The DVD collector...

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Rich, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Rich

    Rich Guest

    As my favorite artist, Prince, used to say, he doesn't like the term
    "fan" because it's short for "fanatic." Nowhere is this more true than
    the avid DVD collector. I'm not talking about the person who has 100
    DVDs on their shelves; no, I'm talking about folks who scour sales ads
    every week, check out DVD sites like to carefully research
    their purchases and run out to Best Buy or Circuit City or Wal-mart to
    get the $15 sale prices. These people own 400 or 500 or more DVDs and
    carefully catalogue their collections in fancy Excel spreadsheets or
    other database programs.

    Kevin Bonds, a telecommunications manager with ICMA-RC in Washington,
    is one of these "fans." He owns more than 700 DVDs on multiple
    bookshelves and loves to show them off to family and friends. "I have
    an addictive personality and I just like the thought of amassing a
    collection larger than anyone else's. ... Plus, I love movies. ...
    Also, I'm a big MTV Cribs fan, so I enjoy showing it off when I give
    visitors to my home a tour of my 120-inch-screen movie theater."

    He continued, " I track everything in an Excel spreadsheet, denoting
    the title, year released, MPAA rating and genre. ... I hope to go back
    and update the entries with primary stars and any awards won like
    Oscars, Golden Globes, etc."

    While there haven't been any real studies done on this group of
    people, the folks at the market-research firm NPD Group (
    have conducted some studies on purchasing habits and estimate that
    25.4 percent of heavy buyers -- classified as folks who purchase more
    than seven DVDs in three months, are 25-34. One would think that a
    large majority of these "fans" would be male, but that's not
    necessarily true. I posted a message on the D.C. Web Women's
    ( list serve and was surprised by the heavy
    response from women collectors.

    "I prefer spending quiet time at home with my boyfriend on the
    evenings so that is my main motivation to build my collection. We
    watch anywhere from two-to-three movies a night so it always helps to
    have a great collection on hand so we never get bored," said Elly
    Shariat a Creative Talent Recruiter for Boss Staffing.

    According to Russ Crupnick, senior VP industry analyst for NPD
    Entertainment, he's not surprised that I received a lot of responses
    to my inquiry. He thinks that women are still the primary shoppers in
    the family and that they make purchases for their kids and family
    members, and quite simply, "There's a lot of TV product that is very
    appealing to women -- Sex & the City is a great example."

    A lot of these "fans" will make impulse buys, but they also do
    extensive research on their upcoming purchases. They comparison shop
    on sites like, or they'll check out reviews on popular
    DVD-centric Web sites like DVD Talk (

    When asked what motivates these people, Geoffrey Kleinman, editor, DVD
    Talk (, said, "Packaged media has been around since
    The Bible, so it's no wonder that it still thrives so much today. I
    think many people are collectors of some sort by nature. DVDs enable
    you to take the feelings you have about your favorite films and
    express them by buying them and proudly displaying them on your DVD
    shelf. Also the cost of being a DVD collector isn't huge ... although
    it can add up."

    You would think that all of these DVD buyers and extreme collectors
    would have a negative impact on the home video-rental business, but
    Steve Swasey, director of corporate communications for Netflix
    ( thinks the company's site is all part of the
    research tool.

    "It's very complimentary, Netflix finds that many of our customers
    enjoy renting movies, but many of them enjoy buying them as well. If
    you see a great movie, they will rent the film first and if they
    really like it they'll buy it. Collectors really know what they want
    to purchase. We have movies for sell on our site that we sell for a
    reasonable price," said Swasey.

    Studios are doing their best to encourage people to purchase DVDs by
    releasing special editions, throwing more special features on the
    disks and more. "You see it most profoundly when they offer separate
    'super' special editions of DVDs. Select releases really get the royal
    treatment, like Sin City-Recut," said Kleinman. "There's no way that
    release would exist were it not for the super DVD fan. Unfortunately
    as much as they cater to them they often take advantage of their
    enthusiasm. I mean how many versions of Evil Dead 2 have been

    Our two sample fanatics had totally different opinions on whether
    extra features are the main reason for their purchases. Bonds said
    that special features and packaging doesn't influence him that much,
    while Shariat said, "Packaging is important. I always make sure to get
    the collectors or special edition versions and those have the prettier
    packaging as well as all the extra features such as different endings,
    scenes that have been cut out, etc. I tend to watch this first, before
    ever even watching the movie."

    The upcoming HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray war has the potential to freeze buying
    habits for consumers, but according to our fanatics, they not only
    expect format wars, but accept the inevitability of it. "I will always
    have to do upgrades, be it PC's, TV's and audio gear. ... Eventually
    My DVD playback platform will join the mix. It's just part of the
    technology cycle," said Bonds.

    Hollywood studios are hedging their bets and are trying to be platform
    neutral. Swasey said that Netflix is very excited about the upcoming
    change and that, "while format wars aren't good for consumers," they
    will support both formats. Kleinman thinks the studios aren't doing
    enough to get information to consumers. "There's a huge difference
    between the DVD launch eight years ago and the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray launch.
    Back then the Internet was emerging as a tool for DVD consumers to get
    their information; now it's the most important influencer in making
    their buying decisions."

    He added, "Many studios have seriously misstepped in dealing with the
    Internet and so far with HD-DVD & Blu-Ray they're showing little signs
    of ensuring that the online DVD sites are informed and involved. I
    just don't think they can afford not to embrace the online DVD world
    to assist in making a case for the next generation of DVD."

    Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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    Rich, Jan 26, 2006
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