Thursday, August 07, 2008

BD -Live Movies: Overcoming Time And Space

We're not native Californians, but we sure do love living here. However, Amy still misses her sister back in Boston: she talks on the phone with her constantly, visits her (here or there) at least once a year, and more. When the movie Sex and the City came out this year, there was no one she wanted to see it more with than her sister, and she was determined to, even though they were 3000 miles apart.

She thought about what were the essentials that she wanted to capture:
- The ability to see the movie, at the same time
- The ability to share their expectations before the movie
- The ability to share their impressions after the movie

So, armed with this, she hopped online and found a theater that was running a showing out here, and a theater in her sister's area that was showing it exactly three hours later. She bought the tickets for both, called her sister, and said, "We're going to the movies." At the appointed times, both drove to their respective theaters, chatting on the phone with bubbling anticipation. They chatted all the way into the actual theater, then said goodbye as the previews started. After the film, one immediately called the other so they could gushingly relive those shared wonderful moments. They giggled all the way home, and said goodbye.

Yes, they had just seen a movie together, thanks to the Internet and cell phones. Now, imagine one of them could have rented a Blu-Ray DVD, and scheduled a time to watch it...on both of their TV screens? Even better, imagine they could have invited a friend in South Carolina to watch, too, or even a relative in Hong Kong. And, during the movie, they could have had a little chat window up on the screen, for the comments to share? A little known feature of Blu-Ray, called BD Live, does exactly this. And, it seems that BD Live will finally get it's big debut with the release of The Dark Knight this fall.

Like many advanced DVD features (multiple angles, zoom, etc.), this BD Live feature seemed doomed to esoterica. However, according to the article, as The Dark Knight is expected to be one of the biggest DVD releases ever, "the studio has hinted that a group of people will be able to start the movie simultaneously allowing for chat under and after the movie." BluRay manufacturers need to push this idea, as you would need a BluRay device in each home to participate. Sony needs to push it hard, as they make the cheapest BluRay player out there, in the form of the Playstation 3.

But, as much as The Dark Knight is going to be a great success for this, I think the marketing is all wrong here. First, forget Batman; focus on Carrie: do this with the release of Sex and the City. Second, put an ad campaign together, sponsored by Absolut or Grey Goose, for a night of "Sex and Cosmos," promoting multiple simultaneous viewings for fans of the show and movie, along with instructions for drinks, and how to arrange a "Sex and the City" party for you and your friends at home with your BluRay player, so you can all join in the fun. And finally, promote the simultaneous Chat feature with a special viewing on BD Live with some of the stars of the film...sponsored by whomever. I mean, if you want to see this technology take off, let the women be inspired to buy Playstation's!

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