Who Is Still Buying VHS Tapes?
Despite the rise of streaming, there is still a vast library of moving images that are categorically unavailable anywhere else. Also a big nostalgia factor.
By Hannah Selinger
The last VCR, according to Dave Rodriguez, 33, a digital repository librarian at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., was produced in 2016, by the Funai Electric in Osaka, Japan. But the VHS tape itself may be immortal. Today, a robust marketplace exists, both virtually and in real life, for this ephemera.
On Instagram, sellers tout videos for sale, like the 2003 Jerry Bruckheimer film “Kangaroo Jack,” a comedy involving a beauty salon owner — played by Jerry O’Connell — and a kangaroo. Asking price? $190. (Mr. O’Connell commented on the post from his personal account, writing, “Hold steady. Price seems fair. It is a Classic.”)
If $190 feels outrageous for a film about a kangaroo accidentally coming into money, consider the price of a limited-edition copy of the 1989 Disney film “The Little Mermaid,” which is listed on Etsy for $45,000. The cover art for this hard-to-find copy is said to contain a male anatomical part drawn into a sea castle.
There is, it turns out, much demand for these old VHS tapes, price tags notwithstanding, and despite post-2006 advancements in technology. Driving the passionate collection of this form of media is the belief that VHS offers something that other types of media cannot.