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aard

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An argument for physical over digital media - Nov 9, 2020


Imagine you could walk outside and get into any car ever made and drive it, and the next day it was a different one. That would be amazing! It never needs to be serviced and you don't need to pay for new tires. You don't need to even wash it.

Wow, I can do it with music and movies.

Perhaps owning physical media is a step towards becoming a hoarder ... or perhaps it is something really beautiful. Neither way is right or wrong. Enjoy!

P.S. I loved seeing my car in the driveway and never got bored with just looking at it
 
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BobO'Link

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That article just echoes what many of us who prefer physical over digital have been saying since digital "ownership" began.

It also says:
Many consumers are unaware of the advantages of physical media.

That ignores the simple fact that most consumers just *don't care* about the advantages of physical. Josh has said this many, many, times in this, and other threads, and it seems to fall on deaf ears. The vast majority of consumers want convenience, rarely rewatch any movie, and just don't want the hassle of storing and/or keeping up with a physical collection.

The article also compares physical vs. streaming to CD vs. MP3 and, again, most consumers just don't care about nor hear the difference. They want cheap and convenient, with music, and even movies/TV, being mostly background noise. For that, MP3s and streaming are quite acceptable. While I've converted my huge CD collection to digital, it's to FLAC - a format most consumers have never heard of. Even then, the comparison somewhat fails as most (all?) services allow you to download your MP3 files, most DRM free, for backup and offline play. Few, if any, digital video services allow that.

That people don't really care about physical is seen daily in the reduction, if not out right elimination, of the size/number of physical media isles in most businesses. In other threads/forums it's reported daily that Best Buy is removing the physical media sections from their stores. Target and Walmart have seen drastic reductions in floor space allocated to physical.

For the most part it's the boutique labels like Criterion, Kino, Arrow, and a few others that are doing the most to keep physical alive. Other than Warner Archives you don't see many of the majors releasing any new catalog, much less deep catalog, titles, just a constant stream of re-releases of titles considered to be evergreen and new titles just off theatrical runs.

At this point I'd say lack of physical in retail stores has little to do with the decline and place the majority of the blame on the nature of today's consumer who just doesn't care about the benefits of physical and are quite content to rent all of their content. And if you're honest you'll admit that digital purchases are nothing but long term rentals.
 

TJPC

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How about the "Amazon" effect? After discovering for years that big box retail stores never usually have what I want, clerks seem to know absolutely nothing, (I once saw a clerk scan the list of top ten hits from a local radio station posted in the store for a single called "The Complete Caruso" when I asked for a boxed set!)", and prices are the best on Amazon, I never even try to buy in a store. I buy hundreds of discs both CD and blu ray, and am generally very happy. My shopping basket is always full and ready to be dispatched. If the border wasn't closed, I would have made several orders from Amazon.com by now as well.
 
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BobO'Link

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I don't think it would help Disney executives. They've been clueless since home ownership of media began, frequently showing a huge disconnect between what's offered on physical media and what consumers really want.
 

jcroy

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I thought that article made a lot of great points. I wish it would be shared more widely, especially with executives at places like Disney.

I don't think it would help Disney executives. They've been clueless since home ownership of media began, frequently showing a huge disconnect between what's offered on physical media and what consumers really want.

The current C-level top level management suite actually does actually know a lot about physical media.

Disney's current CEO Bob Chapek ran the home video divison back in the 1990s and the 2000s decade.
 

Ejanss

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How about the "Amazon" effect? After discovering for years that big box retail stores never usually have what I want, clerks seem to know absolutely nothing,
and prices are the best on Amazon, I never even try to buy in a store.

Also, home theater fans have twenty years of tradition of thinking that big-box stores wouldn't have it anyway--
DVD, Blu-ray, Blu3D, 4K, all were ignored by mainstream retail in their early-adopter days, and loyal but isolated tech-fans had to turn to the mail-order Internet to find what they wanted...And when they did, Amazon (and DVDExpress, RIP) were the only ones offering discounts on the then-rare product, while big-box retail had small, hard-to-find stocks at full MSRP, never mind sales staff that had never heard of the product.

It's no wonder that retail abandoned the core disk buyer early, and focused on the impulse customer who wanted this week's big display release or kids' title.
 

bmasters9

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And when they did, Amazon (and DVDExpress, RIP) were the only ones offering discounts on the then-rare product, while big-box retail had small, hard-to-find stocks at full MSRP, never mind sales staff that had never heard of the product.

No wonder I couldn't find that third-season L.A. Law at the Wal-Mart in Simpsonville, even on release day-- there was copy after copy of everything new and current today (at least it seemed that way), while L.A. Law was an afterthought.
 

The Drifter

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Even if all brick & mortar retail stores stopped carrying all physical media (DVD's, Blu's, CD's) tomorrow, that definitely wouldn't signify the "death" of the format - given that most people shop online-only for much of this material, anyway.

I.e., I suspect that most of us who still collect physical media get our disks from online sources first & foremost, so it wouldn't really make that much of a difference to many of us.

Personally, other than online sources - most of the places I get physical media these days are discount/aftermarket stores (Dollar Tree, Half-Price Books, Big Lots, etc.) - and I don't even go to these places that often. So, if places like Target, Wal-mart, Best Buy, etc. stopped carrying physical media completely - it wouldn't bother me one iota.
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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Even if all brick & mortar retail stores stopped carrying all physical media (DVD's, Blu's, CD's) tomorrow, that definitely wouldn't signify the "death" of the format - given that most people shop online-only for much of this material, anyway.

I.e., I suspect that most of us who still collect physical media get our disks from online sources first & foremost, so it wouldn't really make that much of a difference to many of us.

Personally, other than online sources - most of the places I get physical media these days are discount/aftermarket stores (Dollar Tree, Half-Price Books, Big Lots, etc.) - and I don't even go to these places that often. So, if places like Target, Wal-mart, Best Buy, etc. stopped carrying physical media completely - it wouldn't bother me one iota.

As long as there remains enough competition, sure. Definitely wouldn't want it to be Amazon alone and virtually nowhere else. For instance, would be good if BB could stay in the physical media business largely via their online presence still w/ some in-store pickup option. And of course, there's still DeepDiscount at least for now (though they could probably use some long overdue website improvements) along w/ some studios' own online shops and clubs.

Still, it would be nice to be able to go in-person once in a while. I definitely prefer to shop for Criterion titles in-person at the semi-annual B&N sale, and if B&N actually goes under, that would be a big loss, not just (or even primarily) for physical media...

_Man_
 
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Bryan^H

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The thing that breaks my heart is that there are absolutely beautiful HD transfers of The Virginian, Laramie, Death Valley Days, and Tales of Wells Fargo. Just stunning.

Not available to buy digitally, and I have to rely on subscribing to Starz app to watch, and while I appreciate them being on that streaming service, I have to deal with the "STARZ" logo popping up in the corner of the episode.

It would be great if a certain studio had the rights to release these on BD.
 

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