Physical Media is Dead. Well, Actually, No… (Part 3)

In the last installment, I mentioned how the market for physical media was shrinking in the face of downloads and streaming options. This is certainly true for the general consumer, but not necessarily with movie buffs.

Independent labels like Shout! Factory and Kino Lorber have recognized the small, but enthusiastic market of collectors and target most of their new releases to them. As the major studios are no longer seeing much value in their back catalogues, they are willing and eager to license titles out. The movies made be 10+ years old, but these indie companies are more than happy to pick them up. To further up the ante, they also license the special features originally created by the parent company as well as sometimes making new ones.

Shout! commissions new cover artwork for many of their titles. To keep purists happy, they tend to make the covers double sided so that the original poster is also on hand. The collector market for DVDs has bottomed out, so these new special editions are almost always either exclusively on Blu-ray or in Blu-ray/DVD combo packs.

As these companies work on small budgets, they generally make use of existing digital masters. However, if a title seems to have a lot of potential, Shout! will sometimes foot the bill for a new, up-to-date transfer. All of these added features make these special editions tough to resist, even if you already own the film.

Another indie label well worth mentioning is Vinegar Syndrome, which also does special editions, but is notable primarily for its film restoration efforts. The company specializes in adult movies shot on film from the 1960s through the 1980s, but also releases other genres, such as horror, action, and exploitation.

Discs may be harder to find in stores, but there is still a thriving collector’s market out there that should keep physical media vibrant for a few more years at least.

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