New Apple iTunes movie features allow script searching, scene sharing

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Movie studios have quietly expanded the feature set of content available on Apple's iTunes Store, allowing users to search a film's script for specific words, or select a clip and share it with others on a social networking site.



The effort has begun with Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is "quietly testing" features embedded only iTunes version of recent film releases, as noted by PaidContent.org. For example, only in the iTunes version of the film "The Other Guys" can users access a search button that allows them to input a word and find when it was said in the script, as well as pull up a link to the exact moment in the movie that the line was said.



New features can also be found in other recent Sony releases "Salt" and "Resident Evil: Afterlife." The "clip & share" function lets users take select scenes to post on a social networking site, while a playlist with songs from the movies offers users the ability to buy those tracks through iTunes.



"Mind-blowing add-ons? No, but they do represent the intent of studios like Sony, which declined comment, to offer differentiating value on digital platforms from that on DVD, where extras are often nothing more than a collection of additional short videos," the report said.



The new content comes after high-definition Blu-ray discs have offered unique additional bonus features to Internet-connected players for years. Some Blu-rays feature BD-Live content, which allows viewers to access Internet-based content not found on the disc itself, like chats with directors, games, downloadable featurettes, and quizzes.



But the new iTunes bonus content is not simply a repackaging of content available through BD-Live. According to PaidContent.org, the new capabilities found in movies like "The Other Guys" from Sony are only found on iTunes -- noteworthy because Sony helped to spearhead the Blu-ray format and secure its defeat of rival HD-DVD through its integration with the PlayStation 3 gaming console.



The new features are also only available for customers who purchase the movies on iTunes, rather than renting. The new, exclusive content helps to differentiate full-fledge purchases from rentals, in an attempt to give users more value for the higher price associated with a purchase.



The changes to promote purchases over rentals come as one recent report indicated that Apple's iTunes has seen tremendous growth in its digital rental business. Analyst Brian Marshall with Gleacher & Company said last week he believes that 75 percent of movie viewings through iTunes are rentals, with an average selling price of $2.99. That means just 25 percent of movie viewers on iTunes opt to purchase their film.



Apple has also pushed the renting of movies and TV shows through its new streaming-centric Apple TV, priced at just $99. That device went on to sell more than 1 million units in three months of availability.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,511member
    Embedded script? That's a nice feature as long as the entire script can be called up and viewed, which would make it a valuable resource for scriptwriters.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Sounds like a social networking win if people use that feature. I make a post about "The Other Guys" being hilarious on Facebook, with a funny 30-second clip of the movie, which automatically links to iTunes so my friends can purchase or rent it. No wonder they'd be wanting to do this. Makes sense to me.



    The tech geek in me almost wants to buy one of these movies so I can see how the feature works, even though it's really not a needed feature at all, just cool new tech that gives the iTunes purchase something unique over other formats.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    I wonder what privacy one has to give up to access the application. Does it call home as to what I search for or who posts to which social network, etc. Nice feature but could be abused for advertising purposes. Would you like to view other movies with the phrase "terrorist plot" in the script? We'd like to recommend these titles for your viewing pleasure.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    Now could they also come into compliance with the law and provide closed captions for the hearing impaired for streamed content? As it is deaf customers have access to a tiny fraction of the movies available on iTunes (when more than 99% of those same movies are captioned on DVD and Blu Ray), and the same for television programs (all of which are captioned). It's really shameful. I realize it's probably not Apple's fault, but I'd hope Apple could put a little more pressure on content providers.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Computers are good at just a few things: calculating, sorting, searching, and not too much more. The search feature makes it easy for viewers to find specific scenes, which I think is a great idea. Don't really give a hoot about the social feature though.



    In a few years, Apple's acquisition of Siri could allow users to say what they're looking for instead of typing (across all Apple products, not just iTunes / Apple TV). That's another huge step forward that Apple needs to take. The Siri app and Voice Control on iOS, and Speakable Items on Mac OS are first steps toward full voice recognition.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by swilcox View Post


    Now could they also come into compliance with the law and provide closed captions for the hearing impaired for streamed content? As it is deaf customers have access to a tiny fraction of the movies available on iTunes (when more than 99% of those same movies are captioned on DVD and Blu Ray), and the same for television programs (all of which are captioned). It's really shameful. I realize it's probably not Apple's fault, but I'd hope Apple could put a little more pressure on content providers.



    Whoever?s fault it is, I think it?s pretty bad that CC has been an option in iTunes videos but never used, as far as I can tell.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,763member
    It is surprising to see a studio moving in the right direction without being dragged kicking and screaming...
  • Reply 8 of 32
    esummersesummers Posts: 912member
    Great news. Amazing the studios agreed to this. Maybe we will start to see more sanity from the studios? RIAA are you listening to this?
  • Reply 9 of 32
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Whoever?s fault it is, I think it?s pretty bad that CC has been an option in iTunes videos but never used, as far as I can tell.





    The iPhone app Subtitles is quite useful. I used it for my Spanish speaking friends to watch movies on my iPad while on vacation in Costa Rica
  • Reply 10 of 32
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    For closed caption movies:



    Go to iTunes Store > go to movies > on the right side bar find "Power Search"



    Click check box for search only closed caption movies.
  • Reply 11 of 32
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    For closed caption movies:



    Go to iTunes Store > go to movies > on the right side bar find "Power Search"



    Click check box for search only closed caption movies.



    Cool. I see I made the erroneous assumption that CC and subtitles should come with all or nearly all sold or rented content by this point.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    juandljuandl Posts: 228member
    I mentioned on another article's comments that I truly believe that that is a part of what Apple's Data farm is gonna be all about.



    It will be an enormous STORAGE facility for everything digital. Perhaps with a small Mobile Me acct.

    one will be able to purchase a movie and have it stored. At any time and on any of your devices (Apple of course) you will be able to retrieve it and watch it in the format of your choosing.



    The biggest problem for many is content. Not only for T.V. For that with Disney's ABC laying the blueprint people will be able to purchase subscription T.V. and or ad supported at no cost. Other carriers will come on board as soon as they see that money comes in many different ways.



    But especially the Movie Studios will realize, that once people purchase a movie, it basically belongs to them. We can play it as many times as we want and on whatever device. We just cannot store it on our own. We need somebody like Apple to spoon feed it to us at our leisure. We just want a dependable delivery system.



    Eventually, Apple can get the studios to give us a better price per movie a la RedBox, and per per view times. Or a subscription, the same as we get from Netflix.



    Either way. That can only be the reason for the huge farms Apple is building.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    technotechno Posts: 707member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xanthohappy View Post


    The tech geek in me almost wants to buy one of these movies so I can see how the feature works, even though it's really not a needed feature at all, just cool new tech that gives the iTunes purchase something unique over other formats.



    I was thinking the exact same thing. And I just watched "The Other Guys" last night.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Cool. I see I made the erroneous assumption that CC and subtitles should come with all or nearly all sold or rented content by this point.



    Exactly!



    Sure, as I said, there are *some* -- precious few -- captioned movies. But streaming content is really discriminating against deaf people and others who rely on closed captions. It's almost impossible to find a DVD or Blu Ray that is *not* caption. Almot *no* streaming content is captioned, not just Apple but also Netflix.



    And, please, iPhone apps are not the solution.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by swilcox View Post


    And, please, iPhone apps are not the solution.



    If you don't want a subtitles solution such as the free Subtitles app you are free to not use it. As far as your earlier comment about Apple not being in compliance with the law, I suggest you organize a class action suit. Everyone else does. But I think you'll find they are in compliance with the law and they do facilitate CC capabilities for content providers who choose to include it. Your argument would of course be premised on defining Apple as a telecommunications provider. If they were or if they were federally funded, that would be another matter, but as far as I know they are not. Please correct me if I am misinterpreting the Federal Communications Act and point to the specific text which supports your claim.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Please correct me if I am misinterpreting the Federal Communications Act and point to the specific text which supports your claim.



    HR 3101: "... the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, the Commission shall promulgate regulations to require the provision of closed captioning on video programming delivered using Internet protocol."
  • Reply 17 of 32
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by swilcox View Post


    HR 3101: "... the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, the Commission shall promulgate regulations to require the provision of closed captioning on video programming delivered using Internet protocol."



    Thanks for the info. I found this document which on or about page 41 starts to describe the establishment of an advisory committee nothing about enactment of a law. Please advise of other text relating to the topic.



    Just for the record I am not being argumentative for the sake of creating a dispute, but instead trying to discuss a subject which is important to our organization as we do video work for scientific research at universities where someone being deaf or blind is completely nonexistent in the field we represent. However since the program is federally funded we are required to provide CC to our training films.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    peteropetero Posts: 94member
    Perhaps you've already researched them but presumably the varying US-based NGOs, Federal government organizations, and advocacy groups for the blind, sight- and hearing-impaired can provide black letter, spirit, and direction of the laws and statutes to guide you.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    peteropetero Posts: 94member
    Don't know if it pertains directly to your needs but quickly looking at the American Foundation for the Blind website lists their public policy and policy research documentation.



    http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=3
  • Reply 20 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Just for the record I am not being argumentative for the sake of creating a dispute, but instead trying to discuss a subject which is important to our organization as we do video work for scientific research at universities where someone being deaf or blind is completely nonexistent in the field we represent. However since the program is federally funded we are required to provide CC to our training films.



    And you resent it, is that what you're saying?



    Listen, I also am not trying to be argumentative for the sake of it. I teach at a research university, a hearing university. I've seen deaf people come here and go into professions that 30 years ago no one would have said they could do, and even if people had thought it possible, the accommodations for the deaf student to succeed were not there. So I don't think it is unreasonable of the feds to require your organization to provide accommodations for some as-yet identified young researcher. I'm one of the taxpayers paying for that federally funded work, and I certainly regard this as a worthy use of my money.



    I also hope you realize that captions aren't only for deaf people (the person the feds are targeting). There are lots of older people out there who are not able to go to theaters, and can't take advantage of this wonderful new streaming technology because they can't hear well enough.



    The bottom line for me: what kind of a world do we live in when we have to pass federal legislation forcing corporations to do the right thing?
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