Redbox is a service I am quite familiar with and frequently use. Just this week, we rented the Blu-Ray version of, Jobs. I really enjoyed the film and found it to be inspirational and was hoping to watch a bit more detail surrounding the film and Mr. Jobs. When I tried to access the bonus portion of the disc, I received a notification that the content was unavailable due to the disc being for rental purposes only. Of course this is not the first time I’d seen this message but I have to ask, has ANYONE gone out and purchased a movie that they rented, just so they could see the bonus content? How much money are these film companies wasting by printing different versions of the discs? How much extra trash or landfill will these rental plastic discs consume down the road? By the way, since some people aren’t even buying discs anymore, what are the film companies going to do in order to share this ‘bonus’ material with everyone who buys movies in the cloud? If you are buying the movie on iTunes, Vudu, Flixter, or Amazon Prime, you should be allowed to view all of that bonus content as well.
So my message to the film industry is this. If you are going to continue to distribute DVD and Blu-Ray discs, whether it’s for rental or purchase, you should clone them from one primary source. Sure, I can see the reason for special editions, collector’s editions, etc. but for most consumers, the standard rental and purchased product should be the same. I can only speculate that your conversion rate from rental to purchase is extremely low but maybe I am wrong. My guess is that most people who purchase movies, already knew that they wanted to own it before it was even released on disc.
Lastly, and I’m going a bit off course here, if we want the streaming and license ownership of movies to catch on, the prices need to come down considerably. At this time I don’t see why any consumer would want to purchase the cloud or streaming version of a film when it costs just as much OR MORE than it would to purchase the physical disc. A perfect example right now would be on Amazon.com. I can order ‘The Notebook’ on Blu-Ray for $8.49. Now, what if I want to purchase the film in HD and watch it on Amazon Prime? Looks like I’d need to pay $13.99. What’s wrong with that picture!? Where is the incentive to leave the costly disc world of printing, packaging, shipping, and so on? Hasn’t the whole ‘App’ store mentality and success sunk in yet?
All I know is that I hope this transition happens sooner rather than later. It should be less expensive to purchase films in the cloud and it should be easy to copy their content to a disc or put those purchased films onto a mobile device, unattached from the internet, and still watch them.
This post is about service and how the film industry can satisfy consumers with a long term solution that should cost less and fulfill current and future needs. Moving more in this direction could help our environment and modernize how we consume film and related media. If you truly cared about the consumer who opted not to rent or buy a particular film in the cloud and instead drove to their nearest Redbox in order to rent it, please just give them the full contents of the disc. By not doing so you are only leaving them dissatisfied and are most likely hurting your sales, not converting them.