Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Columbia House Files For Bankruptcy, Revisit Their Early TV Pitches

The pennies have finally run out for Columbia House. According to the Wall Street Journal, the one-time billion dollar company has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after decades of declining revenue. In a statement released, the former mail-order music club titan essentially blames the increased use of digital and streaming services as the ultimate cause for its demise (ya think?)

Columbia House's mail order club actually dates back to 1950s, but began it's famous "12 albums for a penny" pitch in the late 70s known then as the "Columbia Tape and Record Club." In 1982, CBS Video joined with Columbia House to also offer a movie service via VHS videocassettes.

Sony acquired Columbia House and its 6 million members with its purchase of CBS Records in 1988. Music club sales would then peak in the mid '90s, accounting for more than 15% of total CD sales. Columbia House membership would top 16 million members and over $1 billion in total revenue in 1996. As of today, only the DVD club was still in existence.

I remember being a Columbia House sucker member in the early 90s, tearing out those stamps and attaching to the mail-in form to order what would be some of my first CD albums. I don't remember exactly when I quit, but I'm pretty it involved a tongue lashing from my parents. If you were a music-loving teenager like I was when you first heard about this unbelievable offer, it grabbed your attention. And looking back now, 13 albums for a penny was about as insane as some of their early TV pitches...

 
Join the club and we'll give you a reason to stalk hot girls at your mailbox.


If Dick Clark's approves, than this offer must be legit!


A "magic mailbox!" Can I use it to saw my kid sister's Cabbage Patch Kid in half???


Are they selling us coffee or music? Remind me not to include the Columbia House original television soundtrack in my 13 freebies.