Purchasing digital media is an easy option, but it isn’t the greatest if you’re expecting to own that digital content forever. 

We’ve talked about the importance of physical media before. Unlike physical media, digital media is only available to us if the contract between the film’s distributor and the streaming service is still valid. Once that contract ends, that film or series is unavailable, even if you purchased it for $14.99. 

Recently, Twitter user @TedVillavicenc discovered that Amazon Prime Video deleted the two seasons of the Adult Swim cartoon Final Space that he had digitally purchased.

Shealee from Amazon Help responded to @TedVillavicenc, saying, “Hello. Your purchased titles may become inaccessible due to licensing restrictions or for other limited reasons.” 

Giant Freakin Robot believes that Warner Bros. has decided to remove some of its content from other streaming services. The company could be making specific content accessible through Warner Bros.' streaming platform, HBO Max, or deleting content from all streaming services so the company can use the film or series as a network tax write-off. 

Final Space creator Olan Rogers confirmed via Tweet that this was the show's fate.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a new phenomenon. When Disney was preparing for its Disney+ launch, the company removed most of its titles from all streaming platforms, forcing audiences to either purchase physical copies of movies or become subscribers to the streaming service. 

The message is clear—companies like Warner Bros. and Disney offer digital copies of content, but they have the power to delete that content from a user’s private digital library. How audiences consume media has changed, and they no longer have a say in what they can and should be able to watch. 

Final Space is not the only show that is suffering from this form of content purging.

Warner Bros. is removing more content from streaming platforms'Final Space'Credit: Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

The news of Batgirl being shelved made waves throughout the industry since the movie was deep in post-production when CEO David Zaslav axed the film. Batgirl proved that any film and series could be removed by one person who decided that it would be a better financial decision to write off a mostly complete movie. Since then, Warner Bros. has removed over 68 titles from all streaming platforms, including HBO exclusive content, and more titles are soon to disappear once their licenses expire.

None of the footage can be sold in any format once these movies are taken off the digital market. This is a massive problem as it gives major studios the power to dictate what content matters and what content can disappear into oblivion. 

The fact that you can spend your physical money on a piece of content that can easily be taken away should be a huge red flag to your consumption of media. 

The choice to only purchase physical media is a difficult one to make since many streaming services make content that is only available through their service. Viewers cannot access these films or series through physical formats like DVD or Blu-ray because they do not and probably never will exist. 

Since any film or series can be revoked at any time and even removed entirely from the culture, only one question remains: what will the studios allow us to watch? 

It’s an interesting and concerning trend that needs to be watched carefully. Films and series should be available for all viewers to enjoy. It should not be a piece of property that is viewed as a financial decision rather than art. 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Giant Freakin Robot