Five Years On: Is DVD dead? or dying?

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So, five years ago today, Your Humble Blogger asked Is DVD dead? or dying? In that note, I specifically asked In 2002 (I think it was) video stores were dumping VHS tapes and I bought a bunch of movies at two or three bucks a pop. We’re certainly not there yet for DVDs. But will we be there by 2015? Clearly we are not there.

On the other hand, the trend away from physical media is ongoing, and certainly the DVD is no longer the standard. People (particularly Young Persons) watch movies or television way more on-line than on DVD. The BBC is shifting to download from DVD sales; the linked article claims that their revenue from DVDs is half what it was three years ago, but also quotes an analyst who predicts that the DVD revenue will be twice the download revenue through 2019. So DVD clearly isn't dead as a format, but at the same time, it's no longer the format. To quote myself again from five years ago: In 2010, if you prefer something other than DVD, you kinda need a reason. But in 2015, maybe not so much. And in fact, in 2015, you need a reason to prefer a DVD. There are plenty of those reasons—the extras and audio commentaries and deleted scenes and whatnot, which the most popular streaming services do not, as of yet, include—but if a twenty-glob-year-old just wants to watch a movie, I think they would check Netflix first before thinking of a DVD.

Digression:What you really need a reason to do is watch a film in a theater. I hardly ever feel the desire to do that, these days, much less actually do it. I get tempted by events (mostly NTLive stuff—Jane Eyre on December 8th) (not so much the Doctor Who specials) but hardly ever actually go even to those. Oddly enough, I don't think the movie theater is a dying medium because the distributors will encourage these sorts of events (and encourage the production of the sorts of movies that give people a reason to go to a bigger screen with a crowd of people) but I kinda feel like it ought to be dying. If movie theaters died out, surely dating couples would have to purchase theater tickets, right? End Digression.

The thing I found interesting, on going back to my note, was that I specifically asked myself about gifts: on the twenty-third of November 2010, I noted, if someone wanted to give you a copy of a recent movie or television show, they would give you a DVD. If you didn't like DVDs, well, that was your problem—that was how people gave each other movies. On the twenty-third of November 2015, if someone wants to give you a copy of a recent movie or television show, they give you a DVD. People more frequently watch movies through some sort of streaming or download, but they give them on physical media. I assume that's partially because you can wrap a DVD, but it also seems to me that the main services aren't set up to encourage you to purchase a download/stream of a movie for someone else. I assume you can do it through Amazon's service or the iTunes store, but I've never done it or (I think) seen an ad for doing it. Netflix encourages people to give subscriptions, but I don't think you can pay an additional charge to give access to an individual movie to a non-subscriber. I'm not even sure you can send a subscriber a direct link to a specific movie on the Netflix site, as opposed to just telling them to search for it.

I should say: two of the Young Persons I asked pretty clearly thought that giving a movie as a gift was an Old Person thing to do anyway.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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