So John Nolte has a post at Big Hollywood that attempts to explain why DVD sales have declined. Blu-Ray sales have cannibalized some DVD sales, as has the rise of RedBox, Netflix, and Hulu. But Nolte posits that this is not enough to explain the decline. He argues that the reason for the decline in sales is because Hollywood makes crappy product.
This reason seems shallow and highly limited. For one, Hollywood has always made crappy product. It used to be referred to as “b-movies.” Of course, Hollywood has turned pretentious as of late, so b-movies no longer exist, at least nominally.
Additionally, alternative media has had an impact of DVD sales. Google has pushed YouTube as a platform for feature length movies, which undoubtedly reduces the demand for movies in the theater or on DVD. People’s viewing time is limited, so if they watch things on YouTube, they won’t be able to watch other stuff.
Finally, Nolte fails to account for pirating. This isn’t a major oversight on his part, seeing as how there is not much data on the effect of pirating on DVD sales. Still, the popularity of torrent sharing sites would suggest that people are still watching a decent amount of movies, only now they are not paying for them.
Nolte is right in saying that Hollywood faces a revenue problem, but the issue isn’t necessarily a lack of quality films. It may simply be that Hollywood hasn’t figured out an effective business model for the age of the internet.