As streaming has taken over the name of the game for Hollywood blockbusters over the last decade, physical media like DVD and Blu-ray have slowly begun their descent into the land of obsolete. Now, with DVD distributors like Netflix and Best Buy cutting themselves out of the physical visual media industry, many have wondered if DVDs would be cut out of distribution altogether. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, there is a glimmer of hope for physical media collectors, as it could be possible that DVD and Blu-ray go the way of Vinyl and become the next big thing.
Netflix Ends Their Rental Service
Did you know that Netflix was still mailing DVDs up to this year? The streaming platform best known for spearheading the development of subscription-baseed online content, first opened its doors in 1997 as a DVD rental service that delivered movies through the mail. While the company has been streaming content online since 2007, they were still mailing out DVDs and Blu-rays until this past September.
However, a couple of months ago, the streaming platform mailed out its final DVD rental (a copy of True Grit, directed by the Coen brothers in 2010) and officially backed out of the physical media game. Likewise, Best Buy also said goodbye to DVDs and Blu-rays, claiming they will not sell any more movie discs starting January 2024. This looked like bad news for physical media collectors who enjoy owning physical copies of their favorite films and TV shows as two of the industry’s major players have decided it’s not worth offering this service anymore.
Streaming Content Purges Renew Interest In Physical Media
However, the future of DVD and Blu-ray may not be as bleak as you might think. While streaming has been king for a while, that industry is changing, too. Major streaming services, once synonymous with limitless content access, are undergoing a strategic shift that involves these companies hacking away at the content available in their catalogs.
Majors Streamers Remove Content To Cut Costs
Warner Bros. Discovery recently initiated a programming eviction on its streaming service, HBO Max (now Max), removing thousands of hours of content. Disney+, Hulu, and Paramount+ jumped on the purging train next, canceling shows and axing old titles. As the cost of content continues to rise, even streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon may be tempted to remove titles to cut costs, and this could leave people hungry for physical media like DVDs and Blu-ray to meet the entertainment needs that streaming services have stopped providing.
Physical Media Ensures Titles Live On Forever
This shift in strategy underscores the enduring value of physical media. Just as digital downloads can be removed from libraries at any time, the streaming landscape is proving volatile. Studios may pull titles from Max, Disney+, or Hulu, but they cannot erase DVDs or Blu-rays from the shelf on your TV stand.
After all, we’ve seen this pattern before. The streaming monster took a swipe at the music industry years before it began sparring with Hollywood. And while streaming still dominates music, physical media like vinyls, CDs, and even cassette tapes, have been making a comeback — leading experts to wonder if DVDs and Blu-ray will follow a similar path.
The Next Vinyl Craze
With titles disappearing from streaming services at an alarming rate, the time may be ripe for a reevaluation of the physical media landscape. The unique appeal of DVDs and Blu-rays lies in ownership and the assurance that your favorite titles won’t vanish from your collection overnight. As the streaming wars intensify and the value of physical media becomes more apparent, perhaps the DVD business is not on its deathbed, but rather poised for an unexpected resurrection — the revival of physical media could be just around the corner.