America’s Best Buy Plans to Rid Itself of All DVDs and Blu-rays

America’s Best Buy Plans to Rid Itself of All DVDs and Blu-rays

Mark another notch in the slow demise of physical media. On Friday, massive electronics store chain Best Buy confirmed that it will stop selling all DVDs and Blu-Rays starting in the new year.

Best Buy says it was ending all in-store and online purchases of DVDs sometime in the new year after this holiday season for all 1,129 Best Buy stores, including the 969 in the U.S. It’s unclear if Blu-rays will also be removed at the same time.

In a statement to Variety, a Best Buy spokesperson said, “To state the obvious, the way we watch movies and TV shows is much different today than it was a decade ago.”

Best Buy’s move away from physical media arrives just more than a month after Netflix sent its last DVDs out to its few lingering physical rental customers. The streaming company declared it was putting an end to DVD rentals back in April.

The Best Buy spokesperson said its stores will continue to stock physical game discs, so despite the proliferation of video game downloads and streaming (PlayStation just announced its own PS5-centric streaming service), Best Buy seems to think there’s still a large enough market for physical game media. In another sense, the electronics chain seems intent on promoting more physical hardware in its stores.

“Making this change gives us more space and opportunity to bring customers new and innovative tech for them to explore,” the spokesperson said.

Best Buy itself is trying to scale back on its sales expectations for later this year. After sharing its most recent quarterly earnings report in August, the company’s CEO Corie Barry told investors this year will be “the low point in tech demand” but expects next year’s sales to bounce back. The company’s top brass made no mention of DVD sales, but if it’s expecting more people to be shopping tech in the new year, it may also be trying to make space.

It’s true that DVD sales continue to dip year after year. According to data from the Digital Entertainment Group, physical media sales were down close to 30% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same time last year. Subscription streaming is up although those companies including Netflix and Disney are planning to raise streaming prices. Simply put, even though there’s still growth in streaming, these companies aren’t seeing the same blockbuster growth they had in prior years.

Superstores like Walmart and Target continue to sell physical media in stores, and Amazon continues to stock them online. There are also plenty of independent shops and a few independent video rental stores holding the torch for physical media, but it means there is one less place where people can physically own the movies and shows they want to watch.

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