Sony Pictures has teamed up with Walmart’s Vudu to start offering additional content and features to viewers who buy movies through the streaming video service. The partnership is designed not just to provide more reason for customers to own digital movies, but could also be used by other studios and retailers.
For a long time, movie studios have included so-called “DVD extras” into video releases as a way to differentiate their home entertainment offerings for consumers. Now, with Sony and Vudu as first movers, they’re extending that feature to digital purchases of movies online.
The Sony-Vudu partnership is designed to give users similar features to long-available DVD extras through movies purchased on the Vudu marketplace. The Vudu Extras+ offering will enable users to watch deleted scenes, featurettes, and movie trivia, just like the usual DVD or Blu-ray extras.
But Vudu Extras+ also gives viewers other features that aren’t available on disc, such as “enhanced scene search” or the available to clip and share scenes with other people. The scene search will let users search for movie dialogue, videos, photos, and other extra content, enabling them to view their favorite scenes. The “clip and share” feature, meanwhile, will let them select clips and post to Facebook.
Viewers will be able to preview extras, and will get access to the whole thing once they’ve bought the movie. If they already own a film through Vudu or their UltraViolet library, they’ll be able to view the extras. And also, if they have a promotional code that they received by purchasing a DVD and redeeming it online.
“We’re interested in trying to add value to the digital ownership value proposition,” Richard Berger, SVP of Global Digital Strategy & Operations for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment told me. In that way, the studio is trying to get viewers to purchase movies online in the same way that they used to buy them on DVD and Blu-ray.
For now that’s just for Sony and Vudu, but the two are hoping to enable other companies to offer the same features. Berger said that Sony and Vudu are talking to other online retailers, as well as other studios, to make the extras available to their customers as well.
“The way that we’ve approached this it’s designed to be implemented as a standard approach,” Berger said. In other words, it’s hoping that other members of the UltraViolet-DECE consortium will begin offering similar offerings.
The first title to include the extras feature is sci-fi movie District 9, available for sale through the Vudu storefront. Sony will bring other titles with extras on-board soon, including This is the End, After Earth, White House Down, Grown Ups, Mortal Instruments, and Smurfs 2.