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DVD: Is It a Product or an Experience?

4 Apr, 2005 By: Stephanie Prange

Something struck me as I looked over our recent article on the growing influence of the video industry in Hollywood. Some think of the DVD as a mere packaged product, like Kleenex or ketchup, and others see it as more of an entertainment experience, like a theatrical viewing.

This tension has existed for some time in the business. Are we part of Hollywood or part of the packaged goods business? With the advent of DVD, the creative end took off, linking us more closely to the Hollywood machine. No longer was a video just a poorer copy of the theatrical version; it included great picture and sound, “making of” extras and director's commentaries. Heck, the little disc was pitched as a film class in a box.

In a recent Los Angeles Times article, theater owners bemoaned the growing popularity of DVD and the shrinking release windows that see films hit the home shortly after they hit theaters. I recently noted that Oscar-nominated films would be better served if they hit the DVD market before the awards ceremony so that consumers, unable to get to the few cinemas screening these small films, could see these arthouse gems before the broadcast. The fact is many films are viewed for the first time in the home.

Whether theater owners like it or not, DVD is a big and growing part of Hollywood, and to many consumers who purchase discs, it's an entertainment experience akin to a theatrical viewing. It just happens to be sold in a package.

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