Apple and Warner Bros. have announced that they are teaming up to bring app versions of feature films to iOS devices. What will a movie app entail exactly? Their press release explains, “App Editions provide a fully-loaded, connected viewing experience that gives consumers the first five minutes of a feature film and a portion of bonus content that can include games, trivia, soundtracks and soundboards. The entire feature film can be unlocked via an in-app purchase, which enables downloading and unlimited streaming, as well as access to the entire array of bonus content available within the App.” So basically a movie app is an advertisement for a movie that gives you a link to buy said movie being advertised.
The first two movies to get the treatment will be Christopher Nolan’s pair of huge hits The Dark Knight and Inception. That’s probably a good strategy for the first releases; they’re both insanely popular in a mainstream way, but nerd centric at their cores. If any part of Apple’s tech savvy audience is going to be willing to download individual films onto their iOS devices, then this will probably be a good judge of what percentage. Purchasing Inception will cost $11.99, while The Dark Knight will only be $9.99, so this suggests that different movies will have different price points depending on their release dates if this takes off as a concept.
Not content to just call a spade a spade and admit that this is just another avenue for studios to try and sell their films, the press release also threw in a few techie buzzword to make it seem like downloading a movie app will be different from the experience of watching a film anywhere else. It states, “For many, watching a movie is a social activity and App Editions are the first mobile product to deliver this capability on a global scale. They offer a fully connected experience, allowing viewers to engage with others around the world in real-time through Facebook and Twitter.” I wouldn’t exactly call sitting in a dark room where nobody is allowed to talk a social experience. So I guess they’re claiming that these apps can replace the talking about the movie in a coffee shop with your friends afterwards experience. Oh great, that’s just what we need, more techno-isolation. And isn’t embedding Facebook and Twitter into the movie experience just a way to further train people to use their phones while in the theater? This could be an unparalleled disaster in human history.
So what do you think? Will you start downloading movies to your ithings? I will never download a movie to my phone, but I can imagine some iPad owners biting on something like this. iPads being less portable than phones and being more of a couch dwelling device begs the question of why you’d watch this on a little pad when you probably have a big entertainment center just feet away though. And how will this effect services like Netflix that let you stream lots of movies for one monthly price? Will this make studios less likely to give them access to movies if they can successfully charge for them individually?