Now Progressive Direct, a unit of a U.S. auto insurer, will do the math for you. It teamed up with Universal Studios Home Entertainment to insert a running tally of the destruction into the recent HD DVD release of "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift." As cars smack into one another in Tokyo, a display in a small window keeps track: "Roof repair: $209, taillights: $451, fender: $618.' The calculator is labeled "Progressive Direct: Insurance Damage Estimates." This digital gauge is the first in what Universal and other studios hope is a stream of branded interactive features on their new DVDs. Like those released in the rival Blu-ray format by Disney, Fox and other studios, the HD DVD discs issued by Universal, Paramount and Warner Brothers have about six times as much data capacity as standard DVDs. The extra space gives the studios room for not only high- definition video and enhanced audio, but also a bevy of interactive features, including games, picture-in-picture commentaries and Web links. In their constant search for more movie revenue, studios see these interactive features as a new source of money to tap. HD DVD and Blu-ray discs and players are only trickling into the market because consumers have been waiting to see which of the two formats would prevail. As with any new marketing concept, the value of the Progressive damage calculator is difficult to know. And since viewers must choose to turn the calculator on, the number who actually see it could be small
"I can't remember the last time I or anyone I know checked out the ancillary info on these discs"
said Steven Kovsky, an electronics analyst for Current Analysis, a technology research company based in Washington. In fact, little money changed hands in this deal. In return for having its name plastered on the crash calculator, Progressive created a Web site, www.progressivefastandfurious.com, and developed contests to promote the movie and the disc. While these kinds of experiments may take time to bear financial fruit, studios and advertisers said they believed they had to find new ways to reach consumers in an age when the entertainment audience was increasingly fragmented.
CarInsurance.com's online insurance marketplace gives an opportunity to consumers and to insurance companies. They offer the ability to shop for car insurance online.