Eulogies for the Video Store: Remembering the Practices and Objects of the Rental Era
Williams, K, Eulogies for the Video Store: Remembering the Practices and Objects of the Rental Era, Australian Screen in the 2000s, Palgrave Macmillan, MD Ryan and B Goldsmith (ed), Australia, pp. 321-340. ISBN 978-3-319-48298-9 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]
The closure of a local video store, following a flash sale of merchandise from DVDs to film posters, has been a common occurrence across Australia over the last decade. Since 2005, video stores have been framed in public discourse as the victims of a rapidly evolving distribution landscape for screen content, wherein subscription video on demand (SVOD) and piracy are understood as the reasons for their closure. In May 2016, there were 1140 video stores in operation across Australia, down from 3387 in 2006–2007. In order to understand consumer reactions to this decline, this chapter examines how video stores have been historicised and, in the process, eulogised, in the mainstream media and in online communities. This process of eulogising reflects how audiences and critics are making sense of the impermanence of video stores and their associated material objects and practices. While the decline of video stores may be popularly understood as one film medium (physical DVD discs and VHS tapes) being replaced by others (SVOD and digital downloads), this chapter instead turns to narratives that complicate the notion of a logical progression whereby one improved technology replaces another. I analyse the media coverage of, and public commentary about, the death of video stores to uncover what Nathan Hunt refers to as a ‘memory narrative’: the discursive and nostalgic space surrounding home video consumption.
Research Book Chapter
Screen studies, film studies, nostalgia, media studies, video stores