Is the DVD Becoming Obsolete? Study Projects the Decline of “Physical” Home Releases
Streaming services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO GO, are all the rage, especially considering the newfound focus of these major distribution players on producing original content. With more entertainment consumers signing up for access to vast libraries of TV shows and movies, how long do we have before the DVD and Blu-ray become mere memories, something for the inevitable 'I Love the '00s' to fondly recollect?
While we may have more time than we think before the idea of a "physical" home release becomes out of style, a new study from PwC published in Variety projects a major decrease in DVD and Blu-ray sales in the near future as buyers are becoming increasingly more likely to download movies and TV digitally or stream them. According to the results of the study, 2016 will likely see electronic home video (video-on-demand subscriptions, cable on-demand) dominating revenue streams, while DVD and Blu-ray purchases are expected to fall by 28% (from $12.2 billion to $8.7 billion) by 2018.
One aspect which doesn't have to worry so much, according to the study, is the theatrical release. According to Cindy McKenzie, managing director of PwC’s entertainment, media and communications practice, "People still want to go to the movies, especially the big tentpole films," though streaming services are piquing the interests of these major movie studios, which is probably why we're seeing more titles (like 'Walk of Shame,' 'Joe' and 'The Sacrament') share VOD release dates with their theatrical debuts.
While the shelf life of DVDs and Blu-rays still have a few more years on this Earth, we're already seeing this shift taking place -- most Sundays see Twitter a buzz with people complaining that HBO GO crashed under the weight of the latest 'Game of Thrones,' while other services like Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to acquire streaming rights to popular titles (like 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and 'Sherlock' season 3). It'll be interesting to watch how movie theaters and studios further adapt -- perhaps with even more of these "Mega Tickets" -- while most of us are surely holding our DVD/Blu-ray libraries tight.