VHS TECHNICAL DETAILS : THE END OF BETA
Beta sales dwindled away and VHS emerged as the winner of the format war. The video format war is now a highly scrutinized event in business and marketing history, leading to a plethora of market investigations into why Betamax failed. Sony seemed to have misjudged the home video market. JVC quickly licensed its VHS technology and just about every major consumer electronics company of the era (JVC, Panasonic, RCA, Magnavox, Quasar, Zenith, et al.) had their own brand of VCR and at a significantly lower retail price, due in part to high competition among the brands, than the Betamax. Sony believed that the 1-hour length of their current Umatic format would be sufficient for Betamax too. However, Umatic was primarily a professional standard with constant surveillance by television technicians and which did not need more than one hour length per tape. For home usage, one hour would not be enough to record an evening of primetime programming, or Monday Night Football. Therefore, consumers naturally flocked to the 4-hour "Long Play" VCRs offered by RCA and Matsushita in 1976. Further driving the VHS format was its inherent 2 hour playback time (SP speed) - a much better fit for Hollywood movies than Betamax's 1-hour limitation. This event spawned the huge video rental business that flourished in the 1970s and 80s. Being able to watch Hollywood movies at home was a major innovation that transformed consumer habits and allowed people to see older "classic" films that had been buried in the vaults for years. What Sony did not take into account was what the consumers wanted. While consumers did perceive Sony and the Betamax to be superior and preferred to purchase a Betamax, due to brilliant marketing by Sony, consumers wanted an affordable VCR (a VHS often cost hundreds of dollars less than a Betamax), but Sony believed that having better quality recordings was the key to success, and that consumers would be willing to pay the higher retail price for it, whereas it soon became clear that consumer desire was focused more intently on recording time, lower retail price, compatibility with other machines for sharing (as VHS was becoming the format in the majority of homes), brand loyalty to other than Sony, and compatibility for easy transfer of information. In addition, Sony, being the first producer to offer their technology, also thought it would establish Betamax as the leading format. This kind of lock-in and path dependence failed for Sony, but succeeded brilliantly for JVC. For thirty years JVC dominated the home market with their VHS, Super VHS, and VHS-Compact formats and collected billions in royalty payments. The video recording market was an unknown when VCRs first came on the market; as such, Sony and JVC were both developing technologies that were unproven. As a result of the desire to get into the marketplace faster, the firms both spent less time on research and development, and tried to save money by picking a version of the technology they thought would do best without really exploring all the options. This is why there was more than one format on the market and why they continued to reinvent them with longer playing times and better quality. In 1988, Sony began to market their own VHS machines, and despite claims that they were still backing Beta, it was clear that the format was dead - at least in Europe and North America. In parts of South America and in Japan Beta continued to be popular and was still in production up to the end of 2002. Today, the only remaining aspect of the Betamax system is the slang term 'betamaxed', used to describe something that had a brief shelf life and was quickly replaced by the competition. Despite the failure of Betamax, its technological successor, the Betacam tape would become an industry standard for video recording, production and presentation, and continues to be used to this day, only now beginning to be supplanted by digital or high-definition tape recordings.
VHS HISTORY : THE INCREDIBLE WORLD OF DIC
Cinar 20th Century
After their 1976 meeting in New Orleans, future spouses Micheline Charest and Ronald A. Weinberg organized an event for a women's film festival, and worked at distributing foreign films to US theatres. The couple moved to New York and formed Cinar, a film and television distribution company.
In 1984, Cinar changed their focus from media distribution to production, and moved operations to Montreal, where they concentrated on children's television programming including Animal Crackers, Emily of New Moon, Mona the Vampire, and The Wombles, as well as the English and French dubs of the anime series Adventures of the Little Koala and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Spain-originating TV series The World of David the Gnome. As a production company, Cinar was also involved in the work of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Madeline, The Real Story of Happy Birthday to You, Space Cases, The Shoe People and, its most famous work, Arthur and Zoboomafoo. The firm became a public company in September 1993. By 1999, Cinar boasted annual revenues of 0 million CAD and owned about .5 billion CAD of the children's television market. In the late 1990s, Cinar bought the rights to all the shows owned and made by British animation company FilmFair. The company had become known for its children's programs, broadcast in more than 150 countries.
The success of Charest, Weinberg, and Cinar ended in March 2000, when an internal audit revealed that about 2 million US was invested into Bahamian bank accounts without the boardmembers' approval.
In 2001, as part of a settlement agreement with the Société des Valeurs Mobilières du Québec Quebec Securities Commission Charest and Weinberg agreed to pay million each and were banned from serving in the capacity of directors or officers at any publicly traded Canadian company for five years. There was no admission of guilt and none of the allegations have been proven in court. In 2004, Cinar was rebranded the Cookie Jar Group.
In September 2008, William A. Urseth published an insider's book called Death Spiral. It details the CINAR scandal and how it tied into two other companies called Norshield and Mount Real.
After 14 years of legal wrangling, on August 26, 2009, the Superior Court of Quebec ruled that CINAR would have to pay author Claude Robinson .2 million dollars in damages for plagiarizing Robinson's work for the CINAR-produced Robinson Sucroe. Robinson had originally presented the work to CINAR in 1986, and was turned down.
Purchase And Rebranding
In March 2004, Cinar was purchased for more than CA$190 million by a group led by Nelvana founder, Michael Hirsh. and former Nelvana President, Toper Taylor.
On June 20, 2008, Cookie Jar Group announced a deal to merge with DIC Entertainment. On July 23, 2008, both studios completed their merger, and DIC was then absorbed into Cookie Jar's entertainment division. As part of Cookie Jar's merger with DIC, Cookie Jar acquired Copyright Promotions Licensing Group and a one-third interest in international children’s television channel, KidsCo. The acquisition doubled Cookie Jar Entertainment's library of programming. Cookie Jar now has more than 6,000 half-hours of programming as well as rights to several children's brands.
On July 23, 2008 it was announced that Cookie Jar was in negotiation with American Greetings to buy the Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and Sushi Pack franchise. The deal is not finalized yet in late 2008 and with the current scenario, the transaction did not progress. On March 30, 2009, Cookie Jar made a million counter bid for Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. Cookie Jar had until April 30, 2009 to complete a deal with American Greetings. In May 2009 American Greetings filed a 0 million lawsuits against Cookie Jar and Cookie Jar filed a million lawsuits against American Greetings over the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake deal.
On April 29, 2009 it was announced that Cookie Jar will develop primetime television series and hired Tom Mazza to head its new primetime label, The Jar.