Mar 25th, 2012

The industry has seen a big leap from streaming and cloud services, especially the past year. According to a study held by IHS Screen Digest, about 3.4 billion movies will be legally streamed during 2012, more than double compared to 2011’s 1.4 billion. A phenomena that could very well be making physical media like Blu-rays and DVDs obsolete.

According to the same research, 2012 will see a 7.7% drop in physical media, with an estimated 2.4 billion blu-ray and DVD movies being watched. This means that streamed movies will officially be crossing the threshold as the most used form of watching movies.

This comes as no surprise, as more devices become compatible with services like Netflix and Hulu. Streaming and cloud services are starting to make media more accessible and affordable. One can watch a movie or show via netflix on most tablets and smartphones, gaming consoles, smart TVs and (of course) computers. Not only that, but such services are synced among all platforms, making the experience much more seamless.

According to the IHS, unlimited services are also much more popular, accounting for 94% of streaming viewership. Only 1.3 percent comes from pay-per-view services like iTunes. Something that may have the industry worried, as customers are paying much less for streaming media, on average, compared to physical media ($0.51 compared to $4.72).

But one must also take into account that streamed media does not need to be physically manufactured. Meaning that profits could very well be better as more users start joining such services. And with such services become more popular, the shift will become eminent.

I have not purchased a DVD or Blu-ray movie in many years. Last one was Pan’s Labyrinth, back in 2007. Since then, I have relied in services like Netflix to take care of my needs. This was before smartphones and tablets reached their full boom. Now, such services are available from most devices with a screen, making it even more convenient for the consumer.

One no longer has to walk anywhere to stream a movie. And it can be done from the comfort of one’s bed. Or while riding the bus, taking a road-trip and even while sitting at the almighty throne. And it is just as easy to switch from device to device, as many services now remember where one left off.

Why would I purchase a more expensive DVD or Blu-ray disc? It costs about the same (most times more) as my monthly Netflix subscription and is far from offering the convenience that streaming services feature.

Certainly, there must still be a market for it. Especially considering the fact that streamed movie quality is nowhere close to Blu-ray movie quality, in terms of high definition. Which may still be a great incentive to continue to purchase Blu-ray movies. But as technology advances, we may see this changing.

Very soon, Blu-ray discs will become the new VHS tapes. Old, obsolete and something completely extraneous to the newest generations. But we would like to know what our audience thinks of this topic. Please take a few seconds to participate in our poll and let us know what you think.

[Source: IHS Screen Digest Via: The Verge]