1990 - 1999

A History of Home Video and Video Game Retailing

December 1, 1990 – The "Nintendo Exception" is incorporated into U.S. copyright law. The Nintendo Exception, 17 U.S.C. 109(b)(1)(B), permits console video games to be rented without the authorization of the copyright holder. 

January 1991 – Blockbuster acquires Erol's, the third-largest video retailer, giving it more than 1,500 stores.

August 1993 – Hollywood Video, which had 17 stores, goes public.

December 10, 1993 – Trans World Music opens its first F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment) store in Trumbull, Connecticut. The F.Y.E. concept is a family-oriented, multimedia retail superstore designed to fit in a mall environment. [Trans World Music would later become Trans World Entertainment.]

1993 – Sony releases the last Betamax VCR (the SL-HF2000) to be offered in the U.S.

August 1994 – Movie Gallery completes an initial public offering, which gives it capital to develop and acquire additional stores, primarily in smaller towns and cities in the Southeast. From the beginning to 1994 to mid-1996, Movie Gallery would grow from 73 to more than 850 stores.

1994 – Blockbuster is acquired by Viacom.

March 3, 1995 – The Lion King is released on home video. It sells 32 million copies on VHS and DVD over the years, making it the best-selling video of all time.

July 1995 – Amazon.com goes online from the garage of founder Jeff Bezo. Initially, it limits its merchandise to books.

September 9, 1995 – Sony introduces the PlayStation video game console in the U.S. market. It will become the best-selling video game console in history.

December 1995 – Competing consortiums seeking to develop an optical disc format for motion pictures announce a compromise format, the digital versatile disc (DVD).

March 1997 – DVD is introduced in the U.S. The initial batch of titles includes Bonnie & Clyde, The Mask, and Twister. The DVD player soon becomes the most rapidly adopted consumer electronics product in history.

1998 – Direct revenue-sharing between motion picture studios and major video retailers is implemented, allowing participating video stores to increase their "copy depth" of titles.

April 1998 – Netflix launches the world's first online DVD rental service, offering more than 900 titles.

November 1998 – Amazon.com opens its virtual video store, with more than 60,000 theatrical and general-interest videos and more than 2,000 DVDs.

April 1999 – Titanic is the first motion picture DVD to ship one million units.

August 1999 – Blockbuster goes public.

December 1999 – Netflix introduces online DVD rental using a subscription model.

1999 – Amazon.com is ranked as the number one online retailer of video and DVD, a position that it retains to this day.

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