Playing Chicken with the Sudios on releases

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mark To, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    For 90% of the shows I would buy I am interested in the whole run. I don't like this game the studios seem to be playing of, "we'll put things out season by season and if we like the sales, we'll continue. And if we don't like them, you're SOL." To me, that attitude sucks. How about we take a little control ourselves. Let the studios announce a commitment with release dates for entire series and then we buy. If not, we wait until they commit. I don't care for game playing but that's obviously what the studios want to do. Well, how about we make them play by our rules instead of playing by theirs?
     
  2. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    The studios are playing by our rules, in the sense that "we" are the DVD-buying public. If we buy enough of the first season, they'll release the second season. If not, they won't. And it doesn't matter why people are not buying the first season; people not buying because they want to wait and see if future seasons will come out are indistinguishable from people who just don't want to buy the show at all.

    If it's "all or nothing," then nothing's what we'll get from them. (Not even something?) Nothing's what we'll get... from... theeeemmmm! (TM Rodgers & Hammerstein)
     
  3. MishaLauenstein

    MishaLauenstein Supporting Actor

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    What reason could the studios possibly have for NOT releasing subsequent seasons if the first one sells well?

    None.

    And if the studio announces release dates for fourteen seasons of Knot's Landing and Season One doesn't sell well enough, there's no way they'll commit to the other thirteen no matter WHAT tentative dates they've announced.

    So there's no real point in NOT buying Season One when it's released.

    It's not like owning one or two seasons of a great show is a bad thing, and unlike Laserdisk or VHS, if you have one or two seasons in DVD format and then twenty years later they finally release the rest on HDVD, it's not going to look incompatible on your shelf (unless they release the whole series on one disk, of course, but I think the risk of that is minimal compared to, say, the risk of South Park Season One being released when they were still being put out a few at a time.)
     
  4. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Yes, as I said in the between release nervousness thread, having an attitude of I’ll wait for the whole run to come out before making a purchase, will help to ensure you only ever get a first season of a show and no more.
    Studios are in the business of making money. Why should they go ahead and announce a whole run of a show and the first season still bombs? Take Mary Tyler Moore, the studio (Fox) announces all seven seasons for DVD, and the first season hits shelves and bombs. Well, if they wanted to honor their release schedule they’d have 6 more seasons to come out and fail.
    The biggest reason for doing it season by season though is more than just a profit. If a studio releases a season of a show, they might find out that a format change is necessary. Meaning, sales might be so good that they decide to spring for extras on subsequent seasons, or so bad they have to cancel extras on future seasons. Its harder to do this if they’re planning several seasons all at once, and if they’re announcing release dates for seven seasons of a show that would mean they’d have to be fairly far along in the production.
    Whether we like it or not, the way they’re doing things now is for the best.
     
  5. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    Well, 2 things to consider. Shows that have been in syndication for 20, 30, 40 years have made a profit 1,000 times over. Residuals were done after 5 reruns and after that it all went in the studios pockets. Do you really think that a few thousand extra DVD sales will make a difference on their bottom line on these shows? Secondly, what about shows that weren't at their best in the first season? Are fans obligated to buy it just to show support. I'm not an MTM fan but many people like the show better once Betty White and Georgia Engel joined the cast and that wasn't in first season. What about Man From UNCLE? 3 of the 4 seasons were good, 3rd season was terrible. So if they put the show out and 3rd season sells poorly then 4th gets cancelled even though it would sell better? What about Best Ofs? I won't buy them. Will that prevent future season sets?
     
  6. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    Mark, each product has to make money. They don't say, "We can take a loss on MTM because Simpsons is selling well."

    Think of it like an office. No company is going to keep Ted around because Bill does enough work to cover him and Ted. They'd ditch Ted and find someone to replace him. If a studio thinks they can make more money with "show B" then they'll stop making DVDs of "show A" when sales are slow.

    Studios track sales for 3-4 months after street. If it doesn't perform well in that time period then it's unlikely we'll see anything more.

    What you're asking for would be the same as asking a studio to schedule a series of movies before the first one has been released. "In 2005 we'll release 'Gord Goes on Vacation' followed by 'Gord Goes on Vacation II' in late 2006 and 'Gord Gord On Vacation III' in 2008" - it wouldn't happen (mostly because no one would see 'Gord Gord on Vacation" - scripts haven't been written).

    Just like you won't go to work for free, the studios won't release something that doesn't make them money.

    Gord
     
  7. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    That didn't stop Dick Van Dyke from announcing all 5 seasons. Or I Spy. A&E when they put out shows like The Avengers go all the way thru. And these are companies that are sub-licensing so if anything it probably costs them more. But again my question, if a show has already made the studio a huge multi-million dollar profit, how much does it have to make on DVD? Do you have any idea how much these older series have already made.
     
  8. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    That's irrelevent. The question for the studio is how much will this product make, and the DVD sets can be considered a seperate product with lower production costs.
     
  9. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Why risk lowering their profits by manufacturing and releasing a set that wouldn't sell?

    They're not in the business of charity, manufacturing DVD sets at a loss just to make a few fans happy.
     
  10. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    "Why risk lowering their profits by manufacturing and releasing a set that wouldn't sell?
    They're not in the business of charity, manufacturing DVD sets at a loss just to make a few fans happy."

    God forbid they should do that. Not as if it were the fans that support their multi-billion dollar industry or anything. Simple solution: if xxxx dollars profit isn't enough, then let them sub-license out the shows just like the music industry does. There are thousands of CDs on the market that the majors would never put out because its not worth it to them. They license the music to labels like Taragon, Sundazed, Collectibles and Varese who operate on a much smaller profit margin and can therefore afford to sell small amounts. Or they form divisions like Sony Special Products to handle lesser acts and put out budget releases. Let me ask this, are shows that are laying dormant in vaults making them any money now or is it costing them money for storage and upkeep?
     
  11. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Obviously coming from someone who has never worked in a Government office[​IMG] .
     
  12. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Probably only pennies compared to spending $1 Million to compile, clean-up (unless it be declared crap upon release and boycotts urged), and manufacture a set that might only make back $500K.

    That's $500K in profits lost that could have been spent on other, higher profile projects with a better chance of return on investment.
     
  13. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    But there has to be a way to cut the cost of these sets.

    For example, columbia did this with Dawson's Creek by replacing music and making less discs. I for one would rather have the series like this than nothing at all...

    FOX spent a lot of money restoring MTM season 1, but haven't released future seasons.

    What about cutting the disc count, and not spending so much money on the restoration of the episodes. It's not perfect quality, but at least certain fans would be happier.
     
  14. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    "Take Mary Tyler Moore, the studio (Fox) announces all seven seasons for DVD, and the first season hits shelves and bombs."

    Wow, if this is true, sounds like the fans can have a little lawsuit on their hands. False advertising! Promised "all" seasons and don't deliver. I can see it now:

    I swear judge, I bought season 1 because I was promised ALL seasons of the show. I really wanted the Sue Ann Nivens episodes!

    GUILTY...Pay the plaintiff his Teddy Award!
     
  15. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    The studios could always make cutbacks elsewhere with, say, not spending $50 million on movies that can be made for half that.
     
  16. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    If its color shows then yes, the prints would be faded or red and they would have to spend for color correction. But what about black and white shows? There are many, many shows from the 50s and early 60s that fans would love to see whether or not they were remastered perfectly or not. I'm not saying they should just throw some old beat up 16mm print on disc but I'm sure they can find clean prints that don't require a ton of restoration. I've run literally thousands of 16mm prints of shows for my collection and some look better than others. Bottom line is I'm glad to have the shows even if they all are not Grade-A. And what about kinescopes? There's not much you can do with them anyway.
     
  17. Randy_Cre

    Randy_Cre Agent

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    Just a 'for what its worth'....

    I guess when it comes to collecting, I'm very much a 'completist' so its really disappointing to me when only a season, or maybe two of a show gets released. It's a little frustrating to get a 'taste' of a show you really love, because it makes you want further releases that much more.

    But....

    I think a lot of consumers these days are like me... I've got to make choices when it comes to which DVD(s) I buy right now. And being aware that sales of a 1st or 2nd season release will likely determine if the series gets released it is entirety, I factor that into my considerations when I decide which set to buy.

    So... While the Dick Van Dyke Show is definitely on my 'want' list, because I know ALL five seasons will be released, I've purchased some other sets recently because future releases for those shows have NOT been determined yet. So while I'm grateful Image is releasing the entire Dick Van Dyke Show, my money will be going to other companies in the short-term because I don't feel the urgency to buy DVDS.

    In short, letting fans know they'll be able to have the complete Dick Van Dyke Show series may generate some sales among people who want the ENTIRE series, it may reduce short-term sales by eliminating the sense of purchase urgency fans have about other series.
     
  18. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Carlos,


    I hope you realize that you took a hypothetical example of mine out of context and that Fox *didn't* announce all seven seasons of MTM before the release of the first one.

    The point was that if thye had done this and the show had still bombed they would be left with 6 other releases that would bomb just as well. It is known that a show sells in the same range throughout its run meaning that season 2 of a show will sell in the same range as season 1.
     
  19. Chris:L

    Chris:L Supporting Actor

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    I COMPLETELY AGREE!
     
  20. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    You're more likely to get an entire run out of a smaller studio than a larger one. Image and A&E will more than likely release the entire run of a series because they're happier making some money off the shows. Warner Bros has hundreds of shows they could release, so their stuff better be making money or else they won't continue with it.

    The studios owe us nothing. They release stuff because they think they can make gobs of money. If they don't make gobs of money off something then they'll look for a property that does.

    Gord
     

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