HOLLYWOOD — AOL has been quietly expanding and creating deals with major film companies like Lucasfilm and Pixar to offer exclusive DVD extras from titles such as “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” and “The Incredibles” on its Moviefone site.
Such pacts are an outgrowth of its drive, with partner Blockbuster, to expand the DVD area of Moviefone into a one-stop shop for consumers to get DVD news or preview and order movies online at the Movie.com site or AOL’s enhanced Moviefone service for its subscribers.
On Friday, Moviefone began running an original five-minute short called “Jack-Jack Attack,” produced for this week’s DVD release of “The Incredibles,” as well as footage of a tour of the Pixar studios. The “Inside the DVD” area of the site also is running a 16-minute original short called “Rings,” which appears in “The Ring Collector’s Edition” and bridges the gap between “The Ring” and the sequel released in theaters last weekend.
Moviefone also had exclusive footage from the “Star Wars Trilogy” DVD, thanks to its deal with Lucasfilm, and will have exclusive content from the “Sith” DVD prior to its release in stores, most likely later this year.
Initially, Moviefone’s DVD area offered a few movie title charts and links to the Blockbuster Web site for online video rentals. Under the redesign, visitors can search discs by a number of categories, then establish priority queues as one would do at Netflix or Blockbuster sites.
The AOL deal is meant to drive signups for Blockbuster’s online subscription service; the two companies split DVD rental revenue from Moviefone users.
AOL Movies & Moviefone general manager and VP Steven Yee said the DVD area of the AOL site has not yet generated the amount of revenue and traffic the company would like, compared with the movies and music areas. AOL believes this is an underperforming area of the site, given the $24 billion-plus spent on DVDs last year.