Sony is testing the digital waters of boosting online movie purchases (as opposed to rentals) by including bonus content in some movies on iTunes that can’t be found anywhere else, not even on DVD. PaidContent reported that the studio arm of the electronics giant, Sony Pictures, has included search, sharing, and music-related in some of the movies it sells through Apple’s iTunes.
They include a search feature that lets you search the script for any word you want, with the ability to then be taken to the precise moment in the film when that word is said. The sharing features allow users to share select clips online on social networking sites. The third feature added is a playlist of songs used in the soundtrack with direct links to purchase the songs on iTunes.
As PaidContent pointed out, these are hardly mind-blowing new features, but they represent a first attempt by a studio to goose digital sales, and the new content is not available for iTunes rentals. They are only available as iTunes Extras, which was introduced by Apple in 2009 as an effort to keep up with DVDs, but is now being tested as a means of allowing downloads to surpass DVDs.
Surprisingly, however, this content is not even mentioned in the list of iTunes Extras content on any of the movies in iTunes, and Sony isn’t marketing the added material, either. Instead, the studio views the inclusion of the material as a quiet test on enhancing the perceived value of digital downloads.
iTunes Extras are available when watching movies through iTunes on your Mac and PC, but is not yet available on either Apple TV or iPad.