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Broad Spartan, ‘father of the home video industry’ Andre Blay remembered

By Omar Sofradzija, communications manager

There are many grown Spartans who probably never heard of Andre Blay. But if you recall ever going down to a Blockbuster store or a Family Video outlet, then the Eli Broad College of Business alum has touched your life.

Blay (BA Production, ’59, MBA ’70) was “the father of the home video industry,” according to Variety, which recently reported his death Aug. 24 at the age of 81.

Andre Blay
Andre Blay

Blay in 1969 founded the Magnetic Video Corporation, which was the first company ever to release movies via videocassette eight years later, “marking the beginning of an era in which people could bring movies from the theater into their own homes,” Variety reported.

The first movies ever sold for home use included “Sound of Music,” “Hello Dolly,” and “Patton,” according to the MSU Archives and Historical Collections Web site.

Blay went on to start the Video Club of America, and was the first CEO of 20th Century Fox Video after the Hollywood behemoth bought Magnetic Video in 1979, according to Variety. Blay was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame in 1982.

In retirement, Blay stayed true to his school. He “continued to share his passion for business by speaking to business students from MSU” and other universities, Variety said. He also previously served as president and director of the MSU Foundation, according to his obituary.

The MSU Archives maintains an Andre Blay collection, which it says is “meant to preserve the history of the new industry of home video and home entertainment … The collection contains an abundance of information about an industry that helped double the size of film studios from 1977 to 2000.”

The collection is in the form of articles, speeches, videos, and other artifacts, according to the archives.


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