best-buy-shelves

Prepare to see less shelves of DVDs and CDs at your local Best Buy. In a recent piece from the LA Times, we’ve learned that the mega-retailer sees that the tide is turning for physical products down the line, and is beginning to look towards further supporting digital downloads and streaming services. This doesn’t mean Best Buy will be giving up on new DVD, Bluray, and CD releases—but expect to see less room for older and less popular films and music on store shelves.

Ryan Pirozzi, direct of Best Buy digital media, sums up their new outlook:

Digital is developing as an important channel, and our three-point strategy is to drive adoption of Internet-connectable devices, drive connection and drive consumption using our deep consumer relationships.

And here I thought Netflix was one of the few companies making significant steps away from physical media. The common bond with Netflix and Best Buy is that their current models completely rely on physical media, and if they are to survive in the next few years, they need to cement themselves as leaders in delivering content directly to your living room television (not to mention other rooms and devices).

Best Buy recently signed a deal with CinemaNow to allow access to their library of digital content in future internet-connected televisions, DVD and Blu-ray players, as well as other devices.  They’ve also signed a deal with Netflix to bring their Watch Instantly feature to cheaper Blu-ray players (fascinating that this is becoming almost as big a draw for these players as Blu-ray discs alone). And let’s not forget that last year Best Buy bought Napster—which they haven’t done much with yet, and still remains in fifth place for digital music purchases.

LAT mentions that current execs are already envisioning what a future Best Buy may look like:

Instead of rows and rows of DVDs and CDs, the center of the store will be a ‘hub’ that emphasizes home connectivity by bringing together Napster and the new online movie service with devices needed to watch them.

While that may indeed seem a bit fantastical, if Best Buy becomes an integral part of customer’s digital download and streaming experience, it doesn’t matter what the stores will look like in the future. They’ll survive as long as they remain synonymous with their customers’ media experience.

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