Disney has stopped distributing physical media like DVDs and Blu-Ray discs in Australia and New Zealand, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 marking the last release in those two countries.
Cord Cutters News has confirmed that once retailers run out of their current stock Disney media discs, they will no longer receive additional inventory. Several sites have reported on Disney pulling out of Australia, including Always On, but New Zealand is also affected by the move.
Sales of physical media have deteriorated with the rise of digital purchases and streaming services that promise to deliver shows and movies on demand. Furthermore, the big media players are looking to nudge consumers into paying a monthly fee for a service like Disney Plus instead of buying the occasional DVD or Blu-Ray.
Disney also stopped selling DVDs and Blu-Rays in Latin America in 2020, a year after its service launched.
The move was made due to the increasing popularity of online home entertainment, according to an industry source. Each territory makes their own decision, so the move out of Australia and New Zealand won’t necessarily impact other countries, they said.
Global retailers are still selling Disney DVDs and Blu-Rays, and they continue to be available in North America.
Chatter about the move kicked off earlier this week after Always On spotted a Facebook post from Australian retailer Sanity, which announced that Disney would cease selling physical media.
Disney dropping support of DVD and Blu-Ray discs there is a big deal since it owns a vast library of content, from its own Disney animated classics to Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While physical media sales have been in deep decline, they still represent a sizeable business. Blu-Rays and DVDs made up $1.58 billion in revenue last year, according to the Digital Entertainment Group’s 2022 report. That’s down 20% from a year earlier, and was propped up from sales of UHD Blu-Ray discs.
While many have shifted completely towards the convenience of digital media, owning a physical disc means you actually own that content, and can watch it at any time. Relying on streaming services means risking your favorite show or movie getting dropped or moved to another service. Disney Plus, for instance, removed a number of shows in the last few months.
Disney declined to comment.