Is Manufacture on Demand the future of TV on DVD?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by WendyCR, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. WendyCR

    WendyCR Stunt Coordinator

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    At least, shows that would never make it to DVD otherwise?


    I was listening to the chat with the exec from Mill Creek, and apparently, Mill Creek is also going to begin a MOD service so that "shows that otherwise would never see the light of day" could come out.


    I know other companies are now doing this. Not owning such a product, how is the quality? Is it on par with "regular" DVDs?


    (I own what seasons have been released of Silk Stalkings. I have a feeling if the last three seasons do ever get some sort of release, this is going to be the way...)


    Better than nothing, I guess. Or is it?
     
  2. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    Well, the problem with MoD right now is that no one knows how long the discs will last.


    I own one MoD set... Night Court, season 4. The episodes were what they were... uncut masters with no clean-up work done to them. Of course, that's probably exactly how WB would have put them onto professionally pressed DVDs.


    For what they were, I thought that WB's MoD Night Court set held up pretty well. There were a couple minor glitches in a couple of episodes, but nothing major. Usually less than a second of digital distortion. The discs played in my player, and there were no major audio or video problems I could see on my 46 inch screen.


    If Mill Creek doing a MoD program got me, say, more of the Goodson-Todman game shows, I'd welcome it.
     
  3. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Absolutely. The peak of TV DVD releases is over with. Every major studio with the exception of CBS is done with the classic TV business. And CBS is on life support, having slowed to a trickle. They may finish up a few loose end shows that are near conclusion, like Fugitive, Have Gun Will Travel and maybe a couple of others but I think they've pretty much released whatever they are going to commercially release. I don't really know how many more shows Shout Factory will be attempting pre-1980 so yes, Burn on Demand will be it. At some point, I believe all of the studios will be getting heavily into it and that's where we'll see many of the shows that haven't seen the light yet. Of course, again, it will depend on element availability. Warner is mastering their catalogue and rumor has it Sony is as well. There's even some talk that Universal is using that fire insurance money to master as well. I don't believe CBS is really dealing with their older and more obscure shows that really have no commercial value at this point. As for Fox, we see how they treat their library so I don't expect that's ever going to change. So really, if we are going to see older shows being offered, I would expect them to come from Warner, Sony and MGM, not really from any of the other companies.
     
  4. ChuckWL

    ChuckWL Stunt Coordinator

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    Studios if your listening bring on the MODs my purse is open and this girl is ready to make a purchase!
     
  5. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    As far as technology goes, MOD and pressed DVDs are identical in quality. 4.7 gigabits of digital information is the same whether it is on a burned disc or a pressed one. However, how the players react to burned discs are where problems can arise. There may be compatibility problems that result in glitches or even non-playback. The other issue is mentioned above, who really knows if burned media will last over time.


    Of course where the lack of quality may show is when no restoration work is done, but that has nothing to do with MOD vs. pressed.
     
  6. shoeshineboy

    shoeshineboy Second Unit

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    I've been one of the voices hectoring on about mod and all its trappings, but i won't deny that it is going to be the main means of release... And for a majority of the unreleased tv series it likely is the way to go.

    However, I will continue to argue that the film/tv show collector has a duty to demand either a better mod product or a better price point than currently offered. When it has been custom for big studios to release box sets on film noir and crime movies featuring 5-10 films for under 60$ ON PRESSED DISCS, please don't try and convince me that MOD product, with none of the correction/restoration work and absolutely none of the storage/production issues of pressed should be selling for anything close to that margin.

    Collectors who gulp it up at any price -- and with MOD there will be limited opportunities for sales or bargain bin prices -- are essentially telling the major dvd producers to lower their standards, sell fewer discs because the collector will pay the piper no matter what.

    I'm just shocked that the studios haven't figured out the obvious -- just as you could put in less work, offer a lesser product with little effort at the same price as before, they could easily put in a little better effort, put out a better product (pressed, some restoration/cleaning, possible extras) and charge a lot more to these same collectors. I'd be in line for that, but so far i've not bought any of this mod crap. yet.
     
  7. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    Of course.


    The studios, having seen Warner manage to sell discs that cost far less for them to produce at a much higher price, are hardly likely to do anything else.


    No commercial enterprise is going to turn down the opportunity to hugely increase their profit margins on a product.


    Unfortunately, their end customer has shown himself to be highly willing, nay enthusiastic, to get royally shafted.


    There can be no doubt that MOD discs represent a step down in content quality - this is quite apparent from the quality and total absence of extras whilst at the same time a step up in the price.


    The studios all looked at the Warner Archive model and saw that discs with minimal investment were selling at a premium price. So they're all going to jump onto the bandwagon.


    All this stuff about "MOD being the only way that these titles would be released" is smoke and mirrors. It is true, but only because the studios have made it that way.


    Putting stuff out on standard DVD is very cheap (if it wasn't, the likes of Alpha wouldn't exist). And the studios aren't spending any of the so-called "savings" on stuff like restoration or extras.


    These are bare-bones releases at a premium price, AND are on a medium that has unproven longevity (which is largely dependent on the quality of the blanks used, but I wonder if any of the MOD programs actually check that - I doubt it)


    They know they have the customer over a barrel; it's this or nothing. They're laughing all the way to the bank and wondering why they didn't do it years ago. It's the perfect business model, since they even manage to (largely) monopolise the supply to themselves, thus eliminating any chance of prices being driven down by competition.


    It's a bit like the way that the old Soviet Union produced cars. Lousy quality and prone to break down. But you couldn't get anything else so people were so grateful to have something to drive they were willing to overlook the rotten value they were getting.
     
  8. shoeshineboy

    shoeshineboy Second Unit

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    Nice analogy -- Warners Archive, the Lada of your movie memories!
     
  9. Van594

    Van594 Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm in the camp that just wants complete series sets and no more of this starting a series and then not finishing it crap. If MOD is the way to accomplish that then by all means bring them on. I want my third season of the Night Gallery and the rest of Dream On etc... and if they finished the series by MOD then so be it...at least I would have them complete and not in some limbo. To sit and worry about how long they will last etc seems silly to me when I seem to have plenty of DVD-R's that have been going strong for years now. Unless you plan on living forever most of these MOD's are going to outlive you so I really don't understand the beef if your main goal is to see shows and have them complete. You can live in a dream world where they have pressed discs forever or you can realize that those days are fading fast and soon it will be downloads and burn it yourself(if they let you) or MOD.
     
  10. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Great post and I couldn't have said it better myself. Give me series complete with uncut episodes. I'm not concerned with the "condiments", like extras or what kind of box the set comes in or other such silly nonsense. Nor do I care if they are digitally remastered from the 35mm negs. I've got thousands of shows that are either from 16mm or recorded from off-air. As for the lifespan of the discs, I'm sure it will be longer than my remaining lifespan so I don't really care if they go bad in 50 years because I'll be long gone by then.
     
  11. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Anti-MOD, all the way baby.


    But this forum seems to be PRO MOD, so be it. Doesnt mean its good. If Shout!, E1, and Image can do OK with DVD, and Blu-ray! I do not see why the Big Boys do not want to play.


    Premium price, for less. No thanks. The profit margin must be really nice with MOD. PT Barnum would have loved it.
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I can't speak for anyone but myself but I think the majority of people here are in favor of MOD simply because they know it's the only way that many of the movies and TV shows that they want are ever going to be released. I'd MUCH rather see a pressed disc get released but if my choice is between a DVD-R and nothing, I'll have to live with the DVD-R.
     
  13. westumulka

    westumulka Stunt Coordinator

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    Sony, which had been putting out some nice pressed disc sets until recently, have now gone the MOD route. I guess the reason they did it was that the pressed disc sets were not selling well enough for them to justify manufacturing them. I know I certainly didn't buy those sets when they were first released because of the cost, and waited until they inevitably came down in price. With MOD they certainly aren't bothered if they don't sell anywhere near the numbers that the pressed discs sell because the outlay is a lot less.


    I'm not sure if it will be too long before places like Alpha will go the MOD route - Mill Creek have announced they will do so shortly for material which they consider would not sell enough on normal pressed discs. I certainly don't like the MOD route that most of the companies are taking, and I am trying to show support for those companies which continue to release titles on pressed discs (Shout! who have their own 'select' range, but on pressed discs instead if dvd-r. And of course CBS/Paramount, which still release the majority of their output on pressed discs, or licence to others).


    So I guess it's all down to sales: with pressed discs the larger companies (Warner, MGM, Sony) are expecting better sales than they were getting. They have gone the MOD route: the sales for those will be a lot less, but guess what? They don't have them sitting in warehouses or have to discount them as much as the pressed discs.


    Not sure what the analogy with Soviet Union cars is all about - I would think in that country a car is essential for travelling. You can certainly decide what movies and shows you don't want to buy if you don't like how it's being released.
     
  14. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    MOD DVDs are the 21st version of VHS. And they're priced about the same as the VHS tapes you'd find at Suncoast back in 1993. People whine about how much they'd pay to get some barely remembered movie and then when it's available through MOD, the first response is "How dare you gouge me!"


    The videostore outlets are dying. The major mall near me used to have 2 record stores that also sold DVDs and a Sun Coast video. Now they have none. Circuit City is gone and the HH Greg stores that have taken over their space don't stock DVDs. Best Buy and Walmart have cut back on their shelf space for DVDs.


    While it's easy to think that this is a great solution to put these films out on the company website, there's a lot of older people who might have been curious about the films or TV shows offered on MOD, but they're not going to hunt them down. They might ask their grandchildren to look them up.


    and you can always wait till Warner Archive has one of their sales.
     
  15. ChrisALM

    ChrisALM Supporting Actor

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    I am not a big fan of MOD. However, for some shows we may have no other choice. If it a show I really want, I will go the MOD route.


    I have been wondering though, is MOD limited to DVD, or is Bluray also a possibility? Is a burned Bluray disc more stable than a DVD-R?
     
  16. Greg Chenoweth

    Greg Chenoweth Supporting Actor

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    Another reason to support MOD is because stores like Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart are starting to DECREASE the shelf space for DVD's because they are dwindling in sales. There have been many articles about this in the Wall Street Journal and other publications as well as online news media. Yes, the really popular stuff is still sellable but some of the latest TV-on-DVD box sets are just not showing up at the stores any more because demand has dwindled or DVD sales themselves have been taking a big hit. The studios know that there is a demand for the product but they have been trying to figure out how to get it into the customer's hands. The MOD program is the best way around this issue.


    I agree that a single disc price of $19.99 is expensive. However, Warners is selling "Thundarr the Barbarian" in a four disc set in MOD for $29.99; that's more affordable than other WHV four disc animation sets. I purchased "Yogi's First Christmas" through Warner Archive last year and it still looks just as good to look at as the day I received it in the mail. The transfer to DVD is awesome and it looks a lot better than it has on the Boomerang network the last few years; that print looks worn and faded but the Warner Archive disc looks just as good as the Huck and Yogi sets that were released in 2005.


    The MOD system is not my first choice for DVD purchases either, but to think that the alternative is that the material would not be released if the MOD program wasn't available, makes the decision an easy one for me to support it.
     
  17. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    Eventually we'll see MOD on Demand on the retail end when you can go to a kiosk and purchase the film. prepaired while you wait - or you purchase on line,pre-pay and pick it up at the store same day.


    Some Independant book stores already do something similar with print on demand in store for licenced,public-domain and open source books!
     
  18. Robert13

    Robert13 Supporting Actor

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    As someone else said, most of the commercially-viable shows have been released on dvd bar a few. So I'm hoping this MOD thing kicks in at full speed soon and studios start offering the lesser-known rarities that otherwise wouldn't see the light of day. If it gets us an opportunity to see some of these series that haven't been seen since they first aired, then so be it. I'm all for it.


    I am, however, a bit worried because I have asked Warner Archive about releasing shows (specifically citing "It's a Living", "Private Benjamin" and "Alice") and I was told "while they are good candidates, they are not currently available" (whatever that means). So just what do they intend to release beyond rare movies?
     
  19. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    IIRC, Alice is unreleased because of master tape problems.
     
  20. Kirben

    Kirben Agent

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    Mill Creek already try to produce DVD releases as cheaply as possible, without any care for quality (i.e. extremely poor packaging, over compressed discs with 10+ episodes!). So I don't see Mill Creek going MoD as much of a difference, to their poor releases. I just wish Mill Creek didn't get the rights to such a large library of cartoon series from Cookie Jar.

    But if manufactor on demand is the future of TV on DVD in general, then I will stop buying completely.

    Manufactor on Demand offers too many disadvantages:
    -Less compatibility, especially with non-standard DVD-R (due to added copy protection) been used.
    -Less durability, DVD-R won't last in the long term. DVD-R are more easily effected by many variables (i.e. discs used, temperature changes), which can cause faults.
    -Higher prices, the prices are far too high for DVD-R. Many titles are offered exclusively from certain places (i.e. Warner Archive), which means less competition, and less chance of better prices too.
    -Barebones, will little effort even put into these release. For example: Many of the Nicktoons on Amazon don't even have complete seasons, or episodes in the right order.
    -No chance of real restoration or new additional extras, since these are been aimed at niche market only.

    Been an international buyer, I risk buying discs that might not work at all, or might only last short term, with little chance of been able to exchange the discs (since I can't buy directly) if problems occur.

    In the case of cartoon series, there are still far too many series that have not had decent releases on pressed DVD or not been released on pressed DVD at all. Especially with single volumes (rather than season sets) been much more common for cartoon series, and many series suffering from pan and scan (when produced for widescreen).

    I still don't see why decent season sets (or Part 1/2 sets) of many cartoon series from Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers and others wouldn't sell well on pressed DVDs. Limited runs (i.e. 1000) could be produced, if companies are still worried how many they are going to sell. By decent, I mean uncut episodes (not the edited versions shown on TV), in their correct order (not airdate order), in their original aspect ratio (widescreen, if produced for widescreen), and not over compressed (6 - 8 episodes per disc, depending on episode length).
     

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