We go out… in defense of DVDs…?

Have you ever missed the days when you walk into a video rental store (rip Blockbuster), browse the aisle to find the perfect movie to watch after your tea, and rent it? Well, if so, you’re in luck! We may be about to see the return of DVD.

Last week, IndieWire confirmed that HBO Max has removed six Warner Bros. movies made specifically for HBO Max, and apparently more cuts are on the horizon. Some of the more notable movies pulled from the streaming platform include moon shot with Cole Sprouse and Zach Braff, Superintelligence with Melissa McCarthy, the 2020 remake of The witches, An American pickle with Seth Rogen, Locked with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne Hathaway, and Charm of the kings of the city by Angel Manuel Soto.

Indiewire Worryingly reported that a “person with knowledge of the decision” informed them that the removed films are part of a longer list of films and series removed from HBO Max and Discover + as executives prepare to integrate the two subscriber video-on-demand services in one. Apparently, the movies and series targeted for removal are the ones that aren’t performing well enough on the service.

Through Indiewire‘s reporting on this debacle, they consistently refer to endangered movies and series as “content,” which in itself is a sign of the times. Today, when most people think of the term “content,” they think of influencers; the word is usually used with a sense of judgment or derision, and even influencers themselves often express resentment at being called “content creators.” But why has this term infiltrated the world of cinema and television?

Legendary director Martin Scorsese has expressed his belief that “the art of filmmaking is being systematically devalued and reduced to ‘content'”, as filmmaking is now viewed as a mere business. In his 2021 essay for Harper’s Magazine, he wrote, “The term ‘content’ gradually became increasingly used by people who took over media companies, most of whom knew nothing about the history of the art form, or even cared enough to think they should. “Content” has become a trade term for all motion pictures. The contentification of movies and TV is one of the main reasons streaming services find it so easy to drop, delete, and erase these media items without any thought or consideration.

Streaming services like HBO Max don’t curate their services to inspire or move their audiences; everything is based on what works; which makes money and keeps their businesses afloat. No matter how much we cry and scream about the removal of our favorite shows and movies, the algorithm trumps everything. Algorithms, by description, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else. Your feelings and connection to these works of art are secondary. It’s just a numbers game.

So where do we go from here? As streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO continue to raise their prices, fire their marginalized staff and delete the content we like, what do we do as dissatisfied consumers? Well, many people on Twitter advise us to look back.

First released in late 1996, DVDs enjoyed only a fairly short-lived reign, dying a young and very brutal death in the early 2000s. home movies, charging a monthly subscription fee for unlimited rentals rather than per movie. It then became an online streaming subscription, and laptops and PCs stopped having DVD players. Poor little DVDs didn’t stand a chance.

But now DVDs (and illegal streaming services, lol) might be our only saving grace. Although it is said that things on the internet last forever, it is becoming increasingly clear that this is not the case. But DVDs, on the other hand, are reliable and last up to 30 years, depending on the type of environment they’re stored in and how carefully you don’t scratch them. They also don’t require internet use, so if your internet is down or you don’t have WiFi, you can still watch your favorite movies and series. The assurance that you will always have access to your favorite media is simply higher with DVD than with any streaming service.

As everything in the UK gets more and more expensive, one of the best things about the demise of the DVD industry is their current low cost. Most local charity stores have one to buy, get a free deal with DVDs, and you can also get entire TV series at used electronics stores like CEX at deep discounts with DVD players , making it a smart and cost-effective choice. — especially in this economy.

Also, like vinyl, DVDs have an aesthetic quality. Vintage technology can provide a more personal and nostalgic movie-watching experience, from cover art to stylish records. There’s something special about physically holding media you love, which can add significantly to your movie-watching experience. There’s also something fun about going to someone’s house and browsing through their DVD collection. Not only does it tell you a lot about that person, but you can also pass some ruthless judgment on their taste in movies. You can also share the DVDs you like with your friends and family and come back together to discuss them.

The general urge to return things like vinyls, physical books, and now DVDs can be seen as our desire of the past. Writer Rob Horn describes this commercial nostalgia as a nostalgia for the “pre-capitalist, pre-massified and pre-globalized world”. We yearn for the world we knew as children, when things seemed romantically real and simple.

So with all of that in mind, maybe it’s time to get back to the simple pleasures in life and embrace the DVD renaissance.