It used to be that when you rented a film on DVD or Blu-ray Disc, you would get access to the same content as those who had purchased a copy. Now, it appears that bonus features like outtakes and cast interviews may be a thing of the past thanks to some new merchandising initiatives from movie studios.
One movie fan learned this the hard way after spending $3.99 to rent a Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World DVD from Blockbuster.
Joseph wrote into Consumerist to report that when he tried to watch the Blooper Reel contained in the Special Features section of the DVD, he was greeted with the following message:
“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.”
Similar reports have surfaced from other disgruntled movie renters around the web, and are also happening with Netflix movie rentals. The Disney-Pixar film Up is purported to have disabled captions on rentals for the same reason.
Needless to say, Joseph was a little upset when he came to the realization that the Special Features on the disc had been disabled on purpose. He writes: “I didn’t pay $3.99 to just watch the movie itself; I paid $3.99 to rent the physical DVD for a week. To have full access to the entire DVD and everything contained within the menus. What made it worse was that Blockbuster gave me absolutely no warning that the DVD had its Special Features locked. There was no warning label or sticker or anything of the sort.”
While I can almost understand the idea of limiting special features for renters, the fact that some are actually disabling captioning makes me angry. Sure, it’s okay to try to give consumers an incentive to purchase your product, but limiting accessibility for hearing-impaired viewers just isn’t right. Also, they should have to put some sort of label on the product to alert consumers to the limitations so that people won’t rent with false expectations.