HMV was the monolith that tried in small ways to move with the dramatic changes in the video and TV industry, but from my perspective didn’t respond quickly enough. While I have a huge affection for the HMV brand, I also contributed to its demise by buying my media online, and rarely from them. Innovation and change is hard in a big organisation, but there are still avenues I believe they could have explored…
Why didn’t they start a true competitor to Love Film/Netflix?
Why didn’t they build cafes in their stores to attract people to linger to listen and explore music, which was the point of wandering their stores?
Why didn’t they partner with other stores, like having concessions in Sainsburys like Costa Coffee has?
Anyway, back to why I think their closure will hurt UK TV production. HMV was a browsing paradise that will simply disappear. No one else on the high street has the shelf space for media that HMV has, and especially for video. While there’s much talk of indie music stores who will probably benefit from the closure, there are no ‘indie video stores’ in the same way.
HMV sold a lot of impulse purchases. You walk past the store on a Saturday, you’ve got no plans for the evening, and £20 burning in your pocket, well, spend it on a DVD. Now that £20 will go on a shirt in River Island.
The big supermarkets will be the key physical/off line place for people to buy the latest video releases, but their catalogue is restricted to the top 10 plus family friendly greatest releases. There’s very little TV or low budget feature films on those shelves. What a shame HMV didn’t work out a way of stocking an aile in Sainsbury’s the way they did in airports, crammed with goodies. The supermarkets will simply resort to bestsellers.
Online stores will still offer a degree of browsing, but I think there will be a sharp decline in video purchasing. TV programmes will be hit most as they don’t have huge marketing budgets for promotion. For every Downton Abbey, there are a hundred releases with no promotion at all. And I think with HMV’s buying power removed from the equation, some distributors may have to reduce numbers manufactured. It all leads back to less money coming from post-broadcast sales for TV programmes. So with less profitability, production costs of the programme itself will have to be reviewed.
Unlike bands, who have had to get out touring with great frequency to pay the bills, a TV programme or low budget movie can’t go on tour. Though they could take the route that Hollywood has, and make a musical about it! Gavin and Stacey the musical would be spectacular – I want to see a duet with Gwen and Nessa dancing and singing the praises of omelettes!