State Library Victoria's $88m renovation
One of Melbourne's landmark buildings, the State Library has reopened following five-year, $88 million redevelopment. The 163-year-old landmark opens on Thursday with 40 per cent more public space, 70 per cent more seating and restored heritage spaces, including its original reading room, Queen's Hall.The redevelopment was funded by more than $60 million from the Victorian government and the remainder raised through philanthropic and public contributions. 1/3 SLIDES © State Library Victoria Swanston Street foyer entry. 2/3 SLIDES © State Library Victoria The Ian Potter Queen's Hall.
In the wake of an algorithm-led video store apocalypse, Captain Video stays afloat by offering a rarity: human interaction. On paper, the business model was a bit shaky: It required a sizeable investment in technology that was in Belfer chose the store — and today, it’s the sole surviving Captain Video .
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Defying the trend of video shops closing their doors, one store in Thirroul, the longest-serving business in town, has survived for almost 40 years. The owners share their secrets of success.
At 78, John Wallace is looking forward to retirement and his wife, Marion, says she isn't far behind him.
As a young couple 37 years ago, the Wallaces stepped into an exciting new entertainment industry opening doors into a glamourous world with Hollywood appeal.
In the early 80s the film hire business was a thrilling place to be. Now their amassed film collection holds treasures available both on VHS and DVD.
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Mr Wallace says he's enjoyed the ride immensely.
"The customers are pretty good here. When we first started, we knew everybody in Thirroul but it's a different kettle of fish now," he said.
People say "You're like family to us" and you know everybody has watched us grow old too."
Mr Wallace worked at the blast furnaces in Wollongong's steelworks for 27 years but in 1982, when he found himself redeployed and unhappy, a video hire shop opened in Wollongong changing his life.
"We used to go there and hire VHS and Beta movies. It used to be packed. Being a local Thirroul fellow I looked around and found our first shop," he said.
"It was fantastic. From the word go, we had people hanging out the doors. When one person left another one could come in because it was very small.
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"We were there four years, but we just ran out of room."
To stock shelves they signed up with Leading Edge, a buyer's group, and 30 years later they are the only Leading Edge shop left between Thirroul and the Victorian border.
"I heard there's one in Newtown, and a few places outback where they haven't got the internet," Mr Wallace said.
As the years passed the couple were rewarded by the industry with invitations to national and international conferences. The party environment presented opportunities to mix boozy days and nights with Hollywood stars.
"We'd go to conferences in Los Angeles. It was fabulous. They provided lots of booze and actors we could talk to. It was great," Ms Wallace said.
Keeping abreast with technology — to a point
When DVDs became popular, the business was ready with a good selection. But after 20 years they still have more than 1,000 VHS tapes in stock, which are selling and still hiring out with surprising regularity.
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Serena Williams' smashed racquet from her infamous US Open final defeat by Naomi Osaka has been sold for a hefty price.Williams damaged the racquet in the bad-tempered 2018 loss, a match which sparked controversy after the 23-time grand slam champion was docked a game for clashing with umpire Carlos Ramos.
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Ms Wallace still watches VHS films at home.
"I've got 40 at home that I've been watching to see what condition they are in, and they are in great condition! They used to preview about six movies before the movie," she said.
When the business started selling VHS titles, horror films were the first to go.
"We couldn't get enough horror, we had no trouble selling horror. I imagine when we sell the DVDs, the horror collection will go first," Mr Wallace said.
'We class ourselves as a library'
While streaming services spelt the death knell for video shops, it was not the only threat to the movie hire industry.
"Even the local library has cut our throat, they've got free video hire," Mr Wallace said.
But the couple attribute their ongoing success to their vast film collection.
With shelves of classic foreign movies, Australian movies, and British comedies, there are thousands of titles to choose from.
"We have hung onto everything from the past. We class ourselves as a library. A lot of shops sell films if they aren't moving and put something else in, but we kept all our stock," Mr Wallace said.
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Every time a new technology comes around, the possibilities it presents are astounding. Take for instance the recent rise of virtual streaming . VR motion sickness is still prevalent due to varying degrees of sensitivity to a simulated environment.
Ms Wallace is happy helping people choose their films.
"They trust me. I can go from classics to foreign films to fabulous films from the past few years. I'm not big on comedies," she said.
Lucky then that Mr Wallace is.
"I'm big on British comedies, Monty Python-type stuff," he said.
Son Ben Wallace also works at the shop, and both parents rely upon his film expertise and business management acumen.
Ms Wallace proudly shares her critique of films with him so that he can pass on her recommendations in her absence.
"He will say to a customer 'My mum loved this, you'll love it too'," she said.
Her favourite movie of the year? Green Book, and it's Mr Wallace's favourite too.
"I recommend it all the time, everybody loves it," Mr Wallace said.
Family fun and entertainment
New releases, which used to be the biggest seller, have declined in sales and surprisingly TV series are the big hirers for binge watching.
"Once they start they'll try a couple of seasons and get hooked, then that's it, they go through the lot," Mr Wallace said.
Ms Wallace says hiring movies from a bricks-and-mortar store still has charm.
"We've got customers who come in with their children because they want them to experience this," she said.
"They don't have Netflix, so they just like to come in here and choose their movies as a family."
But as for those heady days of standing-room only in the shop, they are probably over.
"It used to be a meeting place, here on a Saturday night but I don't think those days will come back," Ms Wallace sighed.
An app developer is accusing Apple of quietly changing the way it ranks apps in the App Store, further fuelling concerns about the influence of big tech companies .
An app developer is accusing Apple of having manipulated app rankings in its App Store in new court filings. The app developer said it realised that its app had suddenly jumped in Apple's rankings following a report from The New York Times about the tech giant's apps being ranked highly in its own store. The court filings have appeared as lawmakers are increasingly scrutinizing whether large tech firms are engaging in anticompetitive behaviour. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.