Family Video Closure Makes Me Sad, Sentimental, and Nostalgic
Before I get started, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven't rented movies since I don't know when. But that doesn't mean I'm not sad to hear this news about Family Video.
The family-owned company opened for business in 1978 and thrived, even as contemporaries like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video had to shutter once digital offerings became more and more available.
And the company was doing fine until the COVID-19 hit, in earnest, last March. Not only did the Midwest-based rental chain have to join other non-essential businesses in closing for 60 days at the start of the pandemic, according to CBS, but it also had to deal with the drastic changes experienced by the film industry.
Family Video having to close all its doors is the type of thing that never occurred to me while having discussions with friends about seeing movies in theaters. Nowadays, it's just not uncommon to find households that feature GIGANTIC televisions with state-of-the-art sound capabilities. So theatrical releases play very well in the living room.
And I guess that's how a company like Family Video gets hamstrung. The release schedule in 2020 dropped WAY off because of the pandemic, leaving home video releases in the lurch.
I just don't like seeing what seems like the end of an entire industry. I remember, very well, going to the video store on Friday night and loading up for the weekend. And I remember how long I'd look if I couldn't find what I'd come for. Seriously, if I had a title in mind and the rental place didn't have it, I might be there an hour or more looking for SOMETHING to rent.
It was a big deal.
And, boy, was it ever EXCITING when I DID find what I wanted to rent.
I've always been impressed with Family Video maintaining a successful business model after the advent of streaming services. It was a seismic cultural shift that ruined its competitors and yet it remained strong.
But a pandemic was not something the company or any of us saw coming.
Family Video could handle massive changes in technology, but not a microbe one-billionth our size.
So, yeah, I'm kinda sad.