The Death of Physical Media

Hello Friends,

Three or four years ago, a coworker told me he had a dozen boxes of DVDs in his basement that he wanted to get rid of. I thought he was kidding, but he said he could find everything through legal or piratey streaming so he didn’t care to keep the disks.

Since then, I’ve seen the decline in stores that sell it and a decline in studios that release them. Could anyone have believed ten years ago that Disney wouldn’t release the seasons of any Marvel TV show? Or that they wouldn’t release the sequel to Enchanted?

Maybe people aren’t like me. I like to rewatch things and I like to collect the things that make me happy. So maybe people are okay not owning their favourite movies.

I don’t judge, much, but it worries me on another level. What happens to the movies and shows that are never released and that a studio/streamer take off their system? HBO is doing that now and it means a whole lot of shows are only available by pirating them. What happens when that isn’t the exception, but the rule?

A large portion of silent films made in North America during the early 20th century are lost. The film burned or destroyed. Even more television shows from the mid 20th century are lost due to reusing tape, like many episodes of the original Doctor Who.

I worry that we may be entering a movie and television dark age, where we’ll find that more than half of the content is gone.

I worry that future historians won’t be able to tell the difference between Cocoon (which is impossible to find) and Goncharov.

Or maybe DVDs will go the way of the vinyl record.

What do you think?

Éric