Netflix Wants to Try DVD Extras for Their Original Programming

By October 18, 2013

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Though Netflix is certainly at the front of the pack when it comes to streaming TV shows, the one area that all the streaming competitors seem to be lacking is extras. For any deleted scenes, featurettes, gag reels, etc., viewers are still forced to buy a Blu-ray or DVD version of whatever they’re watching. But that might change soon.

Engadget (via SlashFilm) has word from Netflix’s Vice President of Product Innovation, Todd Yellin, at the GigaOm Mobilized conference today that the company is going to start experimenting with offering extras for their original programming like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”

However, they’re likely approaching it differently than just offering extra video content. According to PC Mag, it sounds like they’re interested in “enhanced experiences.” Similar second-screen options have proven to be successful for Marvel and even HBO’s “Game of Thrones” offering content straight to users’ iPad or other mobile device while watching any given episode. Yellin says, “Hopefully if we try something like that, we have that lightning bolt of an idea that it’s more than just a tiny percent user game.”

The VP certainly knows it’s a move that will take some work, and might turn out to be a risk. He says:

“No one ever knew how many people were really watching [the special features on Blu-rays and DVDs]. If you are not testing things that fail, you are not testing aggressively enough. At Netflix, like any company, we have a certain number of chips to keep on innovating on our product. I want to keep on pushing those chips in the right thing to make a better and better user experience.”

As of now, this is just the nugget of an idea, and will likely turn into an experiment for Netflix to see if this kind of content offering will please their members, or even increase membership, in the long run.

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It’s a shame that something like this would only be for their original programming, especially with all the shows available on Netflix that don’t belong to the streaming service, but organizing the rights to that content would likely be a bureaucratic nightmare. Plus, the home entertainment suppliers probably know it’s the extras on their physical DVD and Blu-ray products that still get people to buy series to own as opposed to streaming them on Netflix. Still, it will be nice to see some outtakes from the new season of “Arrested Development” when they get this off the ground.

We’ll see how long it takes Netflix to roll out extras for their original programming, but stay tuned for any updates on that front.

Would you watch extra content on Netflix, or do you only care about the shows themselves?

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.