Occasionally, I’ll check out the movies section on iTunes. Sometimes, they’ll have older movies discounted (they had a “Back to School” sale recently, which enabled me to pick up Easy A, Superbad, and The Substitute all pretty cheap — yes, I like The Substitute, shut up). Another reason I’ve been checking it lately, is that I’m hoping I was wrong about the September 25th release date for The Avengers and that I’ll go onto iTunes and find it waiting to be downloaded.
Anyway, I saw something interesting there when I went on today — Prometheus is now available in HD for $14.99. But for standard definition, it’s only available for pre-order. I was curious if this may have been a mistake, so I did a quick Google search and came up with this article from the Huffington Post – ‘Prometheus’ Digital Edition Available 3 Weeks Before DVD. Apparently, 20th Century Fox is releasing the HD version through digital channels almost a month early to boost digital sales. According to the article, even though digital sales are growing, they still only represent 4% of home video sales.
Offering movies through digital channels earlier than the stores is certainly a good way to try and boost sales. Just like how rental versions used to be (and in some cases still are) available before you could buy movies, probably so people who couldn’t wait to buy, say, The Avengers, would rent it first and then buy it when it comes out two weeks later (okay, I admit, I’d be one of those people and speaking of which, why is The Avengers not available to rent yet?).
But here’s something even more interesting, and, in my opinion at least, sheds some light on why digital sales aren’t as high:
The digital versions of Fox titles don’t come with all the extras included with Blu-ray copies, such as deleted scenes, and they are not as high-quality.
Wait…what? They don’t see the disconnect here?
Look, movie studios, here’s something you should know: there is a certain group of people that cares about having the best quality movies and having all the extras. There is also a group of people that would have more of a tendency to buy these movies digitally. I’ll bet that these two groups are actually one and the same.
And yet, the studios are confused as to why digital sales are so low.
It’s really not that hard to figure out. Basically, if you’re going to offer digital versions that lack the extras and are of a lower quality, the people you’re trying to get to buy digitally are more likely to wait for the full versions. This isn’t hard to figure out. If you offer the same HD quality as Blu-rays with all the features, I guarantee you’ll see an increase in digital sales.