*Update: Variety has confirmed with Best Buy they are exiting the DVD movie game.
Our friend, Bill Hunt, from The Digital Bits got some terrible news about the physical media market today. Best Buy, home of the Steelbook exclusives, will stop selling 4K UltraHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD in 2024.
Best Buy currently plans to stop sales by the end of Q1, but what does that mean for you? Well, probably nothing. We’ve already seen some of those Steelbooks from some studios, like Paramount and Sony, end up on Amazon. In the US, Walmart is the largest retailer of physical media. There are multiple online retailers and outside of the Steelbook collectors Best Buy. The impact may be barely noticeable in the grand scheme of things, but we could see some other retailers exit, like Target, which keeps shrinking its physical media sections in stores.
In Bill’s write up he adds
“In any case, this is certainly a significant development. But while it obviously isn’t good news, no one should rush to the conclusion that this spells the end of physical media. The disc business is definitely no longer what it was, even five or six years ago. And the Golden Age of DVD and Blu-ray that so many of us remember fondly (a period that runs from 1997 to 2012–13) is long gone.”
Disney’s Bob Iger has said he wants to see the physical media revived which is why we’re seeing streaming titles like Prey, Loki and the Mandalorian.
The bigger question is, what does this mean for the future of physical media? Bill suspects that 4K will be the last physical media format studios will adopt. However, there are high-quality digital entries that rival, and sometimes exceed, the quality of 4K discs. Check out Kaleidescape if you’re curious.