It is a changing entertainment world. Since the advent of streaming, sales of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs have cratered, with some wondering how long the medium will continue to be accessible. The shift is similar to music when compact discs edged vinyl records nearly out of existence.
Vinyl has since made a comeback, mostly based on nostalgia, while compact discs continue to be an afterthought, much like the cassette tape. For movies and television programs, it appears the heyday of the physical medium is over, and it’s highly debatable if it will ever come back.
Starting in 2024, one major retailer is ditching DVDs and Blu-rays and likely will never look back. Best Buy is ending sales of the physical mediums after the holidays in response to flagging sales and the increase in streaming among consumers.
Streaming has become the go-to for most viewers in recent years. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple TV, and others have revolutionized how people watch movies, with some services offering titles that are still in theaters.
The decision didn’t come easy for the retail giant, but earlier this year, they decided to end physical sales both in-store and online. A spokesperson for the chain said: “Making this change gives us more space and opportunity to bring customers new and innovative tech for them to explore, discover and enjoy.”
The company also cited economic concerns as part of the reason sales have flagged and the company must pivot. CEO Corie Barry said: “Of course, the macro environment remains uncertain with a number of tailwinds and headwinds, soon including the October resumption of student loan payment, all of which results in uneven impacts on consumers. Overarchingly, we believe that the consumer is in a good place. But as we have said, they are making careful choices and trade-offs right for their households.”
As viewing habits changed to match changing technology, the end of the DVD era, as well as the Blu-Ray, seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Owning movies and entire television series was once the preferred and, in some cases, the only way to enjoy a program after it had already aired.
The music industry followed a similar arc when technology changed from vinyl records to compact discs. Eventually, technology, including the ability to download and burn custom CDs, supplanted the need for vinyl albums.
Much like movies and television, streaming music services like Spotify and Amazon reduced the demand for physical copies of music. The iPod also led to the decline of physical music as well. While vinyl albums have made a comeback, largely from collectors desiring special releases and colored albums, it is unlikely that compact discs will ever enjoy a resurgence like albums.
Streaming may indeed implode someday, considering the vast majority of services, including music services, bleed money. Until then, digital video discs and Blu-rays will slowly go the way of the VHS tape, the 8-track, the cassette, and most recently, the compact disc.
It’s unlikely that DVDs will experience a resurgence like vinyl albums did, but if and when streaming implodes, perhaps people can dust off their old DVD players and live like it is 2007 once again.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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