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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Consumers Are More Involved in the DVD Production Process Than They Ever Were in VHS Days

10 Aug, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

There's a significant change going on in DVD production mentality and it bodes well for consumers.

For awhile there, it appeared as though the studios were trying to outdo one another in the amount of extra stuff they could load onto DVDs. One studio releases a disc with two documentaries and three running commentaries; another studio slaps on five documentaries and four commentaries -- the director, the cast, the crew and someone who knew the key grip while he was a boy in Dubuque.

Get the picture? Talk about too much of a good thing.

But now the studios are getting smart. Walt Disney Home Video is putting games on its animated classics and New Line is bowing its "infinifilm" line, in which consumers can access special features at the appropriate moments during the film. DIC is talking about putting a default on children's DVDs so they start playing as soon as the little tykes slip them into the player. And now you've got Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment giving consumers a choice between special features or better audio-video quality.

In short, the studios are paying attention to the consumer, more than they ever did in the VHS days, when the formula was always the same: put the movie on tape, add a few clips of other stuff you're trying to sell and that's it.

Of course, consumers are more involved in the DVD production process than they ever were in the VHS days. Credit the World Wide Web. DVD chat rooms were flourishing in the format's infancy and smart studio executives like Fox's Peter Staddon were quick to tap into this amazing pipeline of public thought and sentiments.

DVD has enabled the studios to create a whole new product and the way they're going about the creation process is very smart. They're keeping their eyes open and their minds open and they're demonstrating a remarkable willingness to experiment --something Hollywood has never been known for.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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