Encourage People To Buy MTM Season 1

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Jaime_Weinman, May 7, 2003.

  1. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    There's been some talk recently about the fact that The Mary Tyler Moore Show season 1 didn't sell well, and whether the remaining seasons will ever be released. I think that there's clearly only one way to bring that about: Get more people to buy the set while it's still in print.

    I was reading a discussion group (a fairly large one) devoted to the show, and in response to the announcement that the rest of the series wouldn't be coming out on DVD, there appeared a surprising number of posts saying either: a) I would have bought it but I don't have a DVD player yet, or b) I was waiting for the later seasons to come out because I like those better. Well, not to sound harsh, but it's thinking like that that led the remaining seasons to be unreleased.

    So obviously it seems that the proper way to bring about a change in the show's fate is to stage a campaign directed not at Fox (which has no reason to change its mind unless sales of season 1 improve) but at fans, to raise consciousness that unless they buy season 1 now there'll be no chance of season 2 or any other season. Can anyone suggest how such a campaign could be done? (It's certainly easier to write to Fox than it is to write to unknown Mary Tyler Moore Show fans who didn't bother to buy season 1.) Anyway, if you know anyone who likes the show, encourage them to buy season 1 whether they have a DVD player or not -- they'll have to get one eventually -- or whether or not it's their favorite season.
     
  2. Conrad_SSS

    Conrad_SSS Second Unit

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    I love the Mary Tyler Moore show.

    However, aside from the pilot episode, I'm not crazy about the first season episodes, as the characters weren't as fully developed as they later became. I prefer the episodes from season 3 on, when Betty White & Georgia Engel were added to the cast.

    When the MTM Boxed set was first released, I didn't buy it because I knew I'd never watch it, except for the premiere episode.

    However, when I heard rumblings that FOX was going to drop the ball and not release the rest of the series due to "disappointing" sales results, I went out immediately and bought the season 1 box, to support the series. I know my one purchase wasn't going to make the difference, but I hoped that other people that love the series would do as I did.

    So, I echo Jaime's plea. Go out and support MTM! Buy the DVD set! Tell your friends to do the same![​IMG]
     
  3. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    If FOX would lower the price of the set to be in line with the season sets of other shows of the period (i.e. ALL IN THE FAMILY, SANFORD AND SON) they might just see the sales improve.

    Bottom line; they priced it at twice as much as it should have been.
     
  4. PienSavaca

    PienSavaca Stunt Coordinator

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    you forgot "c)"...... people don't want incomplete episodes .... "White christmas" is snipped even though it was included in earlier VHS releases.
     
  5. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    ditto,

    will not buy until price drops.
    I haven't even seen the show but will buy otherwise.
     
  6. Kurt N

    Kurt N Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually the MTM set is a much better deal than the first season of All in the Family. I just compared them on Amazon (chosen at random).

    AITF: 13 episodes for $36.
    MTM: 24 episodes for $43. And throw in a decent documentary and some comentaries. Well worth $7 more.

    Granted, the 2nd season of AITF is 24 episodes for under $30. Is there any way to see if it's sold significantly better? Maybe Fox should consider releasing them bare-bones and cheaper. I'll buy every season, no matter how they're put out. But please let them be put out.

    A couple of my friends will be getting sets for their birthdays.
     
  7. Scott_F_S

    Scott_F_S Second Unit

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  8. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Best Buy often sells AITF and SANFORD set for $20-22. That's the range the MTM sets need to be in. If they priced them at SRP $29.99, that would be fine.
     
  9. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I think that this would sell better if it STREETED at $29.99 or less. I think that's the "magic price" that most people are trying to find it for in B&M's. Just my opinion.
     
  10. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

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    Fox apparently spent a lot of money on the extras for MTM Season 1, which reflected in a higher MSRP. Frankly, it shows. I think it was the best TV-related set last year, especially considering the historical significance and critical acclaim of the show. Is there another TV show of that vintage that has such a lovingly produced and presented DVD (as a season set)? I can't think of one. It's especially remarkable because many of the extras on MTM had to be created from scratch--and this doesn't even address the fact that the three-decades-old shows look incredible, which probably cost a fair amount of money to do, too.

    It's too bad it hasn't sold well. When I interviewed Ed Asner for the first set, he had noted that the supplements and production on the second-season set had already been completed. So the production costs have already been spent again--seemingly.

    I don't get the comparisons to All in the Family, M*A*S*H and Sanford and Son. Yes, it's nice to have those shows on DVD, but they're certainly nothing special--in looks and supplements. And the comparisons to something like Buffy are just silly. That's a new show with a bigger current audience and many DVD-production costs that were/are built into the production of the actual show.

    With MTM, you get what you pay for.

    If the argument is that MTM should come out as bare-bones sets rather than not at all, I can certainly understand that sentiment. (I'm personally hankering for The Bob Newhart Show, whose fate seems tied to that of MTM.) But there's the problem that the production of Season 2 appears to have been paid for already. And there's no guarantee that future sets, even with no frills, will sell well enough to make up the losses of the first (and second) set, let alone turn a profit themselves. Fox might look at it as throwing good money after bad.
     
  11. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Randy, I agree 100% with every word you said. Unfortunately, the mass market does not seem to care. They are willing to buy these TV sets (MTMS included), but there is a threshold of desire for a particular show vs. the price they are willing to pay.

    I just ran and did a check at DVDPriceSearch.com: The lowest "new" price for MTMS is $31.99; used copies from Amazon or Half.com are $35 and $33.56 respectively, according to the search. Note that this lists for $49.98.

    I re-iterate my opinion that - extras and quality aside - where this particular series is concerned, the vast majority of TV-on-DVD buyers want the set for under $30.


    I own it, and agree that it's a fantastic set. Worth every penny. But the general populace that needs to swarm to this release aren't biting, and it's because to them the price ain't right. Same deal with Larry Sanders Show.


    I re-read what I've typed so far, and fear that I'm appearing to attempt to de-rail the subject. I don't mean to turn this into a pricing debate. We're brainstorming on how to get more copies of this sold, right?

    Going back to the original subject, I don't know off the top of my head anyone who likes the show but didn't buy the set. I can't begin to think of ways to approach friends or co-workers and see if they're interested in the show, and then cajole them into paying money that they weren't prepared to pay before.


    I suppose one concept Fox could examine is the same one they use with, say, Fight Club or Moulin Rouge: Release a "basic edition" of the set without the 4th disc which has just the supplements. Re-work the packaging as low-cost as possible (thinpaks, perhaps?) and see if the SRP can get down to $39.98...bringing the street price to $29.99 at most brick-and-mortar chains. $10 a disc, at about $1.25 per episode. It should sell at that point.


    I hope my thinking out loud here helps. I really WOULD like to see this show sell, so that I can see season 2 and beyond. Even if I have to sacrifice the extras on future sets...it's all about the show, after all.
     
  12. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I've never actually seen the show (I'm 22, so missed out on first runs), but would be willign to take a chance on it simply because of its reputation if it were cheaper.
     
  13. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

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    David, I do agree with your points. It doesn't matter if the set is worth every penny if people aren't buying it. My post was more of a lament than anything else.

    But I have a hunch that my assumptions about the business end of it might be on target. If so, we might never see it continued--at least by Fox. Even if they cheapen the costs of future sets, they've dropped a chunk of change already and seen little return for it (according to them, and there's no reason to doubt them). It would seem unlikely that even if bare-bones sets sold well, they'd do well enough to make up the money that's already been spent and more.

    There is one other option: For Asner and his son to continue it independently in a manner similar to the Johnny Carson and Cosmos sets. Unfortunately, while that would ensure they could do whatever they wanted from a presentation standpoint, it would probably mean the price would go up.
     
  14. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  15. Scott_F_S

    Scott_F_S Second Unit

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    Explanation of production costs, talk about packaging, etc., don't matter.

    The point of the thread is, How can we get more people to buy MTM Season 1? And the answer is: At that price, you're not.

    The bottom line is that for the show itself, that's not a good value -- quality of supplements and packaging notwithstanding. Comparisons to MASH and Buffy, etc., are NOT silly in the context of this discussion. The point is that those shows sell well because the sets are perceived as good value. Most of those have very few supplements -- and most of the ones that are there are insubstantial. People are buying the show, not the supplements.

    The producers of the MTM set should be commended for going that extra mile to make this an excellent set with great packaging and supplements. But the reality is that it turned out to be a poor marketing decision.
     
  16. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

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  17. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    With more time to think about it, perhaps the right answer is this:

    Continue getting out S2 and forward from there, but at the lower cost I described. No supplements, thinpaks, etc. $29.99 street, or lower if possible. Since they are the more popular seasons, they should sell better if the price is right.

    As people get the new seasons, they will want to pick up the first season just for completion's sake. Fox should lower the price on that to as low as you can stand so that they at least break even on the work put into it.

    Save back the new supplements recorded for S2, and think about putting them out later as a separate "behind the series" DVD sold separately to the ultra-fans of the show. Of course, that should have material for the subsequent seasons as well, not just S2.


    Just bouncing some more ideas around!
     
  18. Stephen Heath

    Stephen Heath Stunt Coordinator

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    Personally, I think we're just seeing that the studios put too much out too fast and consumers simply can't keep up. We don't have infinite dollars, and thus, we postpone things that we would like, but not as much as other things.

    As it is, I'm having a hard time keeping up just with the movies I must have (a few a month, usually) and the TV series I like : Sopranos, Simpsons, Futurama, Stargate SG-1, Babylon 5, Transformers, South Park, Family Guy, and a few others I can't think of off the top of my head. So as much as I would love to get the Jeffersons (MTM doesn't turn my crank) Mash, and a few others, it's gonna have to wait a few years until the studios are done releasing all the sci-fi and comedy I want.

    Maybe all that needs to happen is they need to let MTM sit on the shelf for a few years until they sell enough copies to justify another season, or do like Disney does... announce MTM is going into the vault for a few years and when it comes out, season two will come with it.
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I had thought perhaps a price-drop or re-promotion was on the way since my Best Buy seemed to get in a boatload of copies of MTM-S1 about a month ago. Seems odd they'd replenish stock to the level of having an entire full row in the TV section if it wasn't selling or wasn't going to go on sale?


    I think this is exactly the problem. All the studios have $$$ in their eyes because a few TV sets sold lots of copies. So now they're all in a rush to get their piece of the pie, or increase the size of the piece they have. Then we end up with so many sets that consumers have to start to pick and choose, and having to skip some. Eventually, the $$$ are spread so thin that no one is meeting their sales goals and the releases of some sets are seen as failures. It's not necessarily that people don't want them, but we can't afford to buy a big new TV set every week on top of regular movie releases.
     
  20. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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