Concerning "Splitting" TV Series DVD sets

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mark Johnston, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    A sitcom doesn't require as many discs, so if they split MTM in half it wouldn't offer enough discs or enough episodes. If they want to reduce the price on MTM they can just issue a bare-bones three-disc set a la M*A*S*H. (And I hope they will, someday.)
     
  2. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    There's one thing I have wondered, I'll admit. I saw that SEX AND THE CITY was split into Two Parts and I thought to myself, "hey, wait a minute - I thought this TV show was extremely popular and sold well?"

    So that point in the first post did have me thinking. However, as a big fan of LOST IN SPACE I just cannot take that chance. If, say, Season Two is on the shelves at my store in two parts, and I decide to ignore them -- what's the alternative? Am I supposed to believe that throughout the rest of the country, other LIS supporters are also not buying, and then what? Will FOX ultimately pull the split set OFF the shelves and re-issue them as a Complete Season? I'd certainly bet Not.

    I do not own a Region Free player and have no intention of ever getting one. I'll go with the Split Seasons.
     
  3. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    I understand all the reasons given by Peter, but as a collector I will definitely buy less TV on DVD if this becomes the norm. It's not just about the money. There's something to be said for the aesthetic value of a nice full season set. I caved on Sex And The City because I knew it was the last season. I certainly won't start a new series if it's split. This might sound strange, but I know I'll hate the way the split seasons look on my shelf. Part of the joy of collecting DVD's is taking pride in your collection. Splitting seasons will make it harder for collectors to do that IMO. Plus now we'll not only have the risk of a series not being finished on DVD, we'll have the risk of a single season not being completed. IMO Lost In Space isn't going to appeal to the casual customer no matter what the price point is-it's a series for collectors.

    I'm particularly bummed that Fox is involved in this. I've always considered them the pioneers of TV on DVD, and I go out of my way to give their series on DVD a chance, which is how I got hooked on Buffy, Angel, 24 and the Shield (all blind buys). I own all the X-Files seasons, and I'll be purchasing Millennium. I own all of the Simpsons, NYPD Blue, Futurama, Buffy, Angel, Shield, 24, Firefly, MASH, and probably more I can't think of at the moment. Almost all of these sets were purchased on their street date for their original SRP. I shelled out the $100 each time for X-Files and had no regrets.

    I AM your TV on DVD customer and supporter Fox. Please listen to me and those like me when we tell you that you are about alienate a lot of us.
     
  4. MattHR

    MattHR Screenwriter

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    Thank you Mr. Staddon for taking the time to respond, even though you don't owe us an explanation. You've always been straight up, even though there are several members here who don't always agree with (your employer's) strategies and marketing practices. The fact that you frequently post here is truly appreciated.

    I, and I'm sure I speak for many here, greatly appreciate all the positive things you do for us DVD fans, instead of questioning the things you don't/can't/won't do. There is no way you could possibly please us all, short of full-season sets of every Fox show hand-delivered free of charge. (Ok, even then some would find something to gripe about).

    I personally enjoy and appreciate the shows you have released, while remaining hopeful that more of my favorites will be released. Take "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" for example. I am happy for the season that I do own, and not upset for the ones I don't. Sure, it would be nice to have the complete series. If it doesn't happen, I'll understand. I can't possibly hold a grudge against Fox for not releasing more. (If anything, I hold a grudge against other consumers for not purchasing season 1, therefor (possibly) denying me my right to the complete collection! [​IMG]

    If dividing season sets into two parts is what is required for some shows to be released on DVD, by all means do it. I would never not buy a favorite show because it was in two parts. I would also encourage trimming special features, if they add significantly to the production costs. The one area I would not like to see corners being cut is in the quality of the transfers. While full-season sets and extras are always nice, it's the quality of the material that matters most (to me anyway).

    Again, a big "thank you" for your continued support of our forum. Please do not let the negative comments sway your support. As long as Fox continues to release quality TV-on-DVD product, even in "split-seasons", I'll support whatever decisions you make to keep 'em coming!



    P.S. When is "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" Season 2: Part 1 being released? [​IMG]
     
  5. Deb Walsh

    Deb Walsh Stunt Coordinator

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    Splitting season sets into multiple boxes doesn't bother me. A lot of the stuff I've bought from the UK has come out in 4 and 5 sets per season. The packaging was done in such a way that the compiled sets together formed a complete image, which was kind of nice. I'm so used to that, I'm still quite amazed to get a whole season at once. :>

    Maybe Fox could offer a mailaway premium after the second part of Lost in Space is released, so that people who really, really have to have the two parts in a single box could get a unified sleeve to house the two releases in. That would be kind of nice to have.

    I'd prefer a single season release, but I'm planning to add season 2 part 1 to my collection when it comes out.
     
  6. Richard Michael Clark

    Richard Michael Clark Second Unit

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    I am in the UK and I prefer full season sets but like another UK poster mentioned, split season sets might actually help us avoid customs when buying from the US (so long as we can purchase each set for under £18/US$33.50).

    If split sets meant that seasons 2 - 7 of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" were to get a release, then count me in with a big [​IMG] !
    There doesn't seem to EVER be the possibility of this show getting a UK dvd release so I am relying on FOX US to give us the goods! PRETTY PLEASE!!!!!!! [​IMG]

    btw each CSI season is ALWAYS released in 2 parts in the UK (we are upto the release of "season 3 part 2"). With this show though I choose to get the US 'complete season' releases. BUT if the only way to get this show was in split releases, I would.
     
  7. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    Splitting seasons dont bother me at all, as long as they are priced accordingly. Some season are super long (30 or more episodes) and if splitting them up is the only way you can get a profit. Go ahead. The True fans of the series will buy them anyway as long as the price is justified. The lower price might introduce a casual buyer to a series instead of a higher price whole season. If they like it they might buy more.

    Combining multiple short seasons are perferred as well, like what A&E did with with the first 2 seasons of Homicide: life on the street. And what Universal should have done with the first 2 seasons of Northern Exposure. I think that shows with 13-16 (1 hour or so) episodes per season dont need to be combined.

    In the old age previously I bought the X-Files on LD in Japan and it came in multiple halves. I did this along with Mission Impossible, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and a bunch of other shows. Didn't have a problem at all with it.
     
  8. Steve_Smith

    Steve_Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I also can see the reason to split up a season (but only if it is a longer then normal amount of episodes) and quite honestly if any series would be one to do that would be Star Trek TOS, I think the episode count is 29 for the first season. Of course this won't happen since TOS by season is like printing money [​IMG] As for LIS I grew up watching it on TV in reruns and being a casual fan..the first season is still my favorite, but I didn't get a chance to buy the first season yet, but I am behind Fox and all the other studios when a series gets a chance to see all seasons released (hopefully [​IMG] ) Oh by the way Peter...first off thanks for posting your thoughts on this and (since it never hurts to ask [​IMG] what is going to happen to the DVDs of LIS that have been returned to your inventory? Any chance we can buy them at a discount? [​IMG]
     
  9. Mark Johnston

    Mark Johnston Auditioning

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    Responding to what Mr. Staddon stated in his post:

    If FOX was truly "disappointed" with the sales of Season One of "Lost in Space", because the "pricepoint was too expensive for an inpulse purchase", then perhaps more research should have been done to determine what the appropriate pricepoint would have been to sell the desired number of units. If the retail pricepoint had been (for example), 30% less, then perhaps sales would have increased enough to make it more profitable for FOX. So instead of being so greedy (which all studios are, unfortunately), expecting "Lost In Space" (for example) to sell 100,000 units at a $80.00 pricepoint; then perhaps it would have been more reasonable to expect to sell 150,000 units at a $55.00 pricepoint (this would have provided a $250,000 improved profit margin). This is the very reason why FOX reduced the pricepoint of "The X-Files" DVD sets, starting with Season 9. They obviously knew that reducing the pricepoint 30% would sell many more units and, therefore, make more profit. My point is that the studios need to learn that a little profit is better than none! So, (according to my retail sources), it is NOT true that "Lost in Space" sold poorly, in fact, it sold well (this is NOT another "Mary Tyler Moore" situation, by any means!); it's just that it did not meet FOX's UNREASONABLY HIGH expectations, and that is a BIG difference. Again, some profit is better than none, so if FOX had set a "less greedy" pricepoint, more "casual fans" would have found it affordable to make the purchase, which would have obviously sold many more units and made more profit. That's just common sense. That logic would dictate that FOX would have learned the lesson from Season One, and would therefore release a "Complete Second Season" with a reduced pricepoint, and then could rationally expect for sales to be higher; but NO, - that's not good enough, because they want even MORE profit than that.

    Mr. Staddon's second and third points contradict each other...
    If the "only way of effectively reducing the price, was to split the set in half", then how do you justify "nearly twice the packaging costs, twice the freight and handling costs, twice the merchandising costs, twice the inventory holding costs, etc." of a split-set??? Are you going to try to tell me that Fox expects to make a lot more profit by splitting the set into 2 parts, with the doubling of all the various costs which Mr. Staddon mentioned??? Logically, the only way to make more profit in that situation is to increase the COST to the retailer for "Part One", over half that of the previous COST of "The Complete First Season". So if a "rudimentary understanding of business would enable anyone to understand" that splitting a full Season set doubles the cost to the manufacturer (which indeed it does), then how could FOX even afford to sell it, since the doubling of costs would obviously, eat up most of the profit??? I'll tell you how. It is because FOX is increasing the COST to the retailer, to slightly more than half the COST that the retailer originally paid for "The Complete First Season"; which the retailer, will in turn, pass along the slightly increased retail price (of a little more than half that of the first complete set) to the consumer. It will only be a $2-$4 retail increase, but just multiply that by 100,000! And, since FOX knows that all the "committed fans" of the show will not just settle for half a season, they see this as a brilliant way to make A LOT more profit from the money-strapped consumer who hopefully, will not notice/care about the small price increase of purchasing each separate half of a "Complete" set. And THAT my friends, IS the definition of GREED! Is FOX really going to try to convice us that they think that sales will be 50% more (for example) for "Season 2-Part One", just because it's CLOSE to being half the cost of "The Complete First Season"??? They really think that this many more people are going to buy it than bought "Season One", offsetting their "doubling of costs"??? C'mon people, GET REAL! The average RETAIL price for "Lost in Space: The Complete First Season" was about $75.00, so how much do ya wanna bet that "Season Two-Part One" won't be at least $40.00....? As I said in my original post, this is really just an experiment by the studios (FOX is not the only one planning this, you know) to see how stupid the "sheep" are, who they believe will buy anything, in any form, for any price.

    As far as Mr. Staddon's fifth point stating that if split sets don't sell, then they will just give up releasing complete season sets, - give me a break! FOX has made much more profit than ANY other studio by far, with all its VERY popular "Complete Season" set releases of the various TV titles in its stable. So I guess this means they're just going to quit TV releases altogether, if the split sets don't sell, huh? Wake-up people, this is just a scare tactic to insure that everyone buys the split sets, so FOX can make its EXTRA profit.

    Finally, Mr. Staddon asks in his summation "What would we suggest they do, ...not release the show at all?" NO Mr. Staddon, what we would suggest you (and other studios) do is just make a DEFINITE commitment, to release each and every Season of a series (especially short ones like "Lost in Space"), no matter what. Sure, some seasons will sell worse than others; but eventually, the sales of all the Season sets combined over time, will make the releases profitable. If sales for a particular "Complete Season Set" of a series are just "fair", then give it more time to sell more units. Even if we had to wait a year between releases, many of us would prefer to be patient in doing that, if it meant we would be guaranteed to get the next "Complete Season" set, instead of a "split" set, or worse, no set at all. NO MORE "Mary Tyler Moore" debacles (another example of how the sales of the set didn't match the UNREALISTIC expectations, given the unusually high pricepoint). Everyone knows that sales of "MTM - Season One" were poor, due to the fact that this was the weakest season of the series; and because fans were waiting for the rest of the series to come out, in order to obtain their favorite seasons/episodes. If "MTM" had been released in a schedule similar to that of "The Dick Van Dyke" show, then the First season would have sold much better in conjunction with the other Season set releases, and we would not have to be here complaining today about FOX's abandonment of that show. One suggestion for "Mary Tyler Moore" is for FOX to sell its licensing rights for the series to another studio who will release the remaining six seasons in a profitable manner. It is ridiculous for FOX to stubbornly hold on to this show, when it knows it has no intention of ever releasing it!

    And anyone with half a brain knows that the MOST likely reasons that "Lost in Space: Season One" did not meet FOX's expectations is that because not only was the First Season in "Black and White" (which would obviously deter the "casual fan"), but also that "word spread" about the below average transfer done for that set. FOX expected to make tons of money, on a bare-bones set without even doing a decent job of remastering or including some very basic special features. And now they whine and complain that they "were very disappointed in the sales for Season One" What do they expect! They obviously don't get that you "have to spend money to make money", but again, greed doesn't allow for this logic. So, with the vast differences between the Season One and Season Two releases (from B&W to Color, and from no remastering for Season One, to a supposed, decent transfer for Season Two), FOX actually believes that sales for a "Complete Second Season" would be as "disappointing" as the sales for Season One"???!!! I'm sorry, but THAT's the real definition of INSANITY, and flat-out WRONG! And if it is "insane to do exactly the same thing again and expect a different result", then how does FOX explain the decision to release "The Complete Second Season" in Region 2, when fewer Season One sets were obviously sold there than here. Let's hear their reasoning behind that one...

    -Mark
    (knowledgable AND dangerous!)

    As a Post Script, I will say that FOX (as well as the other studios) should take their cue from Paramount, and Image Entertainment, who were courageous (and smart) enough to realize the potential market for "Complete Season" sets of the various "Star Trek" series, and "The Dick Van Dyke Show".

    Despite the fact that some Seasons of TV series DVDs always sell better than others, both of these studios made the commitment to release the ENTIRE SERIES in individual Season sets (with all Seasons being released within a short time frame as well), knowing that it would take some time to make their profit; but meanwhile, ensuring the satisfaction and loyalty of the consumer. Even the "disappointing" sales of "Star Trek: Voyager" this year, did not deter Paramount from its commitment to release the remaining seasons (In my opinion, Season's 4 & 5 should sell the most units...). Bravo! -I salute them.
     
  10. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    Mark, I have to agree with you. While I appreciate Peter Staddon's reply, I have to question just how much Fox really cares about releasing these shows. It's obvious Lost In Space season 1 wasn't remastered. Ok, so the show doesn't have the fanbase of Star Trek, I can understand that. However, to release a bare bones set (extras were too few to really matter) and then complain that it didn't sell enough units...well, I don't understand this. Come on, how much could it have cost the studio to simply copy the old 1 inch video masters used to copy the Columbia House VHS set from the early 90s to DVD? Then to sell this set at $80 a pop and complain when it doesn't break any sales records? I'm sorry, but if this doesn't smell like greed, nothing does. Season 2 will also not be remastered, and being split into 2 sets will turn off most of the Lost In Space fanbase (which are the hardcore fans). I have been to several Lost In Space fan sites where many people are saying they will boycott the U.S. release of season 2 completely, opting instead to buy the British region 2 release instead, simply because that set is the COMPLETE season 2 package. As word leaks out, more and more LIS fans will probably be doing the same, so there's no way sales of the U.S. season 2 divided sets will even come close to what season 1 sold. Do you want to know what that'll do to the chances of us ever seeing a possible season 3 release? I'm sorry but I really feel Fox shot themselves in the foot with this one. I would like to know why the British region 2 DVD set of season 2 gets released as a complete season set, while the U.S. region 1 set has to be split in 2? You'd think the country that produced the show would treat its fans with more dignity than a foreign country does to its fans. But once again, I suppose it's not really about the fans, just how much more $$$ the studios can squeeze into their pockets.
     
  11. Mark Johnston

    Mark Johnston Auditioning

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    Well (and more simply) put, Carlos!

    -Mark [​IMG]
     
  12. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I'm "wide awake". And eager to buy the split seasons of LOST IN SPACE! [​IMG]

    I'll also say that the black and white episodes from Season One look better than any time I've ever seen them, and that includes VHS and also their original broadcast!

    You don't want to buy into the split sets because it may cost you three or four extra dollars? Then don't. But please don't try to squash the opportunity for the rest of us to have all seasons of their favorite shows on DVD.

    Split Seasons makes COMPLETE sense for the casual buyer, in addition to the diehard fan. I'd be much more likely to sample a show I'd never seen if I could buy Part One for $25, and then decide if I enjoyed it enough to justify buying the rest of the series after that. Much better than throwing away $60 right off the bat for a TV show I've never seen. Thanks for making me even more aware of this by your explanations. [​IMG]
     
  13. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I'm sorry, but I don't agree. With all due respect, I think you and Mark are the ones potentially shooting Fox in both feet.

    I'm not about to get a Region Free player just to acquire LOST IN SPACE in one package, sorry. And the LIS fan sites I've checked out seem to have a lot of fans willing to buy the split seasons. As far as hurting the chances for a Season Three set in the future, the only ones who are doing that to themselves are some of the more fickle fans. Boycotting the R1 sets is the sure way to kill Season Three.

    Here's a solution -- if you really want to go the R2 route, why not just do that and allow Fox to split the R1 seasons up for those of us who accept them?
     
  14. Mark Johnston

    Mark Johnston Auditioning

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    Joe,

    We DON'T WANT to have to go the "R2 Route", which is the whole point of this discussion.

    What was said was that we would choose the R2 version IF not offered the same product here. We expect the studios to give the US/Canadian consumers the same consideration (if not more, since we buy more product), than they are obviously already giving the British/Australian/European consumers, by providing them a "Complete Season" set, while we are stuck with a more expensive (unit/retail COST, in relation to half the price of the "First Season" set, mind you), and less aesthetic and appealing "Split" set (especially when the main purpose for this is just to increase the studio's profits, despite their denials).

    If you don't care that many studios are already planning to split future TV series sets in order to take even more of your hard-earned money, then you are truly their favorite kind of customer. Many of us however, will refuse to bow to "corporate greed", and accept "the company line" of B.S..

    It's this simple: Demand COMPLETE Season sets of "Lost in Space" and other series and you will get them. FOX and the other studios will put out what they believe people will want to buy, because the dollar is unfortunately, always the bottom line. It's just common sense to realize that if enough people protest, it WILL make a difference. If Paramount and Image Entertainment can do it ("Star Trek" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show"), so can FOX. Vote with your dollar.

    -Mark

    PS: Everyone, please go back and re-read my last post at the bottom of Page 1 of this thread, since I have added substantially more to it. Thanks.
     
  15. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Supporting Actor

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    I can't see why you are berating this poor man.

    DeepDiscount has the first season for $58.55 for eight discs. Season 2 Part 1 is $29.27 so if Season 2 Part 2 costs $29.27 so you will actually save a penny as someone earlier pointed out.

    $58.55 is far too much for an impulse buy, but $29.27 is just right and if it gets more people into the series, it is better for everyone.

    Paul
     
  16. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    No they don't. What he is saying is that even with a higher production unit cost for half-season sets, Fox expects to sell many more units to make up for the slimmer per-unit profit. More people will buy blindly at a low price point. That's the whole argument for splitting.

    Here in the UK we get both varieties for some series, season sets and split seasons. Usually the splits are released a little earlier, to make up for the total cost. Give the consumer a choice. [​IMG]

    As for myself, season sets are my preference, but as long as the show gets released and the cost/episode is in line with what I'm prepared to pay, then split sets are okay with me. [​IMG]
     
  17. kennethROGERSON

    kennethROGERSON Auditioning

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    Frankly I am tired of the Studios' culture of greed. It is time that they stopped the practice of hiring accountants to be execs. Simply because they focus on the money and not the product. I do not adhere to this philosophy and any business that does is committing suicide.
    Why?
    People can smell greed from a million miles away, and to be frank again the current smell of certain studios is considerably rank.
    I do not mind if they break up the Sets, but only after they have released the full boxed sets.
    The reason?
    Well, for instance it gives someone who has never watched the series a chance at previewing them. And so I believe it is necessary to have both broken sets.
    Full sets would be beneficial to those who are fans of the series or who have grown to like them enough to purchase the first or later seasons set. So there is a call for Boxed sets.
    However, as I mentioned before I am not impressed with the Studios train of thought that Greed can be OK. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that anyone puts up with it.
    If someone is going to charge me a high price for a product it better be worth it.
    If a Studio wants to sell more product they need to keep their costs to the consumer down, or else very few people will be buying the sets. (Just look at the sales of Voyager to prove my point). Personally, I feel like I am getting ripped-off when I have to pay $150.00 for 13 episodes.
    So, if the Studio prices get more "real" (and by that I mean lower) then maybe, and just maybe, I'll start buying them off the shelf again.
    Otherwise I will look for used copies of them.
     
  18. Steven Wesley

    Steven Wesley Second Unit

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    Mark, I understand your frustration, but phraseology like "And anyone with half a brain knows..." is a bit derogatory towards the studio folks that do post here. I have no problem with you voicing your concerns on this issue. That's what discussion forums are for, after all. But please try to show consideration as well. We all deserve it, no matter what our perspective is... at least, that's my opinion [​IMG]
     
  19. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    Sorry - I don't agree, at least as a flat out generalization. Take, for example, shows with a HUGE run of episodes in a season - like Transformers, GI Joe, Batman:TAS, He-Man and so on. A set with all 65 episodes from Season 2 of Transformers would be a HUGE set and cost a hefty chunk of change. Breaking it down means that you get to spread the price out, making it easier for consumers to buy and increasing sales overall.

    Breaking up a season is no worse than individual releases - just that you get them several discs at a time.
     
  20. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    OK, well, what's wrong with wanting to make money? You see, in my opinion, these studios have zero and I do mean zero obligation to release this stuff at all. They only do so to make money. Period. The shows were only aired in the first place to make money. Period. It is a moot point here because the price of the 2 split sets is 1 cent less than season 1. So, what's the problem? And even if it were more expensive, it is their prerogative to do so. They want to make money. They certainly don't have any obligation to us to release the stuff. People often bitch and moan on here about X-Files being expensive...so what? Obviously they have sold well enough that Fox continued to release all the seasons at that point, so why wouldn't they sell them at that price. It's called capitalism. Shoot, if X-Files sets sold well at at $300 a season, then I would expect the studio to release it at that price. I wouldn't like it personally, but I wouldn't blame them for doing it. If I were in charge of the studio, I would do whatever necessary to maximize profits. Once the price got to a point that sales suffered to an extent that the profits were hurt, then I would cut back the price until maximum profit is received. Simple economics. Same thing with people whining about, "Well I bought all 40 volumes of Star Trek: TOS and now they come out in season sets and that's not fair to those of us who bought the originals." Well, so what? Paramount maximized sales to those willing to shell out the $$$ for the single discs and now they want to release season sets for those of us who didn't spring for the 40 discs before. Again, so what? Sounds like good marketing and a good financial move to me. Now all of those who didn't buy the single discs (like me) will buy the season sets. More money for Paramount. Good for them! [​IMG] Seriously, what's with all this "evil companies wanting to make more money" crap. Of course they want to make more money. That is why they exist!!! They don't release these shows out of kindness so you will enjoy them. They release these shows so they can make money. That is the whole point. I see absolutely zero problem with that idea. NONE WHATSOEVER. I don't go to work every day just because I an a nice guy or something. I go to work because I want to make money. If I were in their shoes, I would market the products to maximize profits. If they do not do that, then they aren't really doing their jobs. So, while I am not a Lost in Space fan, if I were, I certainly wouldn't be up in arms about splitting the sets...especially when the combined price is the same. My personal preference is full season sets, but if I have to choose between split sets or no further releases (such as Mary Tyler Moore), then I will happily take the split sets. [​IMG]
     

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