What Happens to DVD Extras in the Digital Age?
But one question I've been thinking about lately is: what happens to all this stuff in an era when most people consume movies as digital downloads, sent directly to a PC, mobile phone, or TV?
You'll notice that when you download or rent a movie today from iTunes, Amazon, or Movielink, you're getting the feature only. There's no way to buy, for instance, Robert Rodriguez's fun "Ten Minute Film School" and "Ten Minute Cooking School" videos that have shown up on his DVDs. You can get commentary from Francis Ford Coppola on the Blu-ray release of the "Godfather" trilogy, but not when you download "The Godfather" from Amazon's video-on-demand department.
Here are two scenarios. I'm curious what you think (and perhaps you envision other scenarios):
All of these goodies that are today DVD extras eventually become available on the Internet for free. They're used to help market the original theatrical release of the film and get people into theaters, or later to get persuade to purchase or rent the digital version. (Remember, this is a world where DVDs are fading into the sunset.)
Some of the goodies become available on the Internet to market the movie in advance of its release. But some expensive-to-produce, in-depth pieces of content (like a great "making of" documentary, or an interview with an ordinarily reclusive director) carry a price tag. For an extra buck on your digital rental (or an extra two bucks on top of the download-to-own price), you might get this bonus material. Or, you might buy it a la carte for a couple bucks after you've seen and enjoyed the movie.
Here are a couple of interesting examples of content that's circulating on the Internet to promote movies, which just a few years ago would've only existed on DVD.
- Maurice Sendak talks with director Spike Jonze about how the book "Where the Wild Things Are" was originally received. Intended to promote Jonze's "Wild Things" feature film, which is coming out this October.
- William H. Macy and Kate Micucci sing "It's Time to Get Laid" (and play ukelele!) to promote the DVD release of the indie comedy "Bart Got a Room."
What do you think? I certainly would like to see filmmakers find a way to earn extra revenue from the extra stuff they produce -- but perhaps it'll be just as valuable as an engine that helps drive ticket or download sales.