Sony to take over Disney's 4K Blu-ray sales in North America
Sony to take over Disney's 4K Blu-ray sales in North America
By Mike Wheatley - 22 February 2024

Disney has revealed that it’s selling a chunk of its home entertainment business to Sony in a deal that will enable it to continue producing DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K Blu-ray discs. 

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The companies said their deal covers both the manufacture and distribution of Disney physical media, in an announcement that will likely be welcomed by fans of Blu-ray content. 

The deal comes at a time when the industry is veering away from physical media sales to digital content – a trend that is upsetting a lot of movie aficionados who appreciate the benefits of lower-latency content. But although it still has its die-hard fans, physical media is in a rough spot, with sales and rentals of discs in the US falling 25% in 2023 to $1.56 billion, down from over $16 billion at its peak in the mid-2000s, due to the rise of streaming.

However, there are reasons not to get too excited about the news, as the deal reportedly only covers North America, which means distribution of Disney’s Blu-rays and DVD content will only reach sellers in the U.S. and Canada and, perhaps, Mexico. So the deal is unlikely to benefit physical media fans in countries like the U.K. and Australia. 

The deal also fails to address the fact that many retailers are pulling out of the market for physical discs entirely. In a recent announcement, one of the U.S.’s biggest players, Best Buy, revealed that it is purging its stock of 4K Blu-ray discs and will not be refreshing it. 

Still, the deal does offer some encouragement as it shows that Disney is not giving up on the market just yet, even if it’s basically outsourcing everything. It’s decision to continue producing physical media signals that 4K Blu-rays aren’t quite done yet, despite numerous headlines proclaiming the imminent death of the industry. We should note that Disney will continue to focus on its digital movies and TV shows, via its premium video-on-demand and streaming services.