To sell or not to sell...
It's been at least two years since I've had a request for vhs dubs so I'm thinking about selling my VHS duplication system. Is there any reason to hang on to this. I know that the day after I sell it I'll got a request for 100 copies LOL.
You should definately keep the system. Now, would you like to buy several boxes of T-10's, 15's and 60's? I'll make you a real good deal and throw in a nearly full case of VHS sleeves.
But seriously, some things I've seen in the past several months. Nearly EVERYONE these days has a DVD player in some form or another. Current generation writers, players and PCs seem to have fewer and fewer compatibility issues. We don't duplicate but have to send out approval copies and DVDs sure are easier to mail and FedEx.
On the flip side -- and I have NOT gone back to check old invoices -- I believe that those still doing VHS duplication in my market have crept up prices as they have less and less competition.
So, to quote H.L. Mencken: "For every complex question, there's a simple, easy answer... and it's usually wrong."
The simple answer (to me) is, if it's paid for itself, there's no reason not to keep it. Even small business generated by it is profit, right? You slack off on ordering fresh blank stock until you get an order.
My question would then be: at what point do I stop maintaining it and let the decks die off without getting replaced?
I think I might replace one or two of the bad decks with stand-alone Panasonic DVD recorders for making simple, short-run dubs that don't tie up an authoring system. Is the rack at all portable? Maybe you have a market for "instant-turnaround" at some local business or other events? Shoot the conference/event in the morning, sell them dubs as they check out of the hotel the next morning, or late the same day? Perhaps you can repurpose your gear in a creative way, is what I'm saying.
VHS isn't dead, it just smells funny.:-) The legacy installed base of users is huge. What we want to look at is how their usage of those VHS decks is changing, what the market segment is becoming.
Take an example from audiocassettes. I think very few people buy their music albums on cassettes any more, but the blank cassette tape makers are still doing good business. Surprisingly good. Who's buying the tape? People mixing down their CD's to car tapes because the car lacks a CD player. Those guys who advertise on the TV and radio for you to buy their 27-lesson realestate mogul training lecture programs are BIG users. Preachers with sermons. Books on tape for long-distance driving. Yes, podcasts ARE making inroads, but a market definitely remains, if you care to serve it.
Thanks Nick and Mark for taking the time to respond. I took a look on ebay just to see if people were unloading their dup systems. A number are trying but none have any bidders. One guy sold the same proc amp that I have for $30. I paid $600 OUCH! And yes Mark. The system has more than paid for itself as I got it about 8 years ago. Not a big deal, as I stare at it I wondered if it had any value...apparently not...the nature of the beast, anyone remember svhs? and soon to be SD/DV I think.
Here's my take.
A.) If the system is free and clear of debt, anything that it does is straight profit minus the electricity that it uses. There are still numerous productions that require VHS duplication, and though the list is shortening, it's still a profitable game.
B.) If the system is a burden, consider the fact that the VHS format has had a respectable life cycle and that you can expect to get some return on it if you sell it now. Granted, the profit side of selling the system seems to be lessened by the argument that DVDs are an ever increasingly preferred duplication format, but it won't be long before you'll be unable to buy a home entertainment system without a DVD burner in some form and VHS is functionally dead, at least in volume.
The VHS duplication business is not as lucrative as it has been, but it still shows life and above all else, it is still a draw in many markets. In my home market, there is a guy who does a very respectable amount of business with the university as they can guarantee compatibility with VHS tapes for classes. DVD does not offer this luxury for duplicated materials. He also stated that there are numerous children's programs that still distribute on VHS as the general consensus seems to be that a kid can scratch the crap out of a VHS before it stops playing back. I can stand witness to the alternative as not being true. If you do production of any kind and you have the option available to replicate VHS materials, there is a good chance that the system will generate revenue. Not as much as it once did, but unless the equipment is getting under foot, then profit is profit is profit.
Gainesville, Florida USA