Best Buy to stop selling DVDs and Blu-rays in another blow to physical media

Mike Wheatley

U.S. retail giant Best Buy has confirmed that its going to exit the market for physical media disks next year when it pulls the plug on sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs.


The company has confirmed to media that it is going to start phasing out sales of both types of media in early 2024. It made the decision to do so nine months earlier, according to an anonymous source quoted by The Digital Bits, which first reported the news.

Best Buy later confirmed the plans, saying it will stop selling physical media in both its online and physical stores. “To state the obvious, the way we watch movies and TV shows is much different today than it was decades ago,” a Best Buy spokesperson said in a statement to the press. “Making this change gives us more space and opportunity to bring customers new and innovative tech for them to explore, discover and enjoy.”

The retailer plans to keep selling DVDs and Blu-ray discs throughout the 2023 holiday season, both online and in its stores, but will phase them out early on in the new year. It will continue to sell physical video games, however. Best Buy is one of the bigger physical retailers in the U.S., with 969 stores spread across the country.

The decision is another nail in the coffin for a physical disc industry that is slowly but surely being strangled to death. The peak of its popularity dates back to the mid-2000s, when the Blu-ray format was launched as the successor to DVDs, with superior capacity and picture quality. That year, 2006, saw consumer spending on physical media peak at just over $24 billion, Variety reported. However, in the last year, accumulated spending on physical media rentals and sales fell to just over $2 billion.

Other retailers appear to be heading in the same direction. Earlier this year, Walmart said it was reducing the floor space it dedicates to DVDs and Blu-ray discs in its physical stores by 20%. Back in April, Netflix, which pioneered the DVD-by-mail concept, said it was exiting what had become a legacy business, and finally shuttered it in September.

Another company to pull out completely was Ingram Entertainment, previously America’s biggest third-party disc distributor. “Expenses are exceeding sales so it’s time to exit,” Ingram’s CEO David Ingram said in September.

At the same time, the dwindling availability of DVD and Blu-ray media players has long been a talking point. Media producers are also scaling back, with Disney announcing it will no longer sell physical media in Australia, for example.

With Best Buy’s exit from the disc market, Amazon, Target and Walmart will become the top retailers in the U.S. for DVDs and Blu-rays. Another company, Redbox, remains in the game, with its network of around 29,000 DVD rental stores across the U.S.

The decline of physical media is due to the seemingly unstoppable rise in digital movie and game sales, and also the influx of video streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.