In a move that shouldn’t be all that surprising, Disney is letting Sony Pictures Entertainment handle all of its DVDs, Blu-rays, and physical media. From now on, Sony Entertainment will handle all of its physical media distribution in the US and Canada, while Disney will prioritize its streaming and digital media divisions.

This licensing model is meant to streamline both companies’ strategies as Disney has already heavily invested in services for its Disney+, while Sony, has historically been an electronics hardware and physical technology services company. Physical media included.  As a result of these changes, Disney is rumored to be doing an internal assessment of its physical media division and possible layoffs could ensue. As for Sony, the company has held a longstanding relationship with Disney, especially Marvel, given that they own the rights to the Spider-Man films.

The news was known everywhere when it was announced the Disney Movie Club subscription service was ending. The platform has been an old-school Netflix-styled catalog of Blu-ray and DVD distribution for the past 23 years at Disney. Revenue has all but dried in physical media and actions lately have backed this. Netflix recently chose to shut down its DVD-by-mail service for good and places such as Best Buy no longer support disk sales. Variety has reported that physical media sales revenue has dropped 28% to $754 million in the first half of 2023, making it no longer even a billion-dollar earning industry.

The concern of note is that without physical media almost all forms of entertainment shift to digital. A concern given that users depend on a service and do not own their movies or products. Still, without the support of disk reading technology in the future, and the inevitable upscale in resolution over time that comes naturally with TVs, ownership of these products and how to consume your favorite sources of media becomes murky at best.

To add more to this complexity and why it’s relevant to comics, is that as it stands, the comic book shops and retail book stores may be one of the last vestiges of media not constrained to a corporatized service. With physical books and comics, users actually get to own their product. Which is becoming oddly more important in a world where every large business is seeking to hook users onto a platform. 


  1. Been wary of the future of the big 2 for some time exactly because of who owns them. The Marvel Unlimited application is the future model for Marvel especially as they are testing the waters with QR codes like at the end of the death of Ms. Marvel for “exclusive content” pages that were to be in the original book.

    The question becomes will they continue to print physical comics but they are simply hyper niche collectible items. Or do they not print them at all and you must consume comics without owning them.

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