It was inevitable, and to be honest, we're surprised it lasted as long as it has. But today Amazon has announced that its Lovefilm by Post DVD and Blu-ray rental service is to close.
In an email sent out to subscribers, it noted a "decreasing demand for DVD and Blu-ray" as its "customers increasingly move to streaming". Because of this trend, it will be calling time on Lovefilm by Post from October 31st.
To soften the blow, Amazon will not be billing subscribers beyond September 30th, and will be offering subscribers discounted Fire TV sticks for anyone affected, allowing them to access Amazon's Prime Video streaming service as an alternative.
However, it'll come as little recompense to those that knew Lovefilm by Post for what it was truly worth – as the greatest resource of obscure films and TV shows in the UK.
While streaming services have to increasingly cater to as wide an audience as possible (meaning lowest-common-denominator content), and have to buy limited-time access licenses to shows and movies which leads to rotating libraries, Lovefilm by Post had an ever-expanding catalogue of films and TV shows catering to all tastes. If you had a specific film or show in mind, you could pretty much guarantee that Lovefilm by Post would have it, and that its dwindling subscriber base would mean that you'd quickly be sent out the discs of your choice, regardless of limited stock.
Of course, streaming services have their advantages. They're instantly available (no need to wait for a postal delivery), and can be updated to support the latest video formats, such as 4K and HDR – all things offered by Amazon's alternative Prime Video service, and its rival Netflix. For the more discerning viewer, Amazon now offers individual content channel bolt-ons for specific genres too, such as the BFI Player, for an additional fee. As it continues to invest in this increasingly-valuable space, it makes sense that it'd close what's become a niche, resource-intensive service.
Still – outside of building your own bespoke physical or downloaded and purchased video library, there's nothing quite as comprehensive as Lovefilm by Post. Cinephiles should be pouring one out for a great loss.
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