Today's Death Watch (Companies & Corporations)

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Today's Death Watch (Companies & Corporations)

Post by GeorgeC » February 26th, 2009, 4:33 pm

I guess I'll just start a running roll of companies that are on the edge of disappearing/bankruptcy or being transformed.

This has nothing to do with the death of individuals, stars, celebrities, etc. This is about media and product companies, ONLY...



TODAY'S DEATH WATCH --- Wizard Entertainment, publisher of Wizard Magazine (the allegedly leading purveyor/surveyor of comics culture and media tie-ins) and maintainer of the Wizard website.

The company's going bust, guys.

Wizard Magazine is long out of favor with many comic fans, and there's been another round of layoffs... http://www.newsarama.com/comics/090226- ... -offs.html

It's in trouble, and there's no doubt about that.

Anything that you used to read exclusively in that comic can be gotten off the web from any comics news site for free at the local library or at home on your computer. Why pay $6 for news that's already a day, a week, or a month old? It just doesn't make any sense.

(To be fair, that's true for ALL print media. Add to this the general dissatisfaction of many former newspaper readers and junkies who feel the news is being manipulated by BOTH government and "the fourth branch of government" and that they're being lied to... It's not a pretty picture out there for many news magazines and newspapers. Sure, newspaper profit declines are being blamed on falling advertising, but has anybody in the wider media thought to actually talk to people about WHY they don't buy their local or national papers anymore?)

Added to the problem of slow news delivery is the lack of maturity and professionalism in the finished print product. Wizard is often charged with bias towards Marvel and DC Comics to the detriment of the rest of the comics industry in North America, articles reek of the kind of fanboyism most people grow out of (IF THEY MATURE NORMALLY!) and get tired of, and it's just full of stupid Top 10 Lists and theoretical fight scenarios that make you not take anybody writing that magazine seriously.

To wit, Wizard has also been accused of manipulating the prices of rare comics and even hoarding back-issues of the latest low-print/high demand comics, too. Add lack of integrity to the list of immaturity and sloppy journalism to its problems.

Wizard Entertainment has also gobbled a number of comic book conventions and there's comic fan rumbling about that, too. Besides the competition with other non-Wizard cons, there's a feeling of homogenity that many people don't appreciate...

Wizard (the Magazine, at least) has long since served it's purpose and should be consigned to the dustbins of history with other rags that have become as useless as broken lightswitches...

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Post by Randall » February 26th, 2009, 8:37 pm

I know that I last bought an issue of Wizard, oh... about 11 years ago.

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Post by GeorgeC » February 27th, 2009, 12:01 am

In all fairness to Wizard, online interviews with comic book pros and editors are generally so softball it's not funny! Not any different than Wizard in that regard.

I'm not saying interviewers have to be nasty and ultra-critical but certain questions aren't being asked that ought to be and they're letting interviewees get away without giving specific answers.

I don't go to any comic site expecting a good interview that has substance. They're great for breaking stories and giving out dates for cons but the reviews and interviews leave a lot to be desired in general.

Also, the online "debate" in forums (mud-wrestling, really) and moderation are downright pathetic on most comic sites, too...

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Post by GeorgeC » March 4th, 2009, 2:27 am

RIP, Virgin Megastore, USA...

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1


By the end of the year, the remaining six American Virgin Megastores should be shuttered.

The stores left operate in NYC (2), Denver, Orlando (Downtown Disney), San Francisco, and LA. I was not aware the store in Chicago had already closed...

Anyhow, that's pretty much the end of the US music retail business aside from a very few outlets like Borders (which is near its end), Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and meager offerings at the mass-market discount places like Target and Wal-Mart. There are, of course, still independent record stores but those seem to mainly operate and deal with second-hand/used records and CDs.

You pretty much have to buy online if you want to get decent selection of music. Virgin Mega was unable to match its competitors price-wise and may have sealed its fate. I'm not that surprised the stores are being shuttered in the US but I question the contention of the article about the lease agreements.

150 other Virgin Megastores still operate worldwide under local licensing arrangements.

It's not 100% clear (my supposition) if the US store closings are really due to down sales or the belief by the property-lease owners that they could get higher renters than Virgin. The latter may be wishful thinking in the current economic climate...

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Post by Ben » March 4th, 2009, 5:09 am

I was saddened when Times Square lost its magical HMV store. Man I spent near to two days in there picking stuff up when I was over in NYC in 2001.

Going back in 06 was a shocker to find it a Maccy D's, and now to hear the second best biggest store (discounting the excellent "hidden" shops!) in NY is closing is more than a bit of a bummer. I used to love wading through those places when I was in town.

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Post by droosan » March 4th, 2009, 6:26 am

There used to be a Virgin Megastore in Burbank. I loved going there to browse around; I discovered a lot of great stuff there .. and, while prices were definitely cheaper online and elsewhere, their in-store selection was pretty hard to beat -- especially for cult & specialty genres. The Virgin Megastore on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood also had a very good selection of books in addition to music & video.

Both of those Virgin Megastore locations were recently 'phased out' in favor of their current storefront on Hollywood Boulevard (next to Mann's Chinese, and across the street from the El Capitan Theatre), which still features a fairly decent selection of titles, despite having only a little more than half the floorspace of the old Sunset store. They seem to do a brisk business, but that's mostly because of the perennial tourists, who would likely crowd into that store no matter what they were selling. :?

I have sorely missed both the Burbank & Sunset stores. I don't know that I'll consider the Hollywood Boulevard store to be as great of a loss .. but it is all we have left (Virgin-wise), so I will be sorry to see it go. :(

Here's hoping Amoeba Music in Hollywood will continue to thrive :idea: .. they've lately become my 'media-browsing' store of choice.

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Post by GeorgeC » March 4th, 2009, 12:50 pm

DEATHWATCH ON: Borders Books & Music


It hasn't been doing well for years.

The top shareholder has been trying to sell for quite a well but ultimately didn't because he wanted the stock price to go up before selling.

The chain may be on borrowed time.

Pity... it's really my favorite bookstore chain. Much more so than Barnes & Noble. :cry:

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Post by Whippet Angel » March 4th, 2009, 4:51 pm

Yeah, I really doubt we'll last through the summer. Looks like I'm gonna need a new job, which sucks. It's been the perfect student job thus far. o____o

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Post by Ben » March 4th, 2009, 5:17 pm

Hey Droo...I also recall the huge Tower Records in LA back in the day...a haven for LD purchases! I spent hours in that store and came away with just one thing: the massive T2 box of the time, which they bundled in the original Terminator with inside as a special.

I would have gotten more, but the plane home wouldn't have made it off the ground...! ;)

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Post by droosan » March 4th, 2009, 11:25 pm

Tower Records is another of those chains that went from having a dozen or more locations throughout L.A. .. to a few, scattered here-and-there .. to going away completely, during the past couple of years. :(

-----------------

I used to enjoy the privilege of living in the 'Media City' (as Burbank is known), which meant that I could find pretty much any book or video I wanted in a local 'brick-and-mortar' store, with a minimum of effort. Nowadays, as is the case in most of the rest of the country (and probably the world), online retailers seem to be the more convenient & reliable method.

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Post by GeorgeC » March 5th, 2009, 12:55 pm

UPDATE ON BORDERS & WALDENBOOKS:

Yes, a number of Waldenbooks have closed around the country.

One closed a while back in Columbus when the old downtown City Center shopping mall closed its doors for good. The mall was half-empty as most shoppers (and stores) have gone to newer mall areas in the east (Easton) and north side (Polaris) of the Columbus area.

There are rumors circulating about the fate of the Borders chain itself.

UPDATED with confirmed link...
http://cbs2chicago.com/local/borders.mi ... 47615.html

One confirmed casualty is the downtown Chicago ("Magnificent Mile," Michigan Avenue) flagship store.

This store is located across the street from the Water Tower Place shopping mall and has four levels in a very large building. It's confirmed to shut down later this year. Whether other Borders, or indeed the OTHER Chicago Borders location, will close is anybody's guess.

I used to frequent that Chicago store about every other day when I lived in the area. Now, I didn't buy as many animation books as I did at Barnes & Noble (Borders' Chicago ability to restock sold-out books was nonexistent IMHO and B & N had more Disney books on-sale including remainder stock of the classic 1990s "Art of" series published by Hyperion), but I liked the selection and variety there. I started my collection of Books of Wonder Oz facsimile series with Oz books that I bought there.

Sad to see it go.

Tower Records, as mentioned, is long gone. I used to frequent the huge Tower Records store on North Clark Street (just a block or two away from the location of the infamous St. Valentine's Day massacre -- a location demolished in the early 1970s) and rent a ton of videotapes and occasionally buy laserdiscs there before DVD destroyed the LD market. Last I was in Chicago -- 1999 --, only two places still sold LD's...

After 1998, only the Crow's Nest in the business loop and an independent store off Fullerton Ave had laserdiscs. All the other places liquidated their stock of LD's in favor of DVD.

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Post by GeorgeC » March 16th, 2009, 10:02 pm

Forbidden Planet closes its doors in Derby... Another Comic Shop Dies...

http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news/ ... ticle.html

Got this link courtesy of ComicBookResources.com


Note that the original London-based Forbidden Planet is still very much in business. It's the sister-store that's closing shop because of raised rent and the assessment that it would be unprofitable to keep said-store open.

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