It feels like beginning of the end.
Last week, there were rumblings online that Disney had plans to discontinue its release of physical media overseas. Today, we learned that those rumblings are true.
According to the Australian news outlet 7news.au, Disney has confirmed that it will no longer sell physical DVDs and Blu-rays in Australia after the upcoming release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. This means Australia as a whole continent, so New Zealand will also be impacted. The decision is due to both the plummeting sales of physical media throughout the continent and the company’s renewed focus on streaming.
Now, at this time, there is no evidence that this is the start of a global trend. In fact, Disney has ceased the release of physical in Latin America and most parts of Asia over the last decade. However, as consumer habits evolve, there is a possibility that Disney may want to embrace this concept universally. Sure that would mean the end of things such as the Disney Movie Club and the iconic “Disney vault”, but as both the costly “Streaming Wars” and Hollywood strikes continue, it wouldn’t be surprising if Disney looked at reducing physical media releases as a way to save money.
To reiterate, Disney fans in other territories such as North America or Europe have nothing to worry about. Though they should consider themselves lucky the next time they are able to add another unit to their location.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray globally on August 1st, before being available exclusively on Disney+ August 2nd.