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Growth, Value and Balance Priorities for 2002 -- Part 4

28 Jan, 2002 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Do you see any significant changes to the current DVD model in the way of special features and other programming? Are we going to see more or less of the same (commentaries, deleted scenes, etc.)—and why? Will we see anything new and unique, such as more alternate endings or paths the movie can take?

Amodei: It will be a challenge to the creative departments of all of the studios to come up with unique additions to keep the DVD phenomenon fresh. This is the best part of the business. More and more filmmakers are embracing DVD as they look at it as the one piece of their work that will last forever.

Andersen: Though costly, special features are an important distinguishing characteristic of DVDs. Perhaps as much as the movie itself, every release with special features presents an opportunity to turn a casual viewer into a film buff. Every such opportunity realized means intrinsic growth for the industry. Alternate pathways may also capture more consumers who have already watched the film theatrically.

Blanken: Perhaps we will see minor additions or adjustments to the content in the short term. But the question is, will revenues increase enough to justify the additional cost of producing these additional features? I certainly believe that one of the popular aspects of DVD is the added features. But, is there anything different that could be added that would boost sales even more? As a norm, I don't think we will see a lot of additional stuff. Consumers tend to have a fairly narrow focus. Additionally, it always seems to take a little time for consumers to become accepting of new things (NUON is a good example). The bonus features offered to date have been relatively easy to produce (albeit at an added cost). Anyone who dedicates dollars to creating additional features and capabilities should do so only after accepting the fact that it will likely take two or three years for interest to develop. If they are looking for quick acceptance they are taking a big risk.

Chapek: Buena Vista Home Entertainment will continue its leadership in the move to provide more relevant DVD bonus programming to our customers. It no longer should be about quantity alone, but instead, we will continue to strive to provide first-rate, well-produced bonus programming that the mainstream audience finds interesting.

Fink: As the medium grows and talent becomes more involved, you will see more content, more features, more value-added programming. The DVD consumer has come to expect it, while features and added content give a DVD release its primary justification for collectability. DVD gives talent the opportunity to showcase the film in a variety of ways. What differentiates and adds uniqueness to the home entertainment industry is this showcasing can only be displayed on DVD, no other entertainment delivery medium. Special features offers a new reason to see a theatrical release again and gives new life to older, catalog films.

Kornblau: With the continued growth of DVD, there are innumerable opportunities to provide the consumer with even more entertainment options than they currently enjoy on the disc. As technology continues to improve coupled with the rapid changes we're already seeing, the filmmaker will be able to incorporate more interactive options not available in the traditional theatrical exhibition. For example, a back-story on a character could be explored on the DVD that would be prohibitive on screen for a number of reasons, including running time during exhibition. The consumer will come to expect a more enriching experience and we will provide it. With that will come increasing growth in the player base and wider demographic distribution.

Malugen: We may see a plain vanilla DVD come out with the special feature DVD coming out weeks later at a lower price. That would seem to make sense for studios.

Pagano: I believe there is more upside in using DVD's technology before hitting the ceiling.

Scavelli: I think DVD as we know it today will pretty much be the same DVD that we will see in the near future. We may see some vanilla versions for a cheaper price, or for a rental window with more value-added stuff being added later for the sellthrough version. However, I personally don't see any major shifts in this year.

Sooter: We approach each DVD individually. The film itself dictates the bonus material that accompanies the movie. We try to develop materials that are "organic" to the film. For instance, when developing the bonus material for Shrek, we wanted to create bonus material that would be of interest to a wide range of people, since the movie had such a broad appeal. We created a double disc that offers one disc for the family market that included a pan-and-scan version of the movie, a dedicated kids area, DVD ROM and set-top games, and other family-friendly programming. The second disc offers the adult audience the film in widescreen, behind-the-scenes programs that look into the movie's unprecedented technological achievements, a filmmaker's commentary, and "technical" goofs--hilarious outtakes of animation in progress, as well as other material. DVD technology is still evolving and there are many more "never before seen" programs to come. It's a very exciting and creative category and will continue to break new ground over the next several years.

Thomas: Studios will continue to push the envelope toward new ways to use technology in DVD special features to create consumer excitement and differentiate their products from competition. We've only just skimmed the surface--we'll be seeing innovative and creative advancements for years to come.

Thrasher: The value-added enhancements on DVD primarily, but even on VHS, have really helped our entertainment packaged goods sales. The consumer is no novice on the entertainment business and his/her appetite for key information and interesting subject matter supplementing the viewing experience is one of this industry's best benefits over a downloaded film on demand. I'll let the creative folks take care of what interesting features to provide, but films that were under-performers at the box office like Fight Club had unbelievable sales on DVD thanks to great packaging and value-added informational extras.

Read more:

How big is the video market and are bigger things ahead in 2002?

Are consumers' video habits changing?

Is DVD cannibalizing rental-priced VHS?

What is the single biggest challenge facing the video industry this year?

Will 2002 be the year for VOD?

What would be the biggest mistake retailers or studios could make in the coming year?

What advice would you give your colleagues?

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