I was just browsing Blu-rays on Amazon, and I noticed something I hadn’t previously seen before.
On the right hand side of the product listing page, where it lists the price and has the “add to cart” buttons, I saw a new blurb that I had never noticed before. For example, on the Murder On The Orient Express Blu-ray page, it says that you can buy that disc for $19.96. But beneath that, it now says “Save an extra $4.97 (25%) by purchasing on Amazon Video instead” and includes a link for the digital version as well.
I’m not saying that the sky is falling, but this does appear to be a big push by Amazon towards getting people to change their habits.
The algorithm doesn’t appear to be understand the nuances of video formats – for example, the 3D listing for Justice League points to the 2D streaming version (not the same thing), and the UHD listing for Get Out points to the 1080p streaming version (also not the same thing). But will the average customer notice or care or will they just see the savings? And, in the case of Murder On The Orient Express, the digital listing also includes a rental option that is substantially cheaper than purchasing either the digital or disc versions.
Their margins must be that much higher on digital versions if Amazon is taking the chance of losing a $20 disc sale in order to get a $15 digital sale or $6 digital rental.