Best Buy — the retailer that helped ignite the DVD revolution in the late 1990s — will cease sales of DVDs, Blu-rays, and 4K UHDs at its brick-and-mortar stores and online in 2024.
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 decades ago. Making this change gives us more space and opportunity to bring customers new and innovative tech for them to explore, discover and enjoy.”
Best Buy plans to continue sales of movies on disc through the upcoming holiday season before clearing shelves in early 2024. As of now, Best Buy still intends to continue selling physical video games even after DVDs and Blu-rays get yanked.
Movie Collectors and Physical-Media Fans Must Look Beyond Best Buy
As reported by Media Play News, “Studio sources say the consumer electronics chain, which currently has a 5% share of the disc market, behind Walmart (45%), Amazon (15%) and Target (6%), is phasing out DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays – including the exclusive SteelBooks prized by collectors.” One studio executive said to Media Play News, “I don’t know why they’re getting out of the dotcom business. It’s a pretty easy lift for them, and they’re still doing a pretty decent business.”
Although it's true that viewers now prefer the convenience of streaming to physical discs for casual viewing, it doesn't mean that the latter has become obsolete. There are thousands of titles — especially more obscure cult films and TV shows — that are not available on streaming platforms. Also, streaming movies requires a fast broadband connection to approach the video and audio quality a disc provides. Collectors also appreciate the packaging, insert booklets, and bonus features that come packaged in DVDs, Blu-rays, and 4K UHDs.
Best Buy's move to ditch the disc comes a few weeks after Netflix shut down its disc-by-mail business. Variety reports, “Best Buy’s exit from the market will leave Walmart, Amazon and Target as the top retailers in the U.S. stocking DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Also still in the physical-disc game is Redbox, now owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, which maintains a network of about 29,000 DVD rental kiosks nationwide.
“Amid the ascent of streaming video, sales of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs have been shrinking for years. U.S. physical media revenue in the first half of 2023 dropped 28%, to $754 million, compared with $1.05 billion in the year-earlier period, according to data from trade association DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.”
Best Buy has 1,129 physical store locations, 969 of them located in the United States. The retailer was once the top seller of DVDs in the country.