Now, we have so much data and fast bandwidth is so expensive, that transferring data to another site physically is actually a consideration.
Was there ever a time this wasn't true?
Sure there was. I remember a time when having physical media was a big deal. One, because storage was still an issue, Two because downloading crap took a long time. It you had physical media, it was faster to install from CD than to download and run an executable. Then storage caught up, and bandwidth increased. To the point where I haven't actually used physical media in quite a long time. Need to install an ISO? Flash a thumb drive and boot. I'm actually pretty happy I don't have stacks of game boxes I need to keep track of anymore for my PC games. The DVD and BluRay collection? Ripped to the NAS, served up to the Roku, the cases in storage in the basement, not taking up space in my living room.
However, with storage getting big and cheap, data tends to grow to accomodate available disk space. Consumer bandwidth, on the other hand, has not grown in kind.
Case in point - I have close to 12TB of used space on my NAS. It's a RAID6, so I can sustain some drive loss, but I've learned the hard way that RAID is not a back up. Now, given that Amazon has Unlimited Cloud storage for 60 bucks a year, I'd like to take them up on it and use it to backup my NAS. Problem is the fastest Internet I can get in my area without paying construction fees to get a fiber run and then paying a ridiculous amount of money each month for the bandwidth is 5mbps upstream. When I calculated that out, it would take ~300 days just to do the initial backup assuming I ran my upstream at full load 24/7. Right now, I'm relegating backup duties to a bunch of external drives instead, and seriously considering building out a second NAS just to backup the first one. Still doesn't solve my problem of having a secure offsite backup in case the house burns down, shit gets stolen, etc.
So in some regards, I've managed to nix physical media needs, but that unfortunately has created a situation where physical media is needed for other things, and it's solely because of the lack of bandwidth.