Streaming movies and television shows instead of buying DVD and Blu-Ray discs has become the new black in the United States. According to a recent report by research firm IHS Screen Digest, digital viewing is on course to outpace the physical medium within the year.
What better way to watch the upcoming post-theatrical release of Hunger Games than on your iPad?
According to the report, the main force behind the growth in online content is Netflix and Amazon Prime, which made up 94 percent of all paid movie viewing in 2011. “We’re looking at the beginning of the end of the age of movies on physical media like DVD and Blu-Ray,” said Dan Cryan, senior principal analyst for IHS.
Paid and legally downloaded movies are expected to reach 3.4 billion views in the U.S. this year, which is twice what it was last year. Physical disc viewing is predicted to only reach 2.4 billion views, down .2 billion from last year.
Although digital movies are set to be the preferred method for Americans, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs will still account for the most revenue in the industry, according to the report. “The transition is likely to take time: almost nine years after the launch of the iTunes Store, CDs are still a vital part of the music business,” said Cryan. Of course, you can’t exactly buy your Aunt Sally a digital download of “Shaun of the Dead” for Christmas, can you?
In an effort to not be left behind in the media market the way the music industry is headed, major film studios like Sony, Paramount and Fox have teamed up with Wal-Mart to offer disc-to-digital services, which allows consumers to have their physical discs transferred to an online format that can be accessed through VUDU’s cloud storage from any device.
Apple has long been rumored to be working on its own digital streaming subscription service to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, there has been little news that points to the company being ready to move forward any time soon.
In the future, there may be little need for space-hogging DVD shelves or stacks of Blu-Ray discs, but watching last year’s Oscar winners from an iPad may be the new trend in movie viewing.