Is the End of Physical Media Near?

For adherents of Blu-ray and DVD, the headlines were devastating:

“Disney Is Exiting Physical Media in Australia…” (, 7/25/23)

“Fans Begin Hoarding DVDs and Blu-ray Discs as Disney Stops Selling Them” (, 7/28/23)

“Disney Strikes Major Blow Against Physical Media, Stops DVD & Blu-Ray In Australia” (, 7/31/23)

And this coming just months after Netflix announced that it would end its iconic red-envelope disc delivery service on September 29th.

Word that Disney would soon stop selling Blu-ray discs and DVDs in Australia sent shockwaves through the world of physical media, leading enthusiasts to worry that the move is a harbinger of things to come here in the states and elsewhere in the world — sooner than later. The news was widely reported after being confirmed by the entertainment site,

On July 25th, Bill Hunt, founder and editor of, wrote: “I’m afraid, the news is not good…we at The Digital Bits have confirmed today with multiple industry, distributor, and retailer sources in the region that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is indeed pulling out of the Australian market in terms of physical media.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the last Disney title to be offered on disc in the country. Disney will also stop making discs available for sale in New Zealand, according to Australia’s 7NEWS.

Hunt went on to note, however, that this is not an isolated incident as Disney had previous ended disc sales across Latin America (in 2020) and in some Asian markets. He (and others) attributed Disney’s decision to the “gradual collapse of physical disc sales in the region, the growth of Disney+ Starz streaming, and also the rise of global retailers (think Amazon, Zavvi, etc.).”

The demise of physical media has been a topic of discussion since the early days of streaming but is becoming more urgent as sales of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs continue to decline precipitously year over year. Annual revenue from the two formats combined was $1.34 billion as of March, according to Circana (formerly The NPD Group), with 94 million discs sold. The revenue figure is about 40% of what it was in 2019 and a long way from the peak year of 2005, when sales of DVD topped $16 billion.

As Disney inches its way toward an all-streaming Disney+ future, one has to wonder how the company plans to address the movie buff’s insatiable desire to collect. Special-edition packaging has long been a Disney staple, dating back to the days of VHS tape. And then there’s matter of the superior audio and video quality discs offer over streaming.

What do you think? Leave a comment…

Traveler's picture

I just wish Netflix would move all their 1950s - 1990's movie titles onto the stream platform. Disk is as dead as tape.

trynberg's picture

They can't, they don't have the rights to do so. Enjoy your streaming, I enjoy my 30TB+ and growing digital library of content that I own and won't lose access to next well as the better audio and video quality.

trynberg's picture

Streaming is convenient and I subscribe to a few services, but it does not compare to discs (ripped to a media server).

dnoonie's picture

I'll continue to enjoy UHD BD's for as long as I can and hope streaming quality improves along with more cost effective download options (Kaleidescape).
I'm not a fan of video banding and audio quality associated with streaming.

Jack's picture

The world is in a deluded state of confusion. Humanity is being coerced into submission. People will never own anything again. It's your fault! Streaming is ass. Bring back the old ways, death to the new cult!

ashurbanipal's picture

Hear, hear!

PatrickBrown's picture

In the last year I have went from 3-4 streaming platforms down to 1. My physical disc purchasing has gone from a couple a year to this year I have purchased new/used a couple hundred blu-ray and 4K. I want to own my media and watch it when it's convenient for me not the streaming companies.

ashurbanipal's picture

Apparently I'm not the only one -- I just wish I could buyat the rate you are!

ashurbanipal's picture

"You will own nothing and be happy." No cars, no house, no books, no movie or music cash. If you are good obedient little boy or girl you are alloweed to take public transit in your 15 minute city and stream the current regime approved cultural product. If we remove old titles or edit classics don't you dare speak out -- don't be a reactionary holding onto the hateful past. Eat your nutritious bug food and marvel at the wonders of your up-to date made-for-modern-audiences Snow White or Little Mermaid.

KylerRempel's picture

With the development of modern technology, there are now many ways to watch movies without physical promotion. However it won't go away completely and in certain cases still requires physical media. getting over it

51514brad's picture

I expect many will be like me; if unable to purchase physical copies of the discs I want, the company simply won't get my money. Fibre op has been coiled on a pole two kilometres from my home for 18 months. My bandwidth in a rural area does not allow for top quality streaming, especially if anyone in my household is using any amount of bandwidth for any other purpose.

If the entertainment companies cannot find a way for the consumer to at least download full-quality copies of their movies many will settle for lower quality pirated copies that are free and I expect their profits will continue to decline.