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Hollywood Has Found a New Way to Make Film Buffs Spend Even More Money

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Star Trek fans are about to cringe at the two words that no consumer ever wants to hear: retailer exclusives.

The idea of retailers offering a product with exclusive content is nothing new. And the last few years have seen an increase in retailer exclusives in a variety of categories, from media to clothing lines. Retailer exclusives are designed to influence consumers to shop at their stores over others by appealing to the consumer's sense of uniqueness; if you ever bought a movie soundtrack through iTunes and received a special bonus track in return, or bought a box set of DVDs through Amazon and got exclusive memorabilia bundled with it, then you likely are aware of this commercial technique. However, despite the ubiquity of this practice, consumers planning to buy Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray are in for a surprise.

Retailer-Exclusive Bonus Content May Divide Star Trek Fans

Trek Core, a website for all things Star Trek, recently reviewed the Blu-ray and awarded the film itself five stars for picture quality, but a dismal rating of less than one star for bonus features. Why the discrepancy? The problem wasn't with the bonus features themselves, but rather the tedious job of finding them. According to Trek Core:

"The standard Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray release includes just a handful of behind-the-scenes featurettes — completely produced in-house by Bad Robot, the film's production company, and not by Paramount — running just over 40 minutes. Yep, that's it — no deleted scenes, no audio commentary, not even a set of trailers for the film."

If viewers want access to more bonus content, they'll have to buy a retailer exclusive Blu-ray. For example, CinemaNow, a streaming service from Best Buy, offers 60 minutes of "the making-of" footage; Target's release includes additional bonus discs; and for audio commentary, Trekkies will have to go through iTunes to get it.

Beyond the first 40 minutes of bonus features, all of the Star Trek extras are exclusive to particular retailers. So if you pre-ordered a copy of Star Trek Into Darkness from Amazon, you won't get the making-of footage, and even if you track down Best Buy's offering, you won't get Target's exclusive bonus discs. However, audio commentary is available for all Blu-ray copies; the set includes a code to download the audio commentary from iTunes, although it'll obviously then exist separately from the Blu-ray content. To try and make sense of the retailer exclusives, TrekCore broke down the bonus features offered by Best Buy and Target.

The great exclusives divide, so to speak, isn't great news for non-Trekkies either. If the divvying up of bonus content between retailers healthy sales, then we might be seeing even more segmented exclusive offerings in the future. For devoted fans who live for the extra features of box sets, price won't be the only thing to compare; fans might be finding themselves trying to sort out what exclusive content is offered where, and what bonus features they can't live without.

Moreover, if sales of certain store exclusives prove to be more lucrative than others, we may actually see a decrease in discounts and promotions on Blu-rays from that retailer. Conversely, retailers with less desirable bonus content might feel pressure to offer price cuts on items in order to compete in the marketspace. The latter scenario certainly benefits the shopper who lacks any strong preference for one version over another.

Readers, what do you think about the new wave of retailer exclusives? What store will you buy from for Star Trek Into Darkness? Sound off in the comments below.


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Contributing Writer

Angela Colley has covered everything from money saving technology to how the Mayans might affect your savings. She’s appeared on publications like MainStreet and MSN Money. You can follow her on Twitter @angelancolley.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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9 comments
GRPenguin
No mention of all the studios re-issuing everything on 4K and how stupid it would be to buy a TV or monitor that supported it now? I am shocked. (rolls eyes)
cpwaldner
This has already been done with videogame pre orders (Final Fantasy X-2) with different pre order bonuses from several different retailers (Best Buy, Gamespot, Amazon). For hard core gamers or collectors like myself, it came down to buying a copy from each retailer, keeping the pre order bonus, and trying to get rid of the extra copy of the game while it was still worth something. Not sure what the overall response was or if it will correlate to DVD and Blu-ray sales.
keel
I opted to get the DVD without any special features. To hell with the retailers.
BboJim
Technically, they all come with Audio commentary via the digital download. But in order to get the audio commentary, you must use the included code towards the iTunes version and NOT the Vudu version. Only the iTunes versions has the commentary.
senn590
But I thought the production of Into Dimness was a lovingly made gift to fans (and if they don't like it they can F*&K OFF). Hmm I don't understand what would motivate them to perpetrate such chicanery upon the objects of their munificence. Seriously, 2009 Trek blu-ray has occasionally gone on sale for like $3, don't even think about paying $20ish for this. It's a spectacle on the big screen, albeit a mindless one, but no one wants to watch this type of schlock with a home theater more than once. And no one but no one cares about the making of the sausage with meat byproducts by moronic truther hacks. Just wait a few weeks or months for a bargain bin price if you actually like this pap enough to own it.
gbxx69
In piracy speak when they assemble ALL the content that's supposed to be there they call it "PROPER" unlike these greedy bastards..

Nevertheless, it's likely you'll end up finding some or all of this bonus stuff on YOUTUBE.. for the past year or so, I've found quite a lot of star trek series rare footage end up there.. including rare character read-throughs and alternate costume design & audition finalists who never get the job.
gbondy
So the Publisher's goal is to... increase piracy? If there isn't already, there'll probably be a package of all of the bonus material on the pie-rat interwebs.
If you keep making the user experiencing BETTER for pirated copies of material, you're doing it wrong.
Wolfman
Don't forget the exclusive package bundles, too. Amazon offered a phaser replica and Wal Mart had a toy Enterprise bundled with the movie, too.
ethanvyce
well that seems terrible. Although Into Dark was the worst Trek ever. I would rather watch Voyager.
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