The Future. Blu-rays and DVDs are primed to have their vinyl moment — “old school” physical media surging in sales despite a predominantly digital landscape. Why? Film and TV have never seemed so fleeting as swaths of titles become memory-holed due to an endless sea of options and companies that are finding any way to save a buck. But, like vinyl, people want something both tangible and special… which could create an opening for someone to start the Criterion Collection of mainstream movies.
It’s always darkest before the dawn. This year alone…
- Discs are disappearing. Netflix stopped its disc-mailing business, Best Buy said it’ll stop selling DVDs and Blu-rays at the end of 2023, and Ingram Entertainment (once one of the biggest DVD distributors) is ditching discs altogether.
- Streamers are removing content. Max, Disney+, Hulu, and Paramount+ have been purging their platforms to save money on residuals and other fees.
- Studios are deleting movies. Warner Bros. Discovery has even canned whole films before they’re ever seen in order for the debt-burdened company to take tax write-offs (this week had fresh drama in that department).
- Things are getting lost in the shuffle. Older titles (really anything made over 20 years ago) are increasingly unavailable on streaming… and even hard to find as digital rentals on Apple and Amazon (which can also disappear at a moment’s notice).
All of that creates a perfect storm for consumers, who’ve been blindsided by disappearing media, to start collecting physical media as a way to make sure they’ll always have their favorite titles. And they likely won’t collect just any physical media, but rather collector’s sets with bonus features and premium image and sound.
Or, as Christopher Nolan so bluntly put it about Oppenheimer’s upcoming home video release: “a version that you can buy and own at home and put on a shelf so no evil streaming service can come and steal it from you.”