Amazon’s Deal With Mickey
Disney is listing selected Marvel and Star Wars Blu-Ray/DVD releases as available only via Amazon Prime. Currently, the titles listed include Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi, Ant-Man, The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger, Winter Soldier, Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Iron Man 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: The Dark World, and Thor: Ragnarok.
When Two Companies Fall In Love
Physical media isn’t the most popular medium anymore. However, there are large pockets of folks who love collecting films on Blu-Ray and DVD. The physical items provide a sense of curating something special to reflect one’s personality. Furthermore, the items aren’t hard to come by. Most retailers (online or otherwise) carry physical copies of films. Although, online retailers offer better prices and the convenience of not leaving home. Of course, Amazon is the king of online retailers. Their Prime service, which offers free two-day shipping on every purchase, along with a bevy of other perks, is a no-brainer for folks who frequently purchase online.
In the words of Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Unfortunately, Amazon and the House of Mouse may be abusing their power. Recently, the online retailer began offering selected Disney titles, mainly Star Wars and Marvel films, as Prime exclusives. In other words, you must be a member of Amazon Prime to purchase one of those films. Certainly, these aren’t the first items Amazon offered in this manner. But, they are the most ubiquitous and set a potentially dangerous precedent.
An Anecdote About Amazon
I was a late adopter of technology. As such, I still prefer purchasing the majority of my goods in person. Usually, I don’t shop online unless I’m given a gift card to a specific online retailer. This means I have no need for an Amazon Prime membership. However, I do enjoy window shopping on various websites. Several months ago, I found myself killing time looking up tabletop games on Amazon. I was considering the board game Terraforming Mars. When I checked the shipping price, it was only available on Amazon Prime.
Even though I wasn’t purchasing the item, I found myself horrified. The idea that certain goods are locked behind a paywall is scary. Of course, I know plenty of people that would generously share their Prime account with me, but that is beside the point. Making a paid membership the standard for purchasing goods sends a strange message.
Now, with these popular film titles locked behind the wall, it appears Amazon is building the wall higher. Offering popular goods as Prime Exclusives feels like a weapons test, and consumers should proceed with caution. The idea that everything might be subscription based feels like a Black Mirror episode.
What do you think? Is Amazon paving a new road? Or am I just a technophobe who is afraid of the future? Let us know in the comments!