Warner Bros. Launches Home Video Experiment with Reelhouse

Warner Bros. has launched a three-month electronic sell-through experiment via Reelhouse, which the studio invested in earlier this year through the Turner/Warner Bros. MediaCamp startup accelerator program. Targeting fans who want more than just a digital copy of movies, the Reelhouse website offers titles for rental or purchase along with enhanced content such as blog posts, photos, interactive games, various extras, and digital as well as physical merchandise.

On Thursday, Warner Bros. began offering “The Great Gatsby,” “Man of Steel,” “Argo,” “Pacific Rim” and the “Dark Knight” trilogy via Reelhouse, which originally started as a platform for indie filmmakers.

Warner is interested in whether the Reelhouse approach will result in higher purchase rates among consumers, according to Variety, which notes that the studio has a “history of being more experimental” when it comes to home video distribution.

“We think there can be some interesting learnings about the path consumers take in a digital experience,” Debra Baker, SVP of global business development for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group told Variety. “Consumers who are engaged with our brands tend to spend more — that’s our hypothesis.”

Warner tests projects and ideas with a number of distributors, but Baker says Reelhouse’s method gives insight into what motivates people to pay for content.

Reelhouse CEO Bill Mainguy tells Variety that his company offers users the option of buying an “all access” pass — rather than just inviting them to buy a title. He says it’s “more than simply repeat watching for people who purchase the film.”

“In the digital space,” Mainguy says, “owning it isn’t as valuable as receiving more access or a different experience.”