Family Video is closing. What does the last of the major video rental chains have to do with DoBlu? A lot.
Because Family Video had a location within walking distance of my house, I’ve relied on them for all 12 years of DoBlu’s existence. Whatever the studios didn’t send screeners for, I marched to Family Video every single Tuesday, rented the discs for $2-$3, and the next day, DoBlu had reviews at barely any cost. Not anymore.
Disney/Fox no longer offers screeners. Universal and Lionsgate send enough each year to count on one hand – combined. While Warner and Paramount remain dedicated to sending discs, that’s not much to rely on. Redbox doesn’t stock 4K in my vicinity (but some Blu-ray is a possibility), and the online rental sites I also rely on – like Gamefly and 3D-BlurayRental – do not offer the same speed or guarantee of a local store.
Knowing that, in order to keep doing what DoBlu has always done, one of two things will happen. The first possibility is a significant drop in content. I’d guesstimate 40-50% of disc reviews came from Family Video rentals. That’s… a lot. And without that, undoubtedly, comes a downfall in traffic and eventually, well, let’s not consider that yet.
Second is a flurry of Patreon subscriptions. With enough funds, the potential to buy discs outright for review becomes a real possibility. That would require roughly $300-$400 per month to be feasible. Patreon was always an aside, some extra funds to help out in the background, from replacing disc drives to keeping equipment up to date. Now it would become the lifeline.
While dwindling as streaming takes hold, there’s still life in this small corner of the web. Late last year, DoBlu broke traffic records on the back of Lord of the Rings/Hobbit 4K reviews. That was a surprising moment, and honestly, were it not for that, the fall of Family Video likely would have been the end of us. However, I’m willing to give this a go. Much as I love doing this (no one would for 12+ years if they didn’t), there is a reality behind it.
Is it time? I don’t know. Let’s see where things go from here. Can’t financially help on Patreon? No worries – times are not good. But, if you know movie fans or people who could use high-res images (for crafts, for prop makers, film professors, etc), let them know!