Best Buy Reportedly Planning To Abandon Physical Media Releases Of Film And Television, No Word On Video Games
In a major blow to the concept of personal media ownership, a new report has suggested that big box retailer Best Buy will soon completely drop on-disc film releases from both their online and physical storefronts.
Word of this supposedly upcoming change to Best Buy’s stocking practices was first raised by Bill Hunt, the founder and Editor in Chief of the physical film media-centric news outlet The Digital Bits, on October 12th.
Speaking to information the outlet had “learned from industry sources” and subsequently confirmed “with multiple sources”, Hunt revealed that “Best Buy plans to exit the physical media business for good next year, possibly as soon as the end of Q1 2024.”
“This includes not just their in-store Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD sales, which the retailer has been gradually phasing out for a couple of years now in their many store locations nationwide, but online sales as well,” he added. “This means no more Best Buy-exclusive Steelbook titles, and no more titles from Best Buy period.”
Unfortunately for audiences who enjoy more hands-on experiences, Hunt made no mention as to whether or not this reconfiguring of Best Buy’s sale attentions would affect the retailer’s stocking of physical video game releases.
Further, per Hunt, with Best Buy’s “throwing in the towel”, the physical media market now belongs to only three major retailers – Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart, the last of which currently holds an over 45% share of said market.
As noted above, this loss of such a major outlet for physical media purchases comes as a particularly disheartening blow given the ongoing – and in recent years more aggressively pursued – push by corporations to move consumers to an all-digital economy.
Faced with an encroaching future where the ability to engage with one’s own purchases is entirely dependent on factors completely out of their control, such as internet connectivity strength, their ability to afford a distributor’s access fees, or even a studio’s desire to censor their past work in accordance with contemporary sociopolitical attitudes, recent years have seen many audience members embrace physical media as the least restrictive way and consumer-friendly way to watch any given production.
And while such proponents of personal ownership have made relatively impressive ground in recent years, with more and more independent distributors popping up and obscure releases – such as the collected editions of Toei’s various Kamen Rider entries – receiving international releases, as more retailers continue to drop out of the physical media game and access to streaming becomes ever-more simplified, they not only stand to face an even steeper uphill battle, but also lose what little ground they’ve already won.