The Christmas shopping season is upon us, and just watching a few minutes of TV ads reminds me how many cool new devices are there to explore this year. Windows 8 is being released this month. The new iPhone just came out. New ultra thin displays and TVs are hitting the shelves. There is lots of tech stuff to get excited about.
What about those shiny circular things sitting next to the DVD player you might not be using as much anymore. Yes I’m talking about DVDs. Have you ever wondered what the future of DVDs will be? Are we looking at another downfall like the CD market? Or maybe they will stand the test of time and stay with us a little longer.
DVDs and CDs are both technically as entertainment, but there are major differences in the way we enjoy these two forms of entertainment. Music can be enjoyed when driving in the car to walking the dog to sitting in front of the computer. Movies on the other hand are a much different experience.
It’s not easy to be mobile and fully engaged in a great movie. Personally, I’ve tried to watch a movie on my iPhone outside on a sunny day. Maybe it’s just me, but I could barely make out the screen due to the glare and the small display. No, it’s not just me, when we watch movies the majority of us want to use a big screen with premium sound quality.
The DVD market is a happy one. Consumers like the quality they get with a DVD or Blu-ray disc. They like the reliability of playing a DVD directly onto a large screen without having to wait for a download or a slow connection. Unfortunately connectivity can still be a problem in inclement weather or remote locations. In those cases it’s nice to have a reliable DVD to just plug-in and enjoy.
Take those DVD rental kiosks at you local supermarket or 7-Eleven. Even in today’s high connectivity digital age those kiosks are still pretty popular. I live in the heart of Silicon Valley and my local 7-Eleven usually has three or four customers waiting in line almost every evening. There could be a lot of reasons for this, but honestly a premium quality DVD stream takes a lot of bandwidth. With everyone home during prime-time getting a good quality stream can be difficult. Having the physical media in your hands and playing it on your device is very reliable.
I see two scenarios for the future of the DVD market.
First, consumers will make spontaneous purchases of DVDs and Blu-ray discs while shopping. I don’t think anyone really goes “DVD shopping”. But I do think that shoppers might come across a title that sparks their interest and they make a spontaneous purchase decision. Especially with the price coming down and many companies bundling movies together. Spending $10 for three movies is a pretty good deal no matter how you slice it.
I see DVDs in the market for rental purposes. Many are even still trying to copy DVDs that have copy protection. As I mentioned above, DVD rental kiosks are extremely popular. And remember we’re talking about a worldwide market here. Markets outside of the US and Canada are still very interested in using DVDs to supply home entertainment, just like us. Convenience comes into play. When we’re out and we see a kiosk that has the movie we want to see, why not rent it there. Going home on a Friday night, with limited bandwidth, and paying $6+ to rent a DVD in HD from your favorite online movie source may not be the best alternative. Instead, picking up the movie you want to watch for a less expensive price is still a very good option.
The overall market share will probably decline in the coming years. And the number of users streaming online movies vs watching DVDs has already come and past, streaming wins. With that said, unlike the CD market, which took a flying leap off a cliff, DVDs will be here with us for a few more years. And I think the DVD market will remain strong during that time. And because software coders are still maintaining and updating dvd burning software, tells that there is still money to be made on the software side.