One of the biggest risks with digital content is that the user doesn’t actually own the content they pay for. Unlike tangible discs and other physical media that can be kept long after companies disappear or titles are no longer available, digital content can vanish at any time. This is something that PlayStation users are now being faced with.
The company has reached out to users to notify them of the coming deletion of various Discovery TV shows that will be taking place at the end of the year (December 31st, 2023). This is due to changes being made by Warner Bros Discovery, where it has been shaving off content being made to users online. This not only affects its own streaming services (Max) but any other platform it partners with (including Sony).
What’s unfortunate is that many times, this content is made available at (or close to) the price of the physical alternative. So it can be a little unfair to users since the benefits are astronomically different. You are only paying for the right to watch said content for as long as a company makes the content available. Those rights cannot be transferred to anyone else in your family (beneficiaries) and are dissolved with either the death of the company (which can also include mergers or changes in ownership) or the user.
This means that users are not entitled to refunds for any content that is lost. Again, since the user never “owned” the content to begin with. It is also one of the biggest reasons why DVD/Blu-ray media is still so readily available in stores and online. If it is going to cost nearly the same to buy it in digital format, why not just “own” the content (physically) instead? This is also why solutions like Plex (a personal media server) are so incredibly popular within the tech-savvy communities.
The overall list of shows and seasons is pretty huge. So you know this is going to create a lot of chatter online from angry users that aren’t so happy about losing access to everything they paid for. Streaming networks dropping content is one thing (since you still have access to so much more), but when you pay for the content individually, this carries a completely different weight. Leading to a much heavier loss.