertainment setup, and it was not something solely for the rich - this was a typical middle class family.

As for official VHS releases, they were already under $15 when I graduated from high school in 1988. I still have most of my collection, which I purchased in college - and most of them still have their price stickers (I would cut the bottom of the plastic wrap off to remove the cassettes, leaving the boxes protected), and they cost anywhere from $9.99 to $19.99, most of them were $12.99.

My first DVD player was purchased in May of 1998, and it was a second generation player, meaning it could read dual-layer discs. By the time I had a DVD player, I'd been collecting studio released VHS for over a decade, and my recorded collection went all the way back to about 1984, when I was old enough to start purchasing my own VHS tapes to record shows on the family VCR.
  #29  
Old 05-03-2015, 07:16 PM
da9iel da9iel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 2
Additional infos...

Just wanted to add a link to some good info:

https://entertainment-industry.knoji...ovie-industry/

Not sure if anyone remembers, but Disney films were always very expensive in the '80s, and they ran $29.95. The first animated film released by Disney was Dumbo in 1985 (at $29.95), and it was a pretty big deal. I still have most of my family's VHS copies of Disney films, some of them from the second half of the 80s, before I started collecting religiously in college.
  #30  
Old 05-06-2015, 12:44 PM
Nom_de_Plume Nom_de_Plume is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 380
I seem to remember Beverly Hills Cop being available right away for, like, $19.95, which is the first affordable VHS I can remember. (I still rented it and copied it, though.)
  #31  
Old 05-06-2015, 01:19 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the Dreaming
Posts: 21,638
Well, the real thing was the legal fight about being able to record and watch movies at home without breaking copyrights. Once the studios lost that fight, it was over. They could either sell movies at more reasonable prices and take the income from that, or they could watch people trade VHS tapes of their movies and get nothing.
  #32  
Old 05-06-2015, 01:25 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 19,905
I can remember a neighbor who had a stack of VCRs so he could make multiple copies of movies. This was before video stores, and I think he sold them at flea markets and other black market venues. Most of his day was spent shoving tapes into recorder/players. Tapes, both recorded and blank, were expensive, and so were recorders back then. It was a rather limited market, even in Los Angeles.

Ah, memories!
  #33  
Old 05-06-2015, 05:46 PM
Gerald II Gerald II is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 400
I had no idea VHS tapes were so expensive at one point. I remember my family had a VCR and we would rent videos from the mom and pop rental shops. I don't recall during that time ever actually seeing VHS tapes for sell anywhere. It was around the late 80s that I started to see chain rental stores like Wherehouse, Music Plus, and Blockbuster, and that's when I started seeing VHS tapes sold, along with laser disc I think. By the mid 90s I remember seeing VHS tapes sold at places like Sam Goody and Target for like $15 bucks, and they were a lot lighter too.

Last edited by Gerald II; 05-06-2015 at 05:47 PM.
  #34  
Old 05-06-2015, 07:27 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Quantum foam
Posts: 24,263
Used to have buy a membership to a video rental club. The one nearest my house was $200 yearly.

Dropped to $0 membership rather quickly. No idea if they offered refunds.
  #35  
Old 05-09-2015, 08:35 AM
Kiyoshi Kiyoshi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Liverpool, UK
Posts: 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by AncientHumanoid View Post
Used to have buy a membership to a video rental club. The one nearest my house was $200 yearly.

Dropped to $0 membership rather quickly. No idea if they offered refunds.
Do I understand right that they originally charged $200 per year, plus a charge for each tape you rented?!
  #36  
Old 05-09-2015, 09:04 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Absolutely. That was because of the legal issues that plagued the industry early on. The distributors argued that renting movies violated the distribution license, because it became public entertainment. The video rentals responded by making their customers "members" of a private club, therefore no longer the public.

The fact that the entry fee was exorbitant was either because they could get it, so why not, or it was intended to act as a security deposit in case you stole the tape you rented...depending on who you asked.

Blockbuster continued to call their customers members until they closed. If I recall correctly, the membership fee through the early nineties was $50, but if you provided a credit card number for us to keep in the computer, we would waive the membership fee. I can't remember if we called it a membership fee or a security deposit.

They dropped it somewhere in the mid nineties, as part of their larger efforts to fellate the customers into not going to Netflix.
  #37  
Old 05-09-2015, 09:47 AM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Quantum foam
Posts: 24,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiyoshi View Post
Do I understand right that they originally charged $200 per year, plus a charge for each tape you rented?!
Yep
  #38  
Old 05-11-2015, 02:53 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 19,905
This link, about Fotomat, is relevant:
Quote:
Fotomat was one of the first companies to offer movies for rent on videocassette—a new concept then—starting in December 1979. Customers would browse through a small catalog, call a number and order the movie or movies of their choice. The following day, the customer would pick up the cassette at the Fotomat kiosk of their choice. The rental cost was $12 per title (the equivalent of $35.50 in 2010) and the customer could keep it for five days. The price was later reduced to $9.95 for a five-day rental. The service was called "Fotomat Drive-Thru Movies."

Initially, only Paramount Pictures entered into an agreement with the chain to offer their movies for rent. Among the 131 titles available were The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II, Grease, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Meatballs, French Postcards, American Hot Wax, The War of the Worlds, The Onion Field, Hurricane, I Go Pogo: The Movie, Pretty Baby, The Psychic, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Fraternity Row, Black Sunday, Marathon Man, Death Wish, Murder on the Orient Express, Barbarella and Airplane!.

These titles were distributed directly by Fotomat and were of a uniform design with a black, die-cut cardboard case and a black label that included a white title as well as Paramount's stylized logo, but otherwise no artwork or color. In addition, a Fotomat logo accompanied by a four-tone sound would play before the start of each movie. The logo included an artistic representation of the company's famous yellow mansard roof.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017