Stripped and the Power of Bonus Content

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We get a lot of questions about pricing, specifically for bonus content. How much should I charge for my deluxe edition? Should I sell bonus content on its own? For how much?

We loved watching STRIPPED, a documentary and love letter to the art of cartoonists. But we were also excited to see how the filmmakers experimented with bonus content. Here’s what we learned:

[ Update: This study reflects prices before 5/28/14 when STRIPPED released an additional seven interviews and adjusted some pricing. ]

Lesson 1: Include a whole bunch of bonus content that your fans will love.

STRIPPED offers a slew of options for purchasing the film and bonus content. Of course, they’ve got the movie for $14.99 and a deluxe edition for $19.99, but they don’t stop there. You can also purchase extra bonus content on its own, either for $2.99 a pop or $34.99 for the complete product. Or fans can opt for the “Super Awesome Deluxe” edition which includes the film along with an amazing 16 hours of additional content for $49.99. Wow.

What did the audience choose when given all these options?

The most popular product was the standard edition, but not by much. Overall, the products which included some form of bonus content outsold the standard edition’s 36% of sales with a combined 42%.

Even more interesting: The performance of the “Super Awesome Deluxe” product is stellar. This is the product with tons of bonus content — it gives superfans everything there is to get. While only accounting for 23% of transactions, it makes up almost half of the total revenue:

That’s a big deal! Your most emphatic fans will want everything they can get their hands on, so make that experience available and everybody wins. Fans who want to be involved feel as involved as possible, and publishers stand to make substantially increased revenue by creating more robust, higher-priced products.

Lesson 2: Offer a giant stand-alone bonus product to connect with fans who saw the movie elsewhere.

Because there was so much extra content, the filmmakers rolled it all into a bonus material product. Fans who didn’t buy the “Super Awesome Deluxe” product can upgrade if they loved the movie and want to see more. We thought most of the fans buying the bonus material product would also have bought the film on the site, but we saw something different:

Only 1% of the people who bought the bonus product actually bought the film on the STRIPPED site. Often, a Kickstarter backer received the film as a backer reward, liked it, and later purchased the additional material. These are already active supporters, so they’re much more likely to upgrade their experience than a typical customer. Have a stand-alone bonus product for your crowdfunders, or other long-time supporters.
The rest of the the sales? They came from people who most likely saw the film on another platform, because we have no record of them watching the film on the STRIPPED site. Perhaps they were Kickstarter backers, or, it debuted at #1 on iTunes which definitely helped.
That is really powerful — a fan sees a film somewhere, they enjoy it enough to go to the website, and then buy extra content that they can’t get anywhere else. In the case of STRIPPED, that adds up to a little over 5% of the gross revenue. You should offer superfans extra content to buy after they watch your film, no matter how they saw it.

Lesson 3: Offer individual pieces of bonus content. Customers love options, and Filmmakers get opportunities for engagement

Finally, STRIPPED offers various individual downloads of bonus content, like the directors’ commentary and extended interviews, for $2.99 per download. These products only accounted for 1% of revenue, which seems negligible, but it’s notable that they accounted for 12% of total purchases. 

Fans like options. 40% of people who bought something for $2.99 also purchased STRIPPED on the film’s website, and used the bonus content product as a menu to pick the content they were interested in — Think of it as a “Build-Your-Own-Deluxe-Edition.”

The other 60% percent of individual bonus content purchasers didn’t buy the film. This means that before their purchase of bonus content, the filmmakers had no idea these fans existed. Those little $2.99 options brought them out of the worldwide web woodwork, showing the filmmakers they had engaged new audience members with whom they can continue to connect with directly — For STRIPPED and for future projects. Moral of the story: Options attract new, engaged customers from other platforms.

STRIPPED has a lot of bonus content and uses it well. Every release is unique, and this is just one example, but we think the lessons learned are great for thinking strategically about pricing and bonus content.

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