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Obscure DVDs – Where’s “The Long Tail”?

Today’s New York Times has an article on how obscure DVDs have a precarious future in a world dominated by big box stores. I find it a little disconcerting, because one of the great things about the DVD market is how it made obscure international and older films available.

What’s missing from this article, though, is any discussion of online retailers or Netflix, which I find bizarre, as The Long Tail is predicated on how the infinite shelf space of online stores means there’s a market (though possibly a very very small one) for anything. Are Amazon and Netflix unable to provide enough of a market for these DVD distributors? Or is something else going on here?

  1. I have never found video stores to be a satisfactory source for non-mainstream (not obscure-what a limiting and negative term) films. Not even Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon or the other online sources stock many of the interesting, even great and recognized film classics of my searchings.

    I won’t bother to list titles, but MY MOVIES at IMDB usually contains about 50 movies in my MUST SEE category, only a very small number of which could be considered obscure, many of them marked as reproduced on tape or DVD, but not one of them available for rent or purchase at any outlet whether chain, large, local or online that I can find.

    Of course, we take for granted whatever benefits we receive from the movie aftermarket venues and complain about their limitations. As well we should, we are only human.

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