ahollis, whose opinion I continue to hold in high regard on these forums, has said "it's not up to us". My point is exactly the opposite - it is! Enough people buying physical media and rejecting streaming sends a message. Lest we forget, Hollywood is a profit-driven center. They look at the numbers - period. Low returns, less investment. It's that simple.
I think streaming - like all new technologies when they debut - had its groundswell of popularity at the start. It's continued to remain as popular as it was at the outset, but numbers have since leveled off. Plateau is never a good sign for future projections. In fact, its usually a signal that overall popularity has begun to cool.
Now, counterbalance this with the artificially induced downturn in classic movie output from all of the majors after 2006 and the corresponding plummet in profits. We - the consumers of such classic output on DVD - DID NOT abandoned classic movies on DVD. This is a misconception and, frankly, a myth.
Rather, the studios preempted the demise by chucking DVD for Blu-ray, hoping the conversion from one format to another would be overnight the way it was when DVD eclipsed VHS in the market place. Alas, the economic downturn put the kibosh on such a meteoric switch - also, the fact early Blu-rays were selling for far too much (I recall HMV's 2 for $80 "sale" for the first Christmas Blu-ray was out). Consumer mentality - apart from the early adopters - became, "why spend twice as much when I can buy two DVD's or more for the price of a single Blu-ray?" Who can blame them...or rather...us?
There's one other aspect of Blu-ray's lackluster performance to reconsider; namely, that so few have been mastered utilizing the technology to its optimal level. When you wait five years for a West Side Story, My Fair Lady or The King and I to be released in hi-def, only to have the transfer badly mangled, it definitely sours the consumer on looking forward to other titles on their wish list. Hollywood can still save Blu-ray from oblivion because it remains a superior technology to streaming. There's no debate there.
Warner's Archive division, as example, has immensely impressed with impeccable Blu-ray releases. Really, it's some of the best work coming down the pipeline. Their choice of titles to release may be suspect but the effort, time and money invested to make each disc spin like a Rolls Royce is commendable. You can't compare Warner's releases of Kismet, Hit the Deck or The Wind and the Lion (as example) to Fox's The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Desk Set or The King and I. No comparison. One studio is doing their utmost to honor their past, the other is merely trying to milk it for a few extra bucks without taking the time to ensure the consumer is being completely satisfied in the end.
What needs to happen now IS up to us. We need to buy the good stuff, say 'rubbish' to the bad and stop streaming, no matter how desperately we want to see something in digital right now. The old adage - "do you want it right or right now" applies here. Patience is a virtue. Remember how long it took Sony to give us Lawrence of Arabia? While most were critical of the delay (Sony had, in fact, advertised Lawrence as part of their flagship release to launch Blu-ray...it never happened), I kept hoping the delay meant the studio was hard at work doing something wonderful with their archival elements. I was NOT disappointed and my faith in their integrity was decidedly renewed.
That needs to happen again and again - and not just at Sony. Fox seems to be the biggest transgressor this time around and - truly, I cannot figure out why. Schawn Belston is a good man and a concerted archivist besides. You can see the fruits of his labors on Hello Dolly!, Cleopatra, The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Jesse James and others. But the studio's hit or miss mentality has to stop if Fox wants to save face with collectors. Sorry fellas - but teal tinted transfers don't cut it - not now...not ever!