Home Media Research – new publications!

Finally – some big news!

Please find below details of two edited collections that will be published towards the end of November/beginning of December 2017. Both provide insights into various home media platforms. They are edited by Jonathan Wroot and Andy Willis.

Cult Media: Re-packaged, Re-released and Restored

DVD, Blu-ray and Beyond: Navigating Formats and Platforms within Media Consumption




Cult Media summary and endorsements:

This volume brings together writing on the topic of home media, and in particular releases described as appealing to ‘cult’ fans and audiences. Despite popular assumptions to the contrary, the distributors of physical media maintain a vivid presence in the digital age. Perhaps more so than any other category of film or media, this is especially the case with titles considered ‘cult’ and its related processes of distribution and exhibition. The chapters in this collection chart such uses and definitions of ‘cult’, ranging from home media re-releases to promotional events, film screenings, file-sharing and the exploitation of established fan communities. This book will be of interest to the ever-growing number of academics and research students that are specializing in studies of cult cinema and fan practices, as well as professionals (filmmakers, journalists, promoters) who are familiar with these types of films.

“Through a range of illuminating case studies, this collection develops our understanding of cult media, an increasingly widespread and prominent term both culturally and commercially. Covering film and television, formal and informal distribution and public and private forms of exhibition, this collection maps the vital role cult plays in contemporary media culture, in categorising forms of media, in articulating audience taste and identity, and in complicating our conceptions of the media text and media ownership.” (Kate Egan, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, Aberystwyth University, UK)

“Wroot and Willis have assembled a terrific line up of scholars to interrogate the intricacies of cult media distribution and reception, from the VHS era to the digital age. Covering areas as diverse as Japanese horror, Nordic Noir, Brucesploitation and Bollywood from a range of methodological perspectives, Cult Media: Re-packaged, Re-released and Re-stored provides a lucid and engaging assessment of the afterlives of cult movies beyond the move theatre.” (Johnny Walker, Senior Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University, UK)

“Cult Media: Re-packaged, Re-released and Restored is an illuminating collection of essays on the relations between cult media, new technologies, and the repackaging of older media content. This diverse collection – covering media texts, business operations, piracy, the formation of canons and more – provides a range of perspectives on cult media and is recommended to students and scholars alike.” (Jamie Sexton, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, Northumbria University, UK)

“Cult scholarship has often focused on the semi-mythologised historical contexts of the grindhouse and the midnight movie. This groundbreaking new collection shifts attention to home media and the ways in which VHS, DVD and Blu-ray releases have transformed cult practices. With chapters on everything from distribution companies like Arrow and Criterion through to filesharing and fan vidding communities, Wroot and Willis’s book is essential reading for everyone interested in the changing nature of cult.” (Iain Robert Smith, Lecturer in Film Studies, King’s College London, UK)

DVD, Blu-Ray and Beyond summary and endorsements:

This book demonstrates, in contrast to statistics that show declining consumption of physical formats, that there has not been a mass shift towards purely digital media. Physical releases such as special editions, DVD box-sets and Blu-Rays are frequently promoted and sought out by consumers. And that past formats such as VHS, Laserdisc and HD-DVD make for sought-after collectible items. These trends are also found within particular genres and niche categories, such as documentary, education and independent film distribution. Through its case studies, this collection makes a distinctive and significant intervention in highlighting the ways in which the film industry has responded to rapidly changing markets. This volume, global in scope, will prove useful to those studying the distribution and exhibition of films, and the economics of the film industry around the world.

“The volume makes a great addition to the important investigation that reveals how the medium that carries the film to the consumer plays as important a role as the aesthetic features of the film text.” (Dina Iordanova FRSA, Professor of Global Cinema and Creative Cultures, University of St Andrews, Scotland)

“As the digital distribution revolution rolls on, it is easy to overlook the importance of optical disc formats and the role they have played — and continue to play — in media distribution. This thought-provoking collection provides a timely exploration of the cultural and industrial legacies of the DVD, and the ongoing interplay between physical and digital media formats. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the past, present, and future of home entertainment.” (Ramon Lobato, RMIT University, author of Shadow Economies of Cinema)


Drawing Attention to Home Media

Another belated update – mainly because of my other commitments, and also highlighted by the fact that I am focusing on this trailer – which had some brief edited broadcasts on television, but is available in its entirety online, and was widely circulated earlier this year:

As will be demonstrated by upcoming edited collections (following the home media symposium at Worcester last year), Disney and its subsidiaries are very useful case studies through which home media trends can be illustrated. Yes, the above does demonstrate the slow shift to digital, by The Force Awakens being made available slightly earlier for streaming and downloading. But it also helps to illustrate the audience that is still out there for physical releases, as the dates for DVD and Blu-Ray releases are also mentioned, and a range of Blu-Ray exclusive extras are promoted, alongside the film itself. While this is not wholly original (there are loads of other versions of ‘own it’ or ‘take it home’ trailers, for VHS and DVD releases of titles related to Disney, Star Wars or other big budget franchises), it does help to add further evidence for the argument that home media releases are treated (by both industry and fans) as new texts or commodities (and not just as ancillary texts). This is a point I have emphasised in several earlier research outputs (https://worc.academia.edu/JonathanWroot); last year’s symposium (https://jlwroot.wordpress.com/distributors-discs-and-disciples-exploring-the-home-media-renaissance-2015-papers/); and this blog post: http://www.watchingthetrailer.com/trailers-blog/the-stories-of-arrow-video-as-told-by-trailers-for-their-dvds.

I believe further evidence for these claims – and other perspectives – can be highlighted by examples centred on home media, related to films as well as other media texts. I’m talking industry reports, facts and figures, promotional material, industry/audience discourse, critical reception – anything that anyone can find to be of interest, in terms of illuminating examples and trends. Some really important case studies are going to be outlined by the forthcoming volumes myself and Andy Willis (University of Salford) are editing for next year (currently titled Watching Films at Home, and Cult Media). Though the chapters will vary a lot from the above trailer, that example does help to highlight trends found in many of the other case studies. Alongside the wait for these publications, I hope lots of other like-minded people will consider sharing similar findings more immediately – either through this website, their own (or another platform), or perhaps the Facebook and Twitter feeds particularly linked to these aims:



Whether you are an academic, professional or part-time blogger/opinion broadcaster – it would be great to hear from you – for commentary, shameless promotion, to start a debate, or just to share an interesting link or two.


Home Media Formats – Research Coverage and Networking

Home Media Formats – Mainstream, Cult, and Everything In Between

It has been a while since there was an update on this website. One thing I can now announce is that the edited collections resulting from the DDD Symposium in May 2015 – one on ‘mainstream’ media, the other on ‘cult’ – have been issued contracts from Palgrave Macmillan.

Following this development, I have decided to establish networking related to home media formats. Specifically this will involve circulating research and news about related industries and topics of interest.

Home media formats are not given enough discussion currently within academia or journalism. They are still a huge source of revenue for media industries. This is especially the case for physical media, such as DVDs and Blu-Rays. Sources referred to at the DDD Symposium – the British Video Association, Home Media Magazine, The Raygun – confirm these figures. This information contrasts with discourses circulating about large-scale shifts towards digital media distribution, exhibition and consumption. While such shifts are occurring, physical media is still maintaining a huge presence in the UK and numerous countries around the world (see link below).


The forthcoming edited collections will address these points, but home media is constantly being reported on, written about, and developing while this research is being published. This webpage and related posts on this WordPress site are intended to be a touchstone for news articles, academic writings, blogs, and other online sources that can help give insights into the media industries and the use of home media. Anyone is welcome to add to these pages, by requesting to post up a link, piece of writing, or other content – via an email to jlwroot@googlemail.com. Alternatively, content can be circulated via Facebook and Twitter.


Facebook Group (to be established): Home Media Forrmats

Hopefully, this will be the beginning of home media being given the attention it deserves. Alongside future possible publications and research events, this digital network is intended to help kick-start discussions and debates.

Dr Jonathan Wroot

2015 Home Media Sales Figures

Hi – sorry it’s been a while, but I have been busy with teaching duties, as well as working to get two edited collections published, following last year’s symposium.

I wanted to provide links to the 2015 figures from the British Video Association, concerning home media sales. The 2015 figures are interesting, as much is being made of the fact that both digital and physical revenues are now earning over £1 billion annually. This could be the start of a shift towards digital, but many UK consumers are still seeking out physical copies of media for ownership at home. The global position of physical media sales also seems to support this viewpoint – meaning physical media is not going away anytime soon. For example, over $6 billion is still spent on discs in the USA.

More updates on the book volumes, and other news, as and when it comes!


2015 BVA figures, for the UK:


2015 DEG figures, for the USA:


Articles on changes to the remit of the BBFC and content that is classified

These links are a bit older than some others – but this matter is still very significant to independent home media companies, whose finances could be seriously impacted by these changes to what the BBFC has decided to classify. Music videos may just be the beginning – DVD extras and other bonus material could be next.





Home Media Formats Group

Sam Ward – Blog on The Digital Single Market

Sam Ward – Visiting Lecturer at the University of Roehampton – discusses the implications of the EU’s planned initiative to phase out geo-blocking and allow consumers access to digital media content across national borders.



Home Media Formats

30 Years of Home Media

A link to a featured article on The Raygun website. The Video Collection brand is 30 years old this year, and one of its founders, Steve Ayres, reminisces on how the UK home media industry was transformed from a rental model to a sell-through one.


This and lots more related stories and interviews can be found on Tim Murray’s great website. Sign up for his newsletter!


Home Media Formats