Should the Major Studios Just Give Up?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ethan Riley, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. RoryR

    RoryR Stunt Coordinator

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    What I hate is the guarded 'enthuasism' on certain shows. Home Improvement, clearly doing well otherwise Disney wouldn't tout it as a fan favourite or continue the show YET they still release crappy sets - Bonus Features are terrible, 26 episodes on 3 discs (Season 4) left the quality low and they're content to release it in a pretty shoddy form. Same with Paramount and Cheers/Frasier.
     
  2. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    No we didn't. We saw 7 minutes of a network logo followed by 5 minutes of commercials [​IMG]
     
  3. JonathanBB

    JonathanBB Stunt Coordinator

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    Do the actors get paid for recording special features? Hell, I bet Bettty White would have recorded a couple of commentary tracks on MTM Season 4.
     
  4. Katherine_K

    Katherine_K Second Unit

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    Sometimes they are, but often they aren't. Stargate i know doesn't pay for their commentary tracks.
     
  5. Mike*SC

    Mike*SC Second Unit

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    It is very, very rare for an actor to be paid for commentary. The "Seinfeld" cast is a famous exception -- they held out until they got paid.
     
  6. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    But if that's all you have to say, then you completely missed the point of the original post. What I was saying, was that if the major studios do not have the drive to put out these shows in a way that's profitable, then they should give the work to somebody else. I was saying that it's increasingly clear that the major studios certainly know how to market a new, hot show on dvd because it's so EASY. Those shows are on the cover of magazines every week and people are talking about them. When it comes to an older show, there's a lot more marketing to do, and a lot more care involved with the dvd. And I was saying that Anchor Bay, for one, knows how to do it. If not, then how the hell are we already up to season 6 of 3's Company in two years? How else are they selling 3rd Rock From the Sun so easily? It's because they know how to market older shows to the people who want them. The major studios have a tougher time with that. That's all I'm saying. If the major studios are "capitalists, not hobbyists," then you prove my point. The Anchor Bay guys are hobbyists and know how to market this older material, because they love it as much as the fans. Either the studios need to do more licensing of this stuff, or they need to develop in-house sub-labels that are more knowledgeable about the older material and are more focused on the marketing end.
     
  7. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    In addition, the studios are set up where different department bill other departments for work. So if for instance Warner wants to get a film transferred from 35mm, that department will charge them something outrageous like $7000. With that kind of accounting, of course they can't show a profit. Meanwhile, if you went to an outside post house you could probably run off a whole season for that. Universal I believe also has that kind of a system set up.
     
  8. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Ethan,
    you are exactly right about everything. Will we ever see more seasons of Mork and Mindy, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Quincy, Hart to Hart, Hardy boys/Nancy Drew? I doubt it. But if Anchor Bay, or Lionsgate had the rights to release these shows they would be released like clockwork.

    Shows that are being released, or already out on dvd that big studios wouldn't touch in a million years: Alf, Silk Stalkings, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Greatest American Hero, Highway to Heaven, Moonlighting, Crime Story, etc.

    Universal did something great earlier this year, they released 2 80's shows that I'd almost forgotten about but enjoyed watching long ago. Charles in Charge, and Gimme a Break. I think this will be the true test of somewhat obscure 80's shows meets the non forgiving big studio machine. Of course sales matter too. Time will tell.
     
  9. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    There are drawbacks to having the smaller companies do shows on DVD...

    I won't remind everyone about the mastering problem with "The Dead Zone" Season 3 last year. Lion's Gate really botched that.

    I won't remind everyone about the fact that Shout Factory gave us syndication cuts of the first season of "The Cosby Show" last year.

    Sure...the bigger studios aren't perfect, either.

    I still think the big issue is finding audiences to buy the product.

    TV Shows are different than movies. I know a considerable number of people who think it is dumb to buy a TV show. Personally, I live for TV on DVD, but some people think I'm misguided.
     
  10. RoryR

    RoryR Stunt Coordinator

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    Carsey Werner in their greatness screwed up their DVD's - they sent sydnicated prints. Strangely, the UK releases of 3rd Rock that were years old seem untouched - full James Earl Jones intro and all.
     
  11. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Amen, brother! lol
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    It was not Shout! Factory who released Cosby Show; it was Urbanworks, and the fact that season 1 was made up of syndication cuts was largely Carsey Werner's fault.
     
  13. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Ethan, I too want to add an "Amen" to your posts in this thread. You are dead on with them! I for one am sick of seeing all these current shows released that people can still see on air during their first run, while many great classics still linger in the faults because the studios either think they aren't going to be profitable or simply have no clue how to market them. God forbid they'd put out a b&w tv show - who would buy that [insert sarcastic eye roll here].

    Gary "Image has been another studio that's done great work - just look at the 'Dick Van Dyke Show' as one of many examples" O.
     
  14. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Great idea about the liscencing to other players to get the older series released. Also, the job Image did with the Twilight Zone Def Edition was fantastic. Combat! as well, even though I'd get a debate on that one (time-compression issue). But they're not cut eps. Menus, Extras, design, all A+ IMO on Combat!.

    Jeff "Using a Gary OS signature by permission....let's see other distributors pick up the older series" W.
     
  15. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    As businessmen ( and women! ), why would the studios want to license out assets to competitors who will then compete with said studios for consumer dollars and shelf space ? The DVD market has stopped growing and it's a jungle out there right now getting titles on shelves.

    One thing people don't realize is just how difficult it is for studios to convince retailers to stock lesser-known and obscure titles that may not fly off the shelf on release day. Retailers have a certain budget available to purchase stock and divide it up among the various titles available in a given week. They want to invest in titles that are going to sell and return their money. A buyer is not going to stock up on Season 2 of a title that didn't move a lot of units of Season 1. They are not hobbyists for the most part and few of them have any real knowledge of classic or catalogue product.

    I am sympathetic to the fans whose shows have stalled ; I never thought I would see the 2nd season of my favorite show after Season 1 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show reportedly underperformed. But, I also have friends in the business who assure me that sales on a surprising number of titles are really poor, with no correlation to quality or genre.

    One friend suggests that TV on DVD has actually hurt their sales in some ways, as a customer who purchases a set with 10- 20 hours of programming is going to take a lot longer to get through their purchase and return to buy something new to watch.
     
  16. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    One thing I've noticed lately is how the Best Buys that I've been to here in L.A. (there are 4 that I check in on regularly) have cut WAY back on the older titles they carry on the shelves, while carrying MORE copies of the current shows. Some older series I used to see there aren't stocked at all anymore, but they have 45 copies of "The Dog Whisperer." I can't say if this is the trend at all B&M stores, as most of my purchases are online, but it does imply a trend in the market about the sales of the older titles. Very sad, indeed.
     
  17. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    My apologies. Sorry about that!

    Carsey Werner (from what we have learned) has also been responsible for releasing sets with syndicated cuts of other TV properties they produced.

    Once again, sorry for the mistake on my part.
     
  18. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    I've never bought a set in a store so I wouldn't know a thing about stocking issues. Amazon and Deep Discount have every title at my fingertips and there's no tax so I can't see any reason to buy it retail in a store. Besides, I have better things to do with my free time than go fight traffic and stand in line for a cashier. I may be a dinosaur but shopping in stores is too 70s, even for me.
     
  19. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    Michael's comment makes me think that there will be hope in the future when the business model for video evolves to downloading. Studios will be able to offer their shows without the difficulties in securing retail space , no unsold inventory returned, and no physical duplication, shipping or storage costs.
     
  20. RoryR

    RoryR Stunt Coordinator

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    I fear the day when I'm downloading a DVD. I'd still rather puchase it from DVDPlanet.com or Amazon, I just wish we had a day were sales online mattered - and they were less interested in Walmart.
     

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