As digital downloads dominate the entertainment market from internet TV to music streaming services, it could be assumed that physical media is no longer relevant.

Generally speaking, digital downloads are on the rise and physical media facing a steady decline. However, the picture is slightly more nuanced than that. Of course, digital downloads require a reliable internet connection – meaning that there will always be a place (however small) for a hard copy of media to be accessible.

This infographic by Vouchercloud gives an overview of the statistics across different forms of media to compare how the formats are faring. Interesting areas bucking the trend include vinyl, which is experiencing a revival among collectors and music aficionados insistent on the incomparable sound quality – which sets vinyl sales on an upward (though minimal) trajectory. Technology also hasn’t evolved fast enough to accommodate the huge file size of computer games, which is driving the preference in that area for physical disks.

So it seems that sentiment and practical concerns are keeping old formats alive, signifying that the ringing of the disk death knoll could still be a little way off. However, digital’s cost economy and accessibility features are without doubt the stronger opponents in this tug of war.

 Infographic: Are disks obsolete?


Tan Allaway

Tan Allaway is the editor-in-chief of PwC’s Digital Pulse.

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