Videotape to DVD Conversion Services Offer Retailers
A Turnkey Profit Maker
by Diane Berkenfeld
As years passed, the video camera took over, first using full size VHS tapes, then shrinking down to the smaller VHS-C or Hi-8 formats. But after awhile these rectangular tapes and their boxes began to pile up. Viewing home videos, for most consumers, usually meant hooking up the video camera to the television set. Those whose cameras used the more cumbersome VHS-sized tapes could pop them right into a VCR for playback while VHS-C tapes used a VHS adapter for playback on a VCR.
In another sea change for the industry, many of today's video cameras now use digital video or mini DV tape. Hitachi, on the other hand, has turned to DVD-RAM media for their digital camcorders. And thanks to film to video conversion services, baby-boomers could take a stroll down memory lane at the push of a button once their old home movies were transferred to tape.
Conversion was also easy between video formats—just hook the video camera to a VCR, or in the case of a tape that could be played on a standard VCR, simply wire the two decks together. Few consumers though had the where-with-all to do it themselves, settling instead on searching out retailers who offered such conversion services. For the photo specialist retailer, it was not hard to devote a section of the store to such a service. Since not everyone had the space, time or employee resources, outsourcing to a company such as Denevi Video Reflections was another solution. An ad, circa 1960 from the pages of PTN, for 8mm movie equipment.
Welcome to the New World
The 21st century has brought with it another transition, from video to digital video, CD and DVD. "The digital transition is well underway and consumers are embracing digital video technologies at a fever pitch," said Sean Wargo, senior industry analyst for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). "We can expect sales of video products, especially digital formats to maintain strong sales in the coming months as these adoption trends continue." According to 2001 CEA market research, DVD players reached the 25% market penetration faster than any product in consumer electronics history.
As DVD players become the norm for viewing Hollywood movies—along with being an excellent way to archive a family's special moments—the next step for photo specialty is to offer customers DVD conversion services from both old home movies and videos.
Two of the main companies offering such services as a turnkey solution for retailers are Denevi Video Reflections and YesVideo.
Unlike 8mm and Super 8mm film, experts don't see videotape disappearing altogether. As Frank Denevi put it, "All forms of media have a place and a purpose and the future is strong for both Video and DVD."
According to Bob Wilson, vp, Sales and Marketing for YesVideo, VCRs will still be sold just as turntables are still sold today. "There will be a diminishing market for those who own copyrighted material that they don't want to pay to transfer to DVD," Wilson said. "They will need a new VCR when the current one dies."
The early adopters have made the move to converting their videotapes and films to DVD and the mass market is moving that way but there are those, such as the older generations, that aren't likely to switch.
Denevi explained that the early adopters have been the younger generations who are already familiar with computers and electronics.
As more and more manufacturers put DVD burning capabilities into computers, does that mean DVD conversion services might one day become obsolete?
Denevi says no, explaining that there are still people who send them film. He predicts his company will transfer 12 million feet of movie film to video and DVD this year. "Especially today more than ever, people are thinking of their families," and archiving cherished memories. He estimated that only a quarter of his current orders are for conversion to DVD, the rest are to videotape.
Ron Glaz, digital imaging analyst at IDC noted, "I don't think there will be a time that a conversion service will not be needed. What I expect to see happening is that during the next few years there will be a significant growth in users who want to convert video to DVD, that demand will cause growth in conversion providers." YesVideo equates conversion at home with changing the oil in one's car. It is very cheap to change your car's oil yourself, and quite easy, but how many people have the time to do it themselves?