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Vanishing DVD Extras on Netflix

Vanishing DVD Extras on Netflix (photo)

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Hacking Netflix posted a mildly disturbing post earlier today. Entitled “Studios Crippling Netflix Rental Discs to Encourage DVD Sales” it cites two recent examples where distributors stripped out bonus features out of the rental discs they give to Netflix in order to encourage people to buy the films (and, I suppose, to discourage them from using Netflix). For example, if you get “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” from Netflix, and go to the Special Features page, you don’t get special features. You get a disclaimer:

“This disc is intended for rental purposes and only includes the feature film.

Own it on Blu-ray or DVD to view these bonus features and complete your movie watching experience.”

They also cite the Netflix copy of “Up,” which doesn’t include the closed captions included on the retail copy of the film. Hacking Netflix “was able to confirm that captions have been removed from the Netflix rental DVD,” which, if institutionalized, sounds an awful lot like a discriminatory practice to me. How can you force people who can’t hear to spend more for something than people who can?

Putting that aside, the big question is whether removing DVD extras from rental copies encourages people to purchase or just discourages consumers. Speaking personally and anecdotally, extras do factor into my purchasing decisions. I love commentaries and making-of documentaries. But I have never, and will never, rush out to buy a Blu-ray just because the copy I’ve gotten from Netflix doesn’t have an extra I’m curious about seeing. I love Edgar Wright, so I’d be interested in listening to his commentary for “Scott Pilgrim.” But I didn’t love the movie the first time I saw it, and can’t imagine myself watching it enough to justify a purchase.

This is a case where Netflix is really hurt by its own biggest selling point, its lack of late fees. If you rent a DVD from your local store, you’ve got to return it in a day or two and you’d be hard-pressed to watch all of the extras on a well-stocked DVD in that time even if you wanted to. But with Netflix, where you can hold onto a film forever if you keep paying your membership dues, if you want to watch every single extra twice, you can.

Despite that fact, if I were in charge of the home entertainment division at a studio, I’d put every single extra on the Netflix discs. Because while I’ve never bought a film to get extras I couldn’t just rent, I have bought discs whose extras were so impressive when I rented them, that I felt compelled to own them. For example, I was so blown away by a friend’s copy of the Best Buy exclusive edition of “Anchorman” that I hunted down a copy of my own (and I mean hunted, it took three tries to find a store that wasn’t sold out). If I was on the fence about “Scott Pilgrim” and loved, that could be enough to convince me to buy it after all.

Don’t look at extras on a Netflix DVD as giving away product for free. Think of them as free samples encouraging you to buy.


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.