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Physical media questions raised as Disney axes DVD and Blu-ray sales in Australia

Home delivery expert, ParcelHero has opened the debate on the health of the physical media sector, following Disney’s decision to axe DVD and Blu-ray sales in Australia.

From this month, Australians wanting to enjoy Disney’s new hits will need to subscribe to Disney+. Now ParcelHero is raising questions on whether this could be the start of a fight for physical media in the UK, too.

“Digital media such as streaming services look set to make DVDs and Blu-rays defunct. It’s easy to see why,” commented David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero. “In a bid to free up space, many of us have already got rid of our collections in favour of watching favourite films and shows on streaming services such as Netflix, Prime, Apple TV and Disney Plus.

“It’s also preferable for many media companies, who will no longer need to pay the middleman for retail sales of Blu-rays and DVDs. Companies are desperate to drive up subscriptions to their streaming channels. Disney is even about to launch a budget channel with adverts here in the UK.”

David continued: “Of course, just because Disney has stopped physical media sales in Australia (which has displeased Aussies in rural areas where internet speeds are too slow for streaming), that doesn’t mean it will axe their sales in the UK or US. The supply chain costs involved in distributing physical media to Australia are notably higher.

“However, we believe it is the start of the slippery slope. How long before other media companies tied-in with streaming channels decide to follow suit in Australia? That could start the ball rolling across the world. For media companies, streaming sales are so much cheaper to fulfil than physical media sales.”

But, on the flip side, David also pointed out that there are some strong reasons why consumers may resist the move to streaming only.

“For starters, not every film is available for streaming here in the UK. It’s also not financially viable to subscribe to every channel. You may also think that, because you purchased a movie on a streaming service, it’s yours to keep. However, that’s not the case. Some purchased movies and shows have been removed from people’s accounts because of licensing issues. It’s only by owning a physical copy you can be sure of watching a show.

“Any further switch from physical media to digital will also be bad news for those high street chains still clinging to DVD and Blu-ray sales.”

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