Saturday, December 5, 2015

EDITORIAL: How Digital Downloads Are Destroying The Physical Media Market

For years, physical video media has been on a rapid decline, from the closing of infamous video rental hot spot Blockbuster, to the ever shrinking sales of DVDs and Blu-rays.  This is due largely to the skyrocketing increase in digital media.

With a plethora of streaming services, such as Nexflix, Hulu, Screambox, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes, the desire for DVDs and Blu-rays has plummeted.  This has gotten worse as of recently with film studios releasing movies for digital purchase weeks before the Blu-ray/DVD release.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with digital downloads in general.  In fact I have several of my own.  However, with the majority of digital releases happening weeks before the physical copies come out, it makes it harder and harder for the physical media market to stay alive.

In 2014, the US officially became a digital entertainment nation with consumers spending more in online video sales and rentals than on physical DVDs or Blu-rays for the first time ever.  Consumers are embracing the convenience and availability of digital downloads, and now that they're being released digitally earlier, that convenience and availability are greater than ever.

Here are some examples of the schedule for recent and upcoming early releases:

American Ultra - Digital: Nov. 10, On Disc: Nov. 24

Shaun the SheepDigital: Nov. 10, On Disc: Nov. 24

No Escape - Digital: Nov. 13, On Disc: Nov. 24

Fantastic Four - Digital: Nov. 20, On Disc: Dec. 15

Minions - Digital: Nov. 24, On Disc: Dec. 8

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials - Digital: Dec. 4, On Disc: Dec. 15

The Intern - Digital: Dec. 8, On Disc: Dec. 29

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse - Digital: Dec. 8, On Disc: Jan. 5

Hitman: Agent 47 - Digital: Dec 11, On Disc: Dec. 29

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension - Digital: Dec. 15, On Disc: Jan. 12

Sicario - Digital: Dec. 22, On Disc: Jan. 5

Black Mass - Digital: Jan. 12, On Disc: Feb. 16

As you can see, the digital releases range anywhere from 11 days (No Escape) to an astonishing 35 days (Black Mass).  This type of delay on physical media will force the casual buyer to I want to watch it now, or wait 2-5 weeks?  This shift in release dates has already caused an increase in digital purchases, which, while it may be more profitable for the studios, is killing the physical media market.  And that, in my humble opinion, is a terrible shame.  The feel of a physical disc in my hands will never be trumped by the double-click of a computer mouse, but for many others, it already has.

1 comment:

  1. I Couldn't agree more. The feel of a physical disc, the real thing, beats the ease of online viewing. For me, I like collecting film, something that I'm assuming you do too. Having films saved to a hard drive or added to a list on Netflix just doesn't meet my collector's needs.

    There's something somewhat nostalgic of inserting a disc into A DVD player, making an event of watching a film. At Sundance this year Christopher Nolan said "what we can't have is a generation growing up not knowing what film is supposed to look like" which, I think, sums up a lot of today's film industry both online and physical.

    P.S.I found and followed you on Twitter, my handle is @Lewis_MrG