Columbia House

From Home Video

Columbia House (formerly known as CBS Direct Marketing Services) was an umbrella brand for CBS Records' mail-order services, the primary iteration of which was the Columbia Record Club (later known as the Columbia House Record Club), established in 1955. The brand had a significant market presence during the mid-to-late 1970s, as well as the 1980s and early 1990s. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Columbia House operated a joint venture with Disneyland/Vista Records (an umbrella music company formed in Q1 1971 from a merger between the labels Disneyland Records and Buena Vista Records; later known as Disneyland/Vista Records & Tapes and Walt Disney Records), called Vista Marketing, Inc., which sold albums from both Disneyland and Buena Vista.


In 1981, CBS Records' then-corporate parent, CBS Inc., formed the CBS Video Library, which not only released content from CBS Productions, CBS Inc.'s television production division, but also had licensing agreements with other motion picture and television companies. The following year, in 1982, the CBS Video Library officially became part of the Columbia House family. In January 1988, CBS Inc. sold CBS Records, which included the Columbia House brand, to Sony Corporation, a Japanese-based electronics conglomerate. The following year, in 1989, the CBS Video Library was renamed to the Columbia House Video Library. In 1991, CBS Records was renamed to Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Corporation itself sold a 50% stake in Columbia House to Time Warner, then-corporate parent of Time-Life. By late 1991, membership was over 10 million. In the interim, some of the leading home video labels/distributors began selling their own releases through the Columbia House Video Club. Columbia House Video Club copies of various VHS releases from the following home video labels/distributors are identifiable by an orange seal sticker placed between the packaging and the tape itself that says "CHC." Usually, the tapes do not have previews at the beginning, nor the end. However, the client's packaging (especially the ISBN and/or UPC codes), stock number and product labels are unaltered as always (unless otherwise noted). In 1996, club membership was at 16 million and Columbia House launched their website, and the following year, in 1997, Columbia House launched the re-tv line.

In 2005, Columbia House merged with BMG Direct Marketing, Inc., an Indianapolis-based mail-order division of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, to form BMG Columbia House, Inc. In 2008, Sony BMG Music Entertainment was renamed back to Sony Music Entertainment and its division BMG Columbia House, Inc. was renamed back to Columbia House. Technically, Sony Music Entertainment still owns the trademark rights to the Columbia House brand, but as of 2016, it is currently used under license by Edge Line Ventures LLC.

Known duplicators for the Columbia House Video Library[edit]

List of Columbia House Video Club Customers[edit]

  • Buena Vista Home Entertainment (19??-20??)
    • Touchstone Home Entertainment (19??-20??)
    • Walt Disney Home Entertainment (19??-20??)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video/Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (198?-2005)
  • CBS/Fox Video/FoxVideo/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (198?-2005)
  • Family Home Entertainment (some copies of Speed Racer: The Movie)
  • Paramount Home Video/Paramount Home Entertainment (198?-2005)
    • Nickelodeon Video/Nickelodeon Home Entertainment (1996-2005) (some copies of Blue's Clues, Little Bear and Rugrats tapes, perhaps among others)
  • MCA/Universal Home Video/Universal Studios Home Video (19??-2005)
  • MGM/UA Home Video/MGM Home Entertainment (19??-2005)
    • Orion Home Video (1990s)
  • Warner Home Video (19??-2005)
    • Turner Home Entertainment (19??-1997)
    • New Line Home Video (19??-2005)

Known duplicators[edit]

List of Columbia House Record Club Customers[edit]

  • Disneyland/Vista Records/Disneyland/Vista Records & Tapes/Walt Disney Records (197?-1995)
    • Disneyland Records
    • Buena Vista Records
  • Distinguished Productions (197?-198?)
    • Sesame Street Records
  • I.R.S. Records (1980s) (some copies of The Go-Go's: Vacation, perhaps among others)

Known duplicators[edit]


  • Some copies of the 1996 release of Heavy Metal from Columbia TriStar Home Video and the 2001 re-release of A Rugrats Chanukah from Paramount Home Entertainment that were sold through the Columbia House Video Club reuse video masters that preserve previews.
  • Some copies of certain releases from Orion Home Video that were sold through the Columbia House Video Club may use the Orion Home Video logo watermarks on the plastic wrap.
  • Some copies of certain releases from Paramount Home Entertainment that were sold through the Columbia House Video Club, such as Beavis and Butt-Head Do America and Harriet the Spy, may use the generic face label (compared to retail copies which normally may use a customized face label); The Rugrats Movie is one exception to this note, as Columbia House Video Club copies of that title use the customized face label (the same one that retail copies used).
  • Pre-2001 MediaCopy pressings of releases from Paramount Home Entertainment branded under the Nickelodeon Video label that were sold through the Columbia House Video Club normally use generic dark orange cassette shells, compared to Deluxe Media Services and Cinram pressings sold through the Columbia House Video Club and/or retail which normally use bright orange cassettes.
    • Compared to pre-2001 Deluxe Media Services and Cinram pressings of Blue's Clues: Blue's Big Musical Movie that were sold through retail which use blue cassettes, MediaCopy pressings of the title sold through the Columbia House Video Club used generic dark orange cassette shells.


  • New York City, New York