The L.A. Times this morning reports that Best Buy will be going the pure digital route, and offer content direct to the consumer with possible music and video-on-demand services. As the market for DVD’s continues to shrink, it seems the new Blu-ray format doesn’t even seem to be getting a fighting chance amid consumer interest in getting content via broadband rather than through physical discs.
Will others follow suit? Though Wal*Mart once attempted to sell digital media without a tangible product to purchase (without much to show for it), it remains to be seen if this is yet another setback for Blu-ray as a growth format for distribution by the major retailers.
With price wars this holiday season, and the slashing of prices on new DVD titles, it seems that giant retailers– the last remaining bunch after mergers and recessions thinned the ranks– are poised to do whatever they can to make a buck, even if it means giving into the still risky and not-quite-profitable new frontier of purely digital content delivered by invisible gremlins to an increasingly fickle public whose tastes shift with the winds.
Apple, Amazon, Netflix and other companies already moving forward in the new frontier of digital delivery must be smiling widely to know they’re already mining pure gold, have branded well for general consumer awareness, and are increasingly poised to corner the market for digital content provided on-demand.
Ultimately, this portends a slow phase-out of DVD except for possibly collectible titles. Depeding on the strenght of consumer preference of video-on-demand (VOD) over the Blu-ray format, Best Buy’s move could mean Blu-ray might never take off as a dominant format (a quicker death, should VOD really begin to take off and gain popularity).
Just remember that the physical product (discs, amray cases, inserts, wraps, o-sleeves, etc.) cost money to produce (pennies on the dollar for DVD and Blu-ray distributors), but they mark that cost up significantly when selling online or via traditional retail. You actually save yourself money by buying the digital download and burning it to a blank disc. Want artwork? Simply download a high quality JPG and you’re all set.
For Music and Movies under $25 (which excludes most multi-disc boxed-sets and collectors’ items) this would seem to be the way to go for maximizing your own storage space (how many of those amray cases can you fit on a shelf) and attaining a cost savings for your entertainment dollar.
digital is the way to go. you’ll have to keep getting hard drives but terrabyte drives are so cheap now.
I still like getting something for my money – like a disc or DVD case – especially when a lot of money