92 year old entertainment chain, HMV, has seen its last days after filing for administration
The recession has claimed many a good business in the last few years but none will be as missed as 92 year old high street entertainment store HMV. The recent news of HMV's poor financial state, resulting in the company filing for administration, is heart breaking for many entertainment lovers but it comes as no surprise, much like Virgin mega stores and Zavvi before it. For the last few years the company has failed to run its 238 stores nationwide due to the fierce competition from online retailers such as Amazon. Gone are the days when people ran down to their local record shop to purchase their favourite band's new single, along with customers buying new film releases. Everything has been transformed for an internet age where people no longer buy a product but they download a file in order to obtain their new album or film.
HMV's decent into administration is a direct effect of the entertainment buisness' transformation over the last decade. With the increase of people buying and downloading music and films online, it has become impossible for companies such as HMV to regain the status that it once had. Apple's iTunes had a huge part to play in the transformation of the entertainment industry. With basically everyone owning some form of apple products, whether its an iPod or iPhone, Apple's quick and simple iTunes proved far too advanced for HMV who lacked the ability to offer it's customers the same simple service. Swedish music company, Spotify, can also share some of the blame. In recent year Spotify has grown from a small company to one of the most popular places for people to enjoy the music they love for a free six month trial period. When compared, it is easy to see how HMV failed to compete against Spotify. The likes of internet websites such as Amazon can also take a fair share of the blame when it comes to the crippling of HMV. Amazon, much like iTunes, offers quick delivery and far cheaper deals, you could easily buy a DVD on Amazon for half the price of a DVD in HMV. These deals could never be challenged by HMV who failed to challenge its competition. Yet Amazon lacks the prestige that attracted so many people to HMV over the years, HMV offered customers the chance to search around and find a hidden gem. A past time that you could easily loose yourself in, passing the hours by. But if you try do this on Amazon your simply scrolling through page after page, a rather dull and laborious task.
Its not only Amazon and iTunes that can claim the blame, online film distributors such as Netflix and Lovefilm (owned by Amazon) also hammered the nails into the coffin. Netflix and Lovefilm both offer the service of downloading films onto televisions, computer, tablets and game consoles. Much like iTunes, this easy and quick service challenged HMV's old school format and much like Amazon, they both managed to create a quicker service for cheaper. Both Netflix and Lovefilm offer a free month trial period, a period many people abuse, and then after this free trial its only in the region of £5-£10 a month. So for £5 a month you can watch as many films as you want, where ever you want but at HMV you will be lucky to pick up a recently released DVD for anything under £10.
In recent years HMV made some bold business choices in order to help increase their finical problems, such as the purchase of eleven music venues around London. Not only did they purchase music venues but also branched out into cinema, working alongside independent cinema chain Curzon in Wimbledon. Yet these fruitful endeavors proved a failure as they did not manage to rake in enough finical profit to carry on. Not only did HMV purchase venues and cinemas, but they also brought indie entertainment chain Fopp in 2007, a chain that obtains a strong following due to their commitments at selling low priced DVDs, as well as offering a wider range of genres such as foreign films then HMV have. The future of Fopp is unclear but it really would be a great shame to see such an excellent company go out of business.
All these problems have accumulated over the last few years to bring HMV down to its knees and in dire jeopardy, seeking a new owner quick. If a new owner is found something drastic will have to be done to the company so it keeps up with the modern era. Something such as offering a music download store very much like iTunes, possibly for a cheaper rate. Also offering an online film distributing system. Also smaller changes such as decreasing their sky high prices such as £30 blu-ray offers and £15 new DVD releases. By HMV offering this multi-platformed release system it gives its customers the opportunity to shop how they like. Older generations and fans of the shop can purchase physical products in-store and younger generations can embrace the internet and download their products. HMV's purchase of one of the Curzon branches could also be improved by offering more for its customers, include mainstream films as well as independent and foreign films, offering this wide range will attract a wider range of people, resulting in more money for the company.
Many people can recall spending weekends in HMV, rummaging through the endless aisles of DVDS, CDs and games, spending their pocket money for their new favorite game. But this rich heritage looks like it has seen its last days. Gone are the days of HMV, a sad day for any film buffs, gaming nerds or music lovers.