I read an article the other day contemplating the future of DVD sales. While the article doesn’t have much hard evidence to back up the decline of disc sales in favor of video on demand, I’d consider myself a prime example of where content distribution and consumption is going–on demand. Why? Because I’m done buying discs.
Talk to anyone who sits next to me in class and they’ll tell you I stalk the deal sites, always looking for the perfect deal. But recently, I’ve been passing up deals for DVDs and Blu-ray discs right and left. Even a low sticker price of $3.99 doesn’t seem to be enough to get me to pull out my credit card–not when I pay for monthly Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming services. And with more video on demand services entering the market (Amazon’s got a pretty good one), the need for actually owning the disc is becoming obsolete.
Take a look at your own DVD stash. How many movies do you have? How often do you watch each one? I don’t know about you, but I’ve got DVDs I haven’t watched in over a year–sometimes longer. And when I finally watch those DVDs, they’ll probably end up back on the shelf for at least another year. So why should I pay $3.99 for a movie that will just end up on my shelf and get watched maybe once every year or two? Seems pointless. Why not just pay for the ability to watch them whenever I want? Or pay to rent them on demand?
For example, right now I’m writing this blog post as I watch Tom Hanks in ‘Big’ on Netflix. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, and it’ll probably be at least a few more years before I watch it again after Josh Baskin finally turns back into a kid. I don’t care to own the movie when I can just pull it down from the Internet and stream it to my TV whenever I want. No need to waste space holding discs. (It almost mirrors the printed book vs e-book conundrum facing publishers–Amazon now sells more e-books than print books. Who wants to waste all that space holding books on shelves when they only get pulled off once in a blue moon?)
So I’m done buying discs. Sure–not every movie is available on demand. But give it another year or two and I’ll bet those movies will be on demand. And there’s definitely enough content to go around that if a certain movie isn’t available, I’m sure I can find something else that I’d be interested in watching (or just borrow it from one of the many DVD stashes in the neighborhood).