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Are We About to Face DVD Renaissance?

Thank you, streaming fatigue.

Photo by Sean Benesh / Unsplash

Which was your favourite DVD disk? Among those of mine was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which actually was a director's cut with the scenes now available only on YouTube or pirate sites—no legal streaming platform has them. Regardless of your answer, you might want to dust off that disc for now: it seems we're about to witness a DVD renaissance.

Recently, The Verge reporter wrote about being so tired of streaming services that they started collecting DVD discs. And indeed, although we pay monthly for content that seems to always be at our fingertips, streaming platforms can remove it at any moment, sell it to another service where we don't currently have a subscription, prices are constantly increasing (Netflix is expected to increase them again soon), and the monthly budget for streaming can become quite high if you're paying for multiple services that stream music and movies. Some platforms even might censor content and cut entire scenes off.

"After spending years reassuring myself that I don’t need physical copies of movies because of streaming, DVDs have officially reentered my life," shares Emma Roth in that column in The Verge.

Streaming fatigue is the reason

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and frustrated with multiple subscription services? You're not alone. And what about the agony of choice? Sometimes, I find myself staring at the screen for several minutes, clicking on one title after another, and not knowing what to choose.

Streaming fatigue is extremely common as the number of streaming services continues to grow, leading us to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content available and the rising costs associated with maintaining multiple subscriptions.

As a result of subscription fatigue, consumers are becoming more selective and price-sensitive when it comes to choosing which streaming services to subscribe to,  which has led to a shift in the streaming market, with some consumers opting to reduce the number of subscriptions they own or exploring ad-supported tiers offered by certain platforms. In the UK, for instance, people are subscribing to fewer streaming services compared to previous years. "The average number of subscriptions per UK consumer has decreased by 10% compared to last year. Now, the typical UK consumer subscribes to just two services," the report says.

A pretty much similar thing is happening in the music industry; to a bigger extent, though. Despite a substantial increase in music streaming revenues over the past decade, multiplying by more than 28 times, and projected growth of the global music streaming market at a compound annual growth rate of 14.4% from 2023 to 2030, analogue music is growing, too.

Vinyl sales rise: in the US alone, vinyl sales were up 21.7% for the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year. The UK also saw a 12% increase in vinyl sales in the first six months of 2023, with more than 2.7 million LPs sold. Cassettes have also experienced a revival—in the US, cassette album sales grew by 35% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Similarly, the UK saw a 15.7% increase in cassette sales in the first six months of 2023, with over 100,000 cassettes sold. We have dived deeper into this trend in our piece here, so take a look.

@_colecionadoradedvds_ Respondendo a @supernatural salvar pessoas, caçar coisas… o negocio da familia. ❤️#dvd #dvds #supernatural #supernaturaledit #winchester #deanwinchester #fy #fyp #collection #fypage #foryoupage #vira #viral #pravc #fy #foryoupageofficiall ♬ everybody wants to rule the world - El

Gen Zers on TikTok also started to post videos with DVD reviews and unpacking portable DVD players; there are now almost 16k videos tagged with the #DVD hashtag. So if it's on TikTok, it'll surely become a massive comeback then, right? Right..?

Not so fast.

The Renaissance might be too far to reach

Major retailers are cutting back on DVD sales: Netflix shut down its subsidiary, which used to mail out discs, and Ingram Entertainment, once the largest DVD distributor in the United States, has exited the business.

The DVD market has seen a notable decline in sales over the years. From 6.1 billion total physical video transactions worldwide in 2011, the number dropped to 1.2 billion in 2021. DVD sales have plummeted, with only 300 million DVDs expected to be sold globally in recent years, down from an average of 2 billion annually between 2005 and 2009.

And yet. Despite this decline, there remains a segment of consumers who continue to purchase DVDs. Individuals aged 25 to 39 are more likely to watch DVDs, often driven by their interest in collecting movies or TV shows. In the UK alone, millions of people still buy disc-based content, so this niche market for physical media enthusiasts is still there, as per Wired. What's more, there are projections for the DVD and BD-DVD Player market to grow steadily over the coming years.

So, perhaps, burying this format in the multimedia graveyard alongside floppy disks and VHS tapes might be premature.