Where have all the DVDs gone?

Popping in to town for my lunchtime leg-stretcher, I often call in to those few shops that still sell dvds to see if there are any bargains to be had. The number of shops that actually stock dvds seems to be falling; news of Fopp and Music Zone going into administration came this summer, and even the venerable HMV appears to be taking quite a beating at the moment. Of course, this is all due to us, dear reader: the internet shopper. Why pay the steep price in the high street when you can get the same product for much cheaper online? Only supermarkets like Sainsburys and Tesco have been able to compete. Prices for brand new releases have never been lower, thanks to the web, and older discs can be picked up for less than fiver – much less sometimes. 

While this is all good news for my wallet (and bad news for my dvd storage space at home), it does mean that the number of shops of interest to me on my local high street has fallen miserably. There are now only three dvd retailing establishments left for me to frequent: Woolworths, WH Smith and Sainsburys. None of these three have anything like a decent back catalogue to peruse, and I refuse to buy any new releases on the grounds that in six months time the price will be significantly discounted (yes, I’m a tight-arse – and proud of it).

So all I can hope for is that they have a decent sale on. And sometimes they do – just the other day I picked up Time Bandits and Withnail and I for £2 a piece from Woolies. Bargain. But when the same sale stretches on for weeks, it becomes a tad vexing. I’ll pop in on a Monday lunchtime, full of hope that a new sale will have started, with 2-disc SEs on offer for £1.99 or something. But no – hope to turns to disappointment as I inspect their shelves to see the likes of X-Men and Die Hard still on sale for £5, like they have been for the past two months. And the 5 years before that. Oh, and they have those really awful looking £1 “bargain” dvds starring some long forgotten star from the 80s, or someone reasonably famous like Sandra Bullock when she had just graduated up from high school plays and was happy to take anything that paid the rent.

But hope springs eternal, and I’ll be back there next Monday, just in case I’m missing out on a fantastic new sale. In the meantime, enjoy your high street dvd retailers while they’re still there: you never know when they’ll be forced to pack up and go the way of the do-do. And maybe that will encourage them to have more frequent sales for the likes of me.

Published by Gavin Midgley

Freelance film journalist, blogger and geek.

3 replies on “Where have all the DVDs gone?”

  1. I can’t feel at all sorry for hight street shops. They have failed to adapt to Internet competition. How can the justify such prices?I went into Game a few days ago, and there was not one deal that was better than anything I could get online. If I didn’t buy anything I would still feel ripped-off just seeing the prices. Customer service was also dreadful. The one thing shops have over online shopping is face to face customer service and they botch it with unhelpful, ignorant employees.I haven’t both a DVD in a shop in three years.

  2. I’d honestly be more inclined to go shopping on the high street for DVDs if the prices were *nearly* the same. Yes I know they are likely to be more but why SO much more? We mostly understand that when one of the big publishers decide to discount their back catalogue that just about every internet retailer worth talking to drops the prices of items from that publisher to about the same price. So many times have I seen promotions such as those ‘Warner Bros’ sales on as an example from places such as Amazon or Play.com. They just reflect the wholesale prices in an effort to shift stock. So why on earth do places on the high street assume that customers are stupid and won’t spot the hugely iniflated prices. Honestly I’m glad that many of the high street places are folding. It’s about time that they realised that fleecing customers for years is bad for business.

  3. I’ve been a regular at Music Zone for years but avoid HMV. When I was a kid, HMV was great for niche stuff but now it’s just mainstream fare.I do prefer to go to a shop but that’s becoming harder. I agree the RRPs are out of proportion

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