Pretty Little Liars Throwback Photos
Lieberfarb disagreed. Once the DVD came into being, he told me, millions of people would not only rent the discs but would also build up libraries of movies and TV shows. A multibillion-dollar market was out there, ready to burst forth. Luddites like me didn’t get it. But most of the Hollywood studios didn’t get it, either. In fact, most campaigned fiercely against it.
So here’s what happened to the DVD: It became a gigantic success. It changed the economics of the entertainment industry as well as the habits of the moviegoing public. As for Lieberfarb, he got fired by Warner Bros, late last year. It seems the corporate culture couldn’t assimilate a feisty futurist. However, there were rumblings of discontent within Warner Bros, over his sudden termination. Here was a studio about to go to the market with the next iterations of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix, and the man who’d reinvented the video world was suddenly absent.
Not to worry, the studio told its filmmakers. The DVD would continue to flourish even though its godfather was no longer there to nurture it. After all, innovations survive their innovators.
One key reason why the DVD survived the tech craze of the ’90s was that one didn’t have to contort one’s normal habits to
assimilate its demands. Of course, there was now an inducement to install better speakers and a wider screenall the little refinements that were soon to be rechristened “home theater.” Still, who would think that millions of people around the world would actually buy a DVD player? All those consumers who turned their backs on other new technologies actually were seduced by the little silver platter.
The numbers tell the story: Last year viewers lavished $8.7 billion on DVDs, 61 percent more than the year before. Movie sales were up 19 percent, while rentals were down 3 percent. Naturally, Blockbuster, whose stock sank 32 percent after it revealed plunging revenues, blamed its problems on the tactics of Lieberfarb, who had long advocated lower-priced DVDs and DVD players.
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