DVD’s Bonus Features Fade to Black in the Streaming Economy

DVDs weren’t all THAT bad

Fortune decided to be a Debbie downer this week, announcing that Netflix could finally lay its DVD rental business to rest in 2023. The end of that era will be bittersweet, but hey, your local Goodwill is probably bursting at the seams with dusty copies of Dora the Explorer on DVD.

In this issue:

  • Bonus features have been lost in the switch from DVD to streaming.

  • You can still find some hints of those features if you look hard enough.

Dear Netflix: Where are my deleted scenes?

The early 2000s were the golden age of DVDs. You could get everything on DVD, or Blu-ray, if you wanted exceptionally high quality (ooh, ahh, hey big spender!). For many DVD buyers, though, the best part of the experience wasn’t just the TV show or more on the main disc. It was the bonus content.

So. Much. Bonus content.

To re-ignite your passion and memory, the type of bonus content one could find on DVDs was nicely summarized by Reddit user /u/arentseaj on the /r/Movies subreddit. We’ll let you take a looksie at that one yourself, but in short, DVDs offered:

  • Deleted scenes

  • Cast and director interviews

  • Directors’ cuts

  • Documentaries

  • Behind-the-scenes looks

  • Short episodes

  • Audio commentary

  • Bloopers

Heck, some DVDs even had little games you could play using your TV remote. Such innovation! Most of that was lost when Netflix shifted the market to on-demand streaming. Gravity Falls voice actor and NYT bestselling author Alex Hirsch noted his disappointment on this topic in a 2021 tweet:

It’s not likely that we’ll ever get all of that golden-age extra content goodness back. But there’s still a shadow of what we lost if you look hard enough.

At least some providers are throwing us a bone

Taking note of the popularity of some of their biggest shows, many streaming services are now offering behind-the-scenes views in the form of separate content. Take Disney+, for example. Its Assembled TV series, launched in 2021, offers that content for its Marvel TV shows and movies. There are currently 13 episodes, each covering a different Phase 4 series or movie.

Netflix is also playing along, to a small degree. Just last month, it released a video of bloopers from Stranger Things. That was a bit more advertorial than a bonus add-on for viewers, but it gets the same feel across.

Still, as fun as this content is, it’s few and far between. Even most shows you could still buy on DVD from used sellers, such as Seinfeld, The Office, or Friends, all have tons of bonus content on their DVD releases from the early 2000s that simply never made it to the streaming services they now call home. And as Aaron Bernhart on Primetimer notes, there’s no good reason why.

We’ll be waiting, streamers

Maybe it’s nostalgia talking (which is already big business, anyway), but the loss of those DVD extras we loved hits pretty hard. Most streaming providers aren’t making any extra efforts to add them, and likely because many of them still aren’t making any money and are hesitant to go the extra mile to add additional content.

We’re here for whenever…if ever…streaming providers decide the extra content is a good thing. Until then, where’s the closest thrift store?

The Watchlist

Explore one of the world’s last free-living indigenous tribes in the top-rated Disney+ documentary, The Territory, this Friday, Dec. 2.

Plus, get some delicious food delivered while you stream with Goldbelly. Use promo code SWAPSTACK for $15 OFF your first order of $50!*

Robert Downey Jr. pays a tribute to his father in the upcoming Netflix document, Sr., streaming Dec. 2.

Prime Video’s new crime drama, Three Pines, unfolds its mysteries this Friday, Dec. 2.

Christmas movie season has started on Lifetime and Hallmark. Take your pick, but we’ll be watching A New Orleans Noel on Dec. 3 at 8 PM EST on Lifetime.

Don’t go postal, but Vengeance: Killer Coworkers begins streaming on Discovery+ Wednesday, Dec. 7.

HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot drops its second season Thursday, December 1.

Hulu’s bringing ghoulish fun with Darby and the Dead, premiering Friday, Dec. 2.

Slow Horses gallops onto screens with its season 2 premiere on Apple TV+ Friday, Dec, 2.

*Indicates a sponsored link.

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