Best Buy, one of the largest electronics retailers in the United States, recently announced it would no longer sell physical media like DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs, and video games by 2024. It transitions its business focus toward streaming services and downloads.
Why is Best Buy stopping selling physical media?
Best Buy’s decision to stop selling physical media may be explained in various ways. Sales have steadily decreased over time due to streaming services and digital downloads. Sales of physical media comprised only 12% of the total home entertainment market in 2022.
Physical media is expensive to sell. Retailers have costs related to discs, packaging, and shipping. Digital media can be much easier and cheaper to sell.
Physical media takes up valuable space in stores. This space would be better used by selling more lucrative items like electronics and appliances.
What does this mean for consumers?
Consumers impacted by Best Buy’s decision to stop selling physical media will find themselves with limited options for purchasing movies, music, and video games. However, there are still multiple outlets like Walmart, Target, and Amazon where physical media can be purchased.
Streaming services and digital downloads offer many advantages over physical media. For example, streaming services provide more content options while giving the convenience of watching or listening whenever desired.
What are the alternatives to buying physical media at Best Buy?
If you are looking for alternatives to purchasing physical media at Best Buy, digital downloads from sites like Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play may be a better solution. You may be purchased as digital purchases, while subscription streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ may also provide content streaming options.
If you prefer physical media, there are still various retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon offering it, as well as websites like eBay and Discog that offer pre-owned media sales.
Pros and Cons of Digital Downloads, Streaming Services and Physical Media
These are details of the pros and cons of each option:
- Convenient and easily accessible: Digital downloads give helpful shopping solutions for people in a hurry and without time for physical store trips, making digital downloads ideal for people without access to physical shops.
- Wide selection of content available: Digital downloads offer an abundance of content, including movies, music videos, TV shows, video games, and books. Because they do not occupy space like physical media does.
- No need to store physical discs: Digital downloads don’t require physical storage space, making them ideal for people living in smaller apartments or who wish to keep their living areas decluttered.
- May require a fast internet connection: Downloading large files like HD movies or video games requires a fast internet connection. Something which may present difficulties to those living in rural areas or those with slower connection speeds.
- Can be more expensive than physical media over time: Digital downloads may prove more expensive over time if you purchase multiple titles. This is due to licensing agreements that permit users to use content rather than ownership rights for each piece.
- You may not own the content outright: Digital downloads typically require you to buy a license rather than owning the content outright. This means that, at any point, and for whatever reason, the content provider could revoke your license and take back control over your creations.
- Very convenient and affordable: Streaming services provide convenient and cost-effective access to movies, TV shows, and music with just a monthly subscription fee. You will gain access to thousands of films, episodes, and musical titles.
- Wide selection of content available: Streaming services provide access to an abundance of content, movies and TV shows, music albums, documentaries, and documentaries alike. Because they do not limit themselves by physical space restrictions like physical media does.
- No need to store physical discs: Streaming services offer an advantage to people living in small spaces and those looking to keep clutter out of their home environment.
- You do not own the content: Streaming content does not grant ownership. You are simply leasing it from the streaming service. This means that streaming services have the freedom to remove content from their library at any time and for any reason.
- You need an internet connection to watch or listen to content: Streaming content requires an internet connection that works, which may pose difficulties for those living in rural areas or with slow speeds.
- The selection of content can change at any time: Content available through streaming services can change out of the blue because streaming providers integrate new titles into their libraries or drop old ones altogether.
- You own the content outright: Physical media purchases like DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs give you ownership of their content. You can enjoy watching or listening whenever it suits you without needing an internet connection or using up space on your hard drive. Plus, you can lend or sell them.
- You can watch or listen to content without an internet connection: Physical media does not rely on internet connectivity for use. It is ideal for rural residents with slower internet speeds or those who need help getting online regularly.
- You can collect and display your physical media: Many people enjoy collecting physical like movies, music albums, and video games for display in their homes as part of their decor. Physical media also can add value and warmth to any room you place it in.
- Less convenient than digital downloads or streaming services: Physical media is less convenient than digital downloads or streaming services. Because you must carry it around if you want to watch or listen while traveling. You can find somewhere suitable to store it if living in small spaces is a concern.
- More expensive than digital downloads over time: Physical media may become more costly over time if you purchase lots of content digitally. This is because physical media requires manufacturing and distribution costs.
- Takes up space to store: Physical media takes up physical storage space. People living in small spaces or who prefer an uncluttered living environment may find this to be an issue.
Best Buy’s decision to stop selling physical media is indicative of changing times. Consumers have increasingly turned to digital formats, prompting retailers to follow suit. However, there remain many people who prefer physical formats. There will always be space in the market.