In the past I have discussed the preservation of media and how physical media is still important within that discussion. I explained how physical media has several advantages over digital media and how it was the superior method of preservation. However, there are some ways in which streaming services are actually better at saving obscure media than physical media. While physical media remains the most important method of preserving media there are several areas where they've dropped the ball.
For example, some films (mostly made for television films) that have yet to get a physical release find a home and audience on streaming services. These films sometimes never get a physical release due to the lack of initial viewership when it was released or due to the fact that it probably wasn't that memorable and no one was asking for it. This is a shame; despite what others may think of a given piece of media, I never really feel any piece should be forgotten. Every piece of media, no matter the quality, is somebody's favorite and you can even learn some valuable lessons from bad films just by watching them.
Digital streaming services often have a lot of these films, games, or television series because they need to fill up their service with as much content as possible. They do this to make it seem like the customer is getting a lot for their money and will be willing to use the service long term. However, this is an inadvertently positive step for media preservation.
Another reason certain pieces of media don't get physical releases is the money involved. Releasing physical media costs a decent amount of money for things like discs, cases, and shipping to retailers. Many people don't want to risk putting obscure media on a physical format and risk losing money if no one is buying it. With digital, those costs are nonexistent, which allows for the distribution of more obscure and less popular media.
People also don't have to put up money for each piece of media. When purchasing physical media, most people tend to buy media they know they're already going to like. People don't want to risk spending money on a piece of physical media they may or may not like. Streaming removes that pressure and risk, since they pay for the service and not the individual film, which allows more people to explore different films or films they've never heard of. Streaming can actually help pieces of media that are obscure or box office failures find an audience and develop a fan base.
While digital media still has its shortcomings, like the loss of digital files and streaming providers shutting down their services, we now have an abundance of media that can be accessed by almost anyone. Digital media has the capacity to both preserve and distribute all kinds of media to a wider audience than physical media these days. Digital media has a long way to go, but the future I'm seeing looks extremely bright.