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Burn On-Demand at amazon - Is this becoming bigger?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Robert13, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. Robert13

    Robert13 Second Unit

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    I just noticed they have Charlie Rose dvds as part of amazon's burn on-demand selection. While I'm not a fan, it made me wonder...is this the new way of getting some old programs. I mean, there are over 20 pages of Charlie Rose dvds now (may be more but I stopped clicking after 20). I wonder if this is how Sony's back catalog will be treated when the deal comes together.

    Also made me curious as to how this is being contracted. Amazon is the only on-line store I've heard of that is doing this burn on-demand thing. Are these exclusive contracts with amazon? Is amazon soliciting studios to join in this new format or are companies going to amazon? Just food for thought. It will be interesting to see how this format grows.
     
  2. Carabimero

    Carabimero Screenwriter

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    I hope this works because it could make less bankable properties available. Still don't see how they work around mastering costs, etc. PODing a book costs practically nothing; a DVD has to be authored whether you sell 1 or 1,000,000.
     
  3. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    They aren't saving authoring or mastering costs at all.

    They're saving some money on packaging and shipping, but the place where it is MOST attractive to studios is returns.

    It's essentially a 1-way sale and that is HUGE. The biggest thing facing every studio (big or small) right now is returns. The smaller studios may have hundreds of thousands of pieces of excess inventory, some of the majors have literally billions of discs in their warehouses.

    It looks great on your books and to your Board of Directors if you have an initial shipment of 250,000 units of a TV show. It doesn't look so good when you've scanned 30,000 after a year and 150,000 units come back to you.
     
  4. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    David, I have to believe what you're saying is very true. I was in a Big Lots earlier this week and the complete season 1, 3-DVD set of the Tony Danza sitcom "Who's the Boss?" was selling for $3.00 . . . . new and unopened.
     
  5. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    Absolutely. Big Lots has become the "studios landfill" for dumping overstock. You regular see things like HBO's series The Comeback, the 3 disc versions of Hellboy and Panic Room, along with tons of other recent DVD releases.

    It's a case of the studios losing money, but at least they get something, and it takes an item out of inventory.
     
  6. RichieMagoo

    RichieMagoo Stunt Coordinator

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    That's likely because nobody's going to pay retail for a show of which they've only released one season, with no future seasons in sight. I'm going to stop at the local Big Lots and swee if they have Who's The Boss- I had always refrained from buying it because I do not want a copllection of only season 1's of 1000 shows, which the studiosw never complete...but for three bucks, I'll do 'er!

    This kind of behavior is just another example of the poor business decisions and poor marketing strategies that are killing so many businesses and industries. The fact that they have so may returns should be ample proof that they are not pleasing their customers/potential customers. But do they respond to this stimuli? No! They want to dictate to the marketplace, rather than listen to it- and they are paying the price for that behavior.
     
  7. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    But we're talking "Who's The Boss." I don't know too many folks aching to own all 8 seasons. Certain shows have a cult audience that is eager to own the complete series. While others might have had high ratings, but people seem more content saying, "Do you remember this show?" without asking "I really want to see...."

    With Netflix's Watch Now being part of the features on some Blu-ray players, it's easy to see that this will be the way to see these shows. That's the new TVLand.
     
  8. RichieMagoo

    RichieMagoo Stunt Coordinator

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    Good point, Corey3rd. While I would like to see some Who's The Boss again, I surely wouldn't buy the whole series (unless it was really cheap)- but even with a series like that, I'd like to be able to pick and choose which seasons I could own. And ya never know...it's been so long since I've seen the show- it was watchable in syndication in the early 80's (last time I saw it) but who knows? Maybe I'd get S1 and like it so much now, that I would want the rest of the series.

    Classic TV is funny that way- stuff that we sometimes have fond memories of...doesn't look as good now as it did when we were 16 or 22....and stuff that was just mediocre then, that we may just want to see for nostalgic value today, suddenly becomes "great" when we see it today.

    Jujst another reason why Burn-On-Demand is a great idea- if they give us a full library to choose from.
     
  9. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    But there are no future seasons in sight because no one bought the first season.

    It has nothing to do with how it was handled by the studio - it only makes sense to put out S1 and see if there is a market for it before prepping S2. If Seinfeld or Family Guy or 24's first seasons wouldn't have sold well, we wouldn't have seen second seasons for them either.

    The thing is there isn't enough of a market for many shows, and you can't throw good money after bad hoping that people will suddenly start buying something they initially didn't want just because you are supporting it as a studio.

    Putting out a TV show is an expensive proposition and it's really easy to get burned. We've done it. We've had shows where we've profited very well (He-Man) and shows where we actually put out the final volume knowing it was going to lose money (Bravestarr). Sometimes you can do that for the fans, but you can't make a habit of it or you won't be doing anything at all.

    The whole "Burn on Demand" thing may just be the thing that keeps shows with smaller buying fanbases available to those people. Now, it won't fix problems like music replacement, but it's a MUCH, MUCH smaller gamble for the studio to do it this way than a full scale retail release.
     
  10. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    This is an OUTSTANDING point.

    Every TV show has a sales drop off from season to season - usually between 25 and 50% depending on how popular the show is. Some recent shows have a much smaller drop (LOST, The Shield, Simpsons, etc.).

    But classic TV shows can have a MUCH bigger drop. There are a lot of "nostalgia buyers" who buy S1 and decide either, it's not nearly as good as they remember it, or they still like it, but decide one box set is enough to "scratch their itch".
     
  11. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Keep in mind that first seasons are usually pretty bad compared to the rest of the show. And when Sony throws 50 shows to the wall hoping one of them will stick while doing no promotion whatsoever, you've got a recipe for disaster. Also keep in mind that some people now refuse to buy S1 until they're sure S2 will come out, and people are now feeling ripped off by having to buy complete sets with bonuses unavailable elsewhere.

    Even though I never liked Who's The Boss and would not buy any seasons at any price, it was a top 10 series for many years. But this was another instance where Sony did no promotion, no extras, and little effort into the production of the release, and expected to make money.
     
  12. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    True. But it is proving to have very little affect on sales. Take Charles in Charge for example. A nearly complete recast of the supporting characters after S1 (including adding Nicole Eggert), yet while S1 bombed, S2 bombed spectacularly - losing 65% of the audience that bought S1. And very few people buy a 2nd or 3rd season of a show if they didn't buy the previous ones.

    Promotion would probably help, but advertising is VERY expensive. TV spots are out of the question for most shows, magazine ads can help, but readership is way down. Best Buy and Target circulars are both expensive AND risky. First, they cost a fortune to appear in them, and second, the retailers will order a high number of anything that is advertised - that can lead to BIG returns.
     
  13. RichieMagoo

    RichieMagoo Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd love to be able to see actual sales stats for various shows.

    If what you say is true (and it certainly would seem like the most logical explanation), then conversely, shows that sold well enough to warrant multiple seasons, should have subsequent seasons released...but this is often not the case- e.g All In The Family and Taxi.

    If AITF sold well enough to warrant 6 seasons (and was one of the highest-rated and well-known shows ever), you'd think it'd be a given to continue with the final 3 seasons- but it's been two years...and not a peep from the studios. It's been even longer for Taxi- which has 2 seasons to go.

    Debacles like this have made me refrain from purchasing just season 1 or 2 of any release. I don't think that I'm alone, either; I think such behavior has left a bad taste in the mouth of all classic TV fans.

    MatthewA makes a great point, too, about the first seasons usually being stinko, too.
     
  14. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I still say this is the best way to release shows that may not be huge sellers. By doing this the studios save where they get killed when a show doesn't sell....Excess inventory. They can master a show. Then produce only what will sell. Thus saving them the expense of having tens of thousands of units that they have to sell at a loss.
     
  15. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    Warner Bros is pushing this for the Peanuts specials in the "You're Not Elected Charlie Brown" DVD...
     
  16. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    Unfortunately, the points you and David Levine have made are reality.
     
  17. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    How Sony does its releases is beyond a mystery.

    All in the Family Season 6 came out Feb 2007. They took 3 years between Partridge Family sets.
     
  18. Robert13

    Robert13 Second Unit

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    Great points and comments made. Didn't know the thread would start such a debate. Anyhow, I spoke with Ed in the tv department over at Sony and he said they are working at making episodes available to purchase online in the future. He didn't say seasons though. He said "you'll be able to go on and purchase a bunch of episodes" but also noted it wouldn't happen in the next 6months. So it is apparently a work in progress right now. But it seems others have been working on it already since some titles are already available on amazon. So if they want to be the first major studio to capitalize on this idea, it would benefit them to get it in action soon, I think.
     
  19. RichieMagoo

    RichieMagoo Stunt Coordinator

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    My fear is that they will do with TV shows what they do with music: Only the newest and/or most popular stuff gets put out for net distribution....and the less popular stuff is relegated to P2P filesharing or buying the CD (But at least with music, almost everything is available on CD- with TV...it's another story).

    If the studios are not listening to their customers as far as DVD releases...I have little faith that they will act any better when it comes to BOD).
     
  20. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    But the studios are listening to the customers. If you buy it, they'll put out more. If you don't buy it, they stop.

    And that translates to which shows are next on the slate: The studios picks shows that they feel have the best chance to sell based on what comparable titles have done.
     

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