The disappearance of DVDs is killing cinema

During a show, world-famous actor and producer Matt Damon gave his thoughts on the decline of physical media, including DVDs and Blu-Ray. According to him, this phenomenon is slowly killing the film industry.

dvd disappearance
Credits: Unsplash

For several years now, the cinema industry has undergone profound changes. First of all, it is necessary to take into account the evolution of the modes of consumption of the spectators, materialized in particular by the explosion of the platforms of streaming and SVOD like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video or HBO Max to name only ‘they.

And if one could be led to think that this model was going to become the norm, this is not the case. On the contrary, the model applied by these services is beginning to reach its limits. Witness the recent difficulties encountered by Netflix, which lost more than 200,000 users in the first quarter of 2022. A first in its history, which led it to take drastic and unprecedented measures, such as the launch of a less expensive with advertisements by the end of 2022.

Disney+ has also decided to follow in Netflix’s footsteps, with the launch of a subscription with advertisements before 2023. On the Amazon side, the situation is not much better. The e-commerce giant recently announced a significant increase in the price of the Amazon Prime service (which includes Prime Video), the price of the annual subscription having increased by around twenty euros.

The disappearance of DVDs is slowly killing the cinema

In parallel and since the start of the pandemic, movie theaters face a historic drop in attendance. The fault of several factors, such as the closing of theaters during the Covid-19, the increase in ticket prices in certain countries and regions, inflation and the increase in the cost of living, not to mention the traffic jams on the side of the programming which prevents certain films from remaining in theaters for more than a week.

However, as world-famous actor and producer Matt Damon explains on the show Hot Ones, the lack of love of the spectators for the physical medium is also slowly killing the industry of the 7th art:

DVDs represented a significant part of our business, of our income. Today, modern technologies have made this medium obsolete. It used to be that we could afford not to collect all of the revenue from a film on its theatrical performance, because we knew the DVD was coming out in six months, and we were going to continue to make money from it this medium. It was really like a kind of second movie outing,” explains the interpreter of Jason Bourne.

Also read: Netflix scares away subscribers with its anti-account sharing policy

The end of physical support has its perverse effects

By extension, the decline of the physical medium has another perverse effect: the reluctance of film studios, who now think twice before producing films whose theatrical success is not 100% guaranteed. When you look at the history of cinema, many films that did not break even in theaters then had a second life, whether in video stores or on DVD. There are many examples like Fight Club, Les Tuches (in France), Edward Scissorhandsor the Godfather 2 to recite nobody else but them.

The mere presence of the physical medium allowed to ensure a long-term career for a feature film (and regular cash inflows for the studios), even after having encountered complicated beginnings. It is not the case anymore. Another question arises: What will happen to private physical release films that will be removed from the catalogs of streaming platforms and SVOD services? At least the DVD release guaranteed the survival of a work ad vitam aeternam.

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