Off the record and very hush-hush.
Brick and mortar was killed by...
Last night, Xbiz put on their annual awards show in Hollywood. This was my first official Xbiz event, and I had a great time.
The event is definitely more geared towards the online crowd than the traditional DVD format / brick and mortar crowd, so I was a little outta my element, but it was all good. Working for Hush Hush Entertainment has opened my eyes to the online side of the biz, and we started the evening off right by winning an award for our Hush Money affiliate program.
It was great to see some familiar faces from the DVD format there. I had a chance to talk to the king himself, Jules Jordan. I've always held Jules in high opinion, since I feel we came up in the biz on the same path. He's always been a role model for me, and I love just talking shop with him. Plus, he's never struck me as a "party" guy, he seems more content to take it easy, be chill and take it all in. That's how I tend to take these events as well, I'm just not the "get shitfaced drunk guy", I like to observe and mingle a bit, but just chilling with my friends is always the real highlight for me. It was great seeing my boy Craig from Digital Playground, Phil from Evasive Angles, Jeff from Gamelink, Mr. Pete, and of course the Hush Hush and Shane's World crew.
However, I had the sense of being overwhelmed by the new faces from the internet guys. It's a little sad to me to feel DVD and brick and mortar being squeezed out. I don't know if I'm just getting older, but I'm already nostalgic for the heyday of DVD. I'm not totally sold on the idea of little to no physical media representing our industry. It just seems like the piracy problem will be tenfold when the days of DVD are over. Maybe I'm wrong, I hope I am.
The thing that really saddens me though is that it seems no one has faith in brick and mortar stores anymore. It's somewhat understandable, I visit stores that are clearly not prepared for this new landscape of multiple platforms for content. When I go to stores still charging over $10 for VHS, I just shake my head. That stuff is just losing value every day. Blow it out...it's done! Why cling to it in hopes of that one guy who will pay $20 or more for it. I wish more brick and mortars would enact the systems necessary to compete with online. I wish more of them would comparison shop their prices vs. online, or even secret shop their competition down the street. I just wish they cared a little bit more. Enact a "What would Wal Mart do?" mentality. Not that Wal Mart is the paragon of virtue, but you can learn a lot from their way of doing business. But it feels more like there's a white flag of surrender being waved by brick and mortar stores. Apathy killed the porn store, not VOD.
There's still so many customers out there that want the tactile experience of choosing a DVD. They want the box, the artwork, the sense of collecting, the excitement gained by going into a well stocked porn store. But, so many stores have shifted from carrying the better movies in favor of carrying the cheaper product. We're killing the incentive for customers to go shop in our stores. The studios have dropped the ball in protecting their content from piracy. We're appealing to the lowest common denominator in our stores appearances, selection and price. We're not doing a good job people!
So many stores I go to remind me of the restaurants on Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. They are in that desperate to stay afloat stage, and clueless how to get back to the promised land. Then Gordon Ramsey comes in, and it's obvious to him what needs to happen to get this place back to prominence. Sometimes it's really simple stuff, sometimes he has really creative ideas for them, but most the time it's common sense stuff. Their apathy blinds them from seeing it. Apathy is our enemy now. So I have declared War on Apathy. We will not go silently into the night! We will stick our heads out the window and yell........"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" We shall overcome....stay tuned to this blog for the blueprint on how to win the war versus apathy!