Scorpion Releasing to Limit Blu-Ray Titles

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ethan Riley, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Scorpion Releasing issued an interesting statement on its Facebook page:


    https://www.facebook.com/scorpionreleasinginfo

    "Due to the dismal BluRay sales (most selling 600 or less) of the titles that had been out before numerous times on DVD, and the fact that the DVDs of some of these BluRay titles sold much better (DEATHSHIP, TOMBOY to name a few) , Any titles falling into this category, I will only press 1,000 (1,200 on the more popular ones) BluRays and sell them as limited editions.

    Now, since I don’t have an outlet to sell direct yet, these new Limited Edition Blu-Rays will be sold by Code Red on their website, as he seems to have found a much more successful mode for selling catalog BluRays than I have selling them through retail outfits. (now I can see why Twilight Time went with this business approach)"

    I didn't copy his entire post because I think you should click on the link and see for yourself. But I think it's very interesting for a topic of discussion. He seems to imply that dvds are still the better bet in terms of getting product into stores. Now, just last week I made a (rare) visit to the local Wal-Mart and encountered a paucity of Blu-ray titles. Not only that, but as far as cardboard displays and other promotions, it seemed like Wal-Mart was really pushing for DVD sales and that the Blus were treated as back-burner items. I mean, it's almost like, to them, that Blu-rays barely exist.

    Now Scorpion has been supplying us with a lot of late night 1980s HBO fodder, schlock, camp (and even the occcasional A-list title). You say you either love them or hate them, but everyone has at least one guilty pleasure among Scorpion's back catalog. I don't expect most of these to sell in huge quantities, but it's saying something when stuff with a good-sized fan base can't even shift much more than 1,000 units.

    I'm glad he's going the direct route, really. At this point, I'm saying to hell with Wal-Mart; all they were trying to sell was Frozen and a bunch of re-issued tv shows that we've all owned for the past ten years. If Scorpion wants to join TT in direct sales, that's fine with me; I'll be buying.
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Unfortunately, the "direct route" seems to be going through Bill at Code Red, with whom I've had a disastrous experience in the past. Hopefully he can sell his product through DiabolikDVD as well.
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    That's a frightening commentary on the state of physical media.

    I'll definitely pick up Grizzly when it comes out.
     
  4. McCrutchy

    McCrutchy Second Unit

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    I don't think this has nearly as much to do with declining sales as people think it does.

    I love movies, and I've collected them for years, but I hadn't heard of either Scorpion Releasing or Code Red DVD until a couple of years ago, when I was already well into a largely strict policy of Blu-ray-only purchases.

    And let's be frank, the reason they get the movies they get is because the majors don't want them, and outside of a handful of titles, you would either have to be a die-hard fan of the cast, crew and/or genre(s) to even know of a film they licensed. Most of the people who saw these films in the cinema were adults in the 70s and 80s, and I can guarantee you that a lot of them wouldn't know how to find Scorpion or Code Red titles if they came up and bit (stung?) them in the face.

    I like buying these titles every once in a while, and I love and wholly support the idea of the labels moving to Blu-ray, but the bottom line is, if you can't get this kind of product advertised, and into stores, then you won't move units as needed. As usual, DVD is in the way. I had always assumed that their BD runs were limited to begin with.

    I hope they have more success now.
     
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  5. dana martin

    dana martin Cinematographer

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    picked up some of the crown international titles, and damn if they didn't look better that I had hoped, so if this is the business model they have to take I will continue to support them, just wish The Dain Curse would have been released on blu
     
  6. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    This has been making some people nervous but frankly I don't see a reason to worry. As someone suggested above, these movies have very limited appeal. Some do well, others tank - it's the way it works. Scorpion said they were limiting the number of units produced, not cutting off releasing titles on BD entirely - they will still release them, just not in large quantities, which makes total business sense. The part of getting them into stores, well, that just isn't a reality anymore in 2014. There aren't any stores that specialize in selling home video - Best Buy is cutting back floor space for movies and only carrying the latest titles. Besides them and Target there just aren't any outlets for physical media these days. Besides, shopping is a lot more fun (and convenient) if done online. I hate scrambling for stuff in a store - many times everything is sold out by the time I get there - and this is on street date!. The last big independent shop in my area that had a good selection was J&R and they just closed up shop, which doesn't surprise me. They had a pathetic selection and unusually high prices for Blu-rays in the months leading to their shuttering. I got most of my shopping done online anyway so I don't miss the B&Ms tbh. I accept this as reality - forget about selling retail. Stores aren't only NOT interested but they just don't have the space. It works for me.
     
  7. davidHartzog

    davidHartzog Cinematographer
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    I buy most of my BDs and DVDs online because its cheaper and because they simply are not available at b&ms.
     
  8. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    It is alarming, for the simple fact that Scorpion Releasing is talking about the relative difference in the sales of their own titles between the Blu-ray and DVD version. They're not saying that their Blu-rays sell poorly compared to general studio releases on Blu, or when sold online only compared to being sold in B&M stores. They're saying that their Blu-ray sales don't even meet their own expectations based on how many copies of the same title they sold on DVD.

    So it is irrelevant that Scorpion and their movies have limited appeal. The key point is that, as they note, "the DVDs of some of these BluRay [sic] titles sold much better". This is also reflected in a statement I often quote from Warners, which is that 80% of their catalog disc sales are on DVD. It is quite clear that the vast majority of people buy DVD, not Blu-ray, at least when it comes anything but the biggest blockbuster recent releases. The outlet and the title itself is not the key issue.

    As Scorpion goes on to point out, this tends to reinforce the decision by companies like Twilight Time and Koch media in Germany to deliberately restrict the number of copies they print of Blu-ray titles, and label them clearly as "Limited Edition" in order to manage customer expectations.
     
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  9. McCrutchy

    McCrutchy Second Unit

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    Well there are some other factors to consider here.

    1. A routine complaint trotted out by some supporters of these labels is that Blu-ray "ruins" the "grindhouse" effect they feel these movies "should" have. As ridiculous as this sounds, there are a number of people who feel this way, and simply refuse to buy schlock on Blu-ray.

    2. Again, dealing with the obscurity of these films, and dealing with the relative age of most of their buyers, a lot of consumers must have been blind buying these titles on DVD. Well, these films ain't exactly classics, and I doubt anyone wants to re-buy something they did not enjoy, or thought was mediocre, on Blu-ray.

    The Limited Edition tactic simply creates an artificial demand, which is why it works for almost anything.
     
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  10. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    You're making assumptions with no real evidence. I'm fairly sure that Scorpion would know its customers and their behavior fairly well, and again, would be able to estimate how many Blus they could sell. The fact that sales don't meet even their modest expectations is not a good sign.The limited edition strategy is about managing customer expectations, not "artificial demand" - what the heck does that mean anyway? Either someone wants something, or they don't. By letting people know from the get-go that something is in limited supply, they are giving customers more information on which they can make a decision. Specifically, the customer knows not to wait for discounts, and to buy as soon as possible before copies run out.In theory, everything is limited in supply, nothing can be infinitely produced. In this case, the producer is simply stating up front that they are limiting their risk by producing a certain number of copies.
     
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  11. jcroy

    jcroy Screenwriter

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    If artificial demand is what I suspect it means (ie. inducing people to buy something they otherwise wouldn't buy), then such a marketing strategy would probably only really work on the compulsive "completionists" type of hardcore customers. I don't know how many people would be compulsive completionist types, when it comes to buying blurays.
     
  12. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    If that's what he means, it's not artificial, it's just called "generating demand", and companies do this in many ways, such as with advertising. Why someone buys something is a personal choice. If someone is silly enough to buy something they otherwise don't want, just because it's now labelled a limited edition, doesn't make the sale any less valid.
     
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  13. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Especially when if a studio's catalog titles don't sell to their expectations, they probably won't take the alternate route that Scorpion is going (limited edition and online exclusives). They're far more likely to just stop or severely cut back on releasing catalog titles all together.
     
  14. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I can see people spending $5 for grind house schlock films on DVD as a blind purchase; Scorpion's clearly concerned with the core fan base who do want them on blu. Such fans don't care about Walmart...truly. I think a more concentrated sales model will suit these titles just fine.
     
  15. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    Are people suggesting that labeling something as a "Limited Edition" is a gimmick used by independent labels to artificially increase sales? Or a scare tactic?
     
  16. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Both! And it works.Times are scary for collectors of the physical format. There is every indication that at some point we won't be able to collect our favorite movies on disc anymore. until then, I'm thrilled to buy from the independent companies. As long as we can get what we want, we should support them.
     
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  17. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I guess it depends on your definition of 'gimmick'. I would only call it a gimmick if they went back and made some more after the initial stated number but I do think the limited edition model definitely boosts sales because it creates the "If you miss it, it's gone!"-mentality. If that wasn't the case then Christine wouldn't have sold 3,000 copies in six hours.

    And for what it's worth, I'm not knocking independents going with the limited edition because anything that helps catalog titles sell and keeps the smaller guys in business is OK by me.
     
  18. Jari K

    Jari K Producer

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    I think this issue is two-folded. Some companies feel that they have to release a fewer copies of these discs, because they don't sell well enough. If it really comes to that, what can I say. I'm just a customer and all that.But marketing these releases as "limited editions" and "hurry! Only xx left!" is mainly there to boost sales. And personally I don't like this PR side of the limited edition business. If the companies talk more about the "numbers" than the actual releases, something is wrong.
     
  19. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    But does limited edition marketing boost sales, or just make people buy sooner? Are there really people out there who are saying to themselves "I wouldn't normally buy this movie on Blu-ray, but since it's going to sell out soon, I will now!" Is that what people are arguing in this thread?
     
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  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I can only speak for myself but I don't know if I ever would have bought The Fury if it wasn't limited but I cracked when I saw it was almost sold out and bought one. I like the movie and don't regret the purchase but if it had come out through Fox, I probably wouldn't have never gotten around to buying it. That being said, I've never bought a movie that I don't like or have never seen because there was only 3,000 of them.
     

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