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Is the classic tv on dvd market being killed off?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Phyll, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Well-Known Member

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    My List has

    Gunsmoke and Mod Squad on 5/26
    Quincy on 6-2
    Perry Mason and Zane Grey on 6/9

    And thats about it.
     
  2. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Well-Known Member

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    Another factor affecting sales is the marketing budget that the studios have for classic/vintage releases. While some of the major studios may have some money for marketing purposes (I've certainly seen ads for classic shows on DVD from time-to-time on TVLand), I can't imagine that there's much in the way of marketing budgets for the independents who, it appears to me, have to rely mostly on A LOT of word-of-mouth to sell their releases (and G_d help them if the release is lacking in one or more of the factors that you mention in your post). Even with some of the larger independents like Image or Shout! Factory, when's the last time that you can recall seeing an ad for their classic/vintage TV-on-DVd releases? If they're lucky, they may be able to produce a trailer for the DVD which they can use to cross-sell their other titles (Shout! does a good job of this, by the way). The quick answer is spend more money on marketing the product but, in a tight economy, price does matter for all but the wealthy, and every additional dollar spent on promotion adds to the selling price of the product.

    It's really a shame that series are stalled after just a season or two, or that some great shows haven't been released at all but, for me, I've seen so much released over the last 7 to 8 years that I'm amazed, for if I were to go back about 10 years ago, I would never have imagined that I would be able to watch the entire runs of shows like "Combat!," "The Invaders," "M Squad," "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Wild Wild West," "The Outer Limits," "Rat Patrol" and many others. Like everyone else here, I'm always anxious to learn what other classic/vintage shows may make it to DVD, but while I'm waiting, there's really plenty of classic/vintage shows on DVD for me to savor.
     
  3. smithb

    smithb Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Bob, but unlike his many years of being involved with classic TV, I'm a relative newbie. I picked up the Avengers when originally released back in the late 90's. Then about two years ago I casually got into purchasing Rawhide and Gunsmoke. Then when looking for the Rifleman I happened upon this site. Now, 8 months later and about $1500 poorer, I have enough vintage TV on hand to watch nightly for at least two years straight.

    I have absolutely no clue where things are going to go from here. As mentioned, there are many factors involved. Two years ago, I never would have envisioned having a TV collection to rival my movie collection. Whether or not vintage TV shows carves a solid nitch for itself with DVD/BR sales or fizzles away, I'm just glad I came around soon enough to build out a collection while it is still available that I can enjoy for many years to come.
     
  4. Regulus

    Regulus Well-Known Member

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    In my case, I have enough Vintage TV on hand to last me to the 2020 Summer Olympics![​IMG]
     
  5. smithb

    smithb Well-Known Member

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    That is true, my guess would be that you have at least 5x more episodes then I and 14x more serial chapters. Hopeful, the majority of your purchases were spread out a bit more then mine. Otherwise, I would hate to see that Amex bill [​IMG]
     
  6. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Well-Known Member

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    I go along with Bob with his point that I'd never have guessed we'd see some of these shows released in complete-series sets. Adding to Bob's list, Dick Van Dyke Show, Get Smart, Land of the Giants, U.N.C.L.E., Honey West, Addams Family, The Munsters, Bewitched (almost done), I Dream Of Jeannie, Mission:Impossible, Secret Agent, Time Tunnel.

    I've been fairly fortunate since a few of my Grail shows have been completely released with Combat!, Dick Van Dyke, Time Tunnel, Secret Agent.

    I'm also surprised at what we've seen partially released....The Untouchables, Route 66, Wagon Train, Steve Canyon, The Rifleman, Rawhide, Room 222, Perry Mason, Naked City, Lassie, Father Knows Best, Donna Reed Show, Flipper, Adam-12, Big Valley, Black Sheep Squadron, Barney Miller, etc.

    On the other hand, there's no denying that the classic releases have really ramped down lately and Mike's post points out some very good reasons that shouldn't be overlooked. (ie, I didn't mention the Fugitive above since I don't consider those CBS/P relases to be proper ones due to the music edits).

    Gary, tell us how you really feel [​IMG] You know what I mean...I agree with your post. We all know how a basic business model works here but my guess is that we "vent" on this Bd occasionally because we continually see recent shows getting regular releases while a lot of our classics are locked in the vaults for various reasons, clearance issues, smaller customer base's, etc.

    Gary's point is a good one in that, just speaking for myself, I don't post on the recent-show threads at all since I don't have an interest in current & recent vintage shows. However, we have seen the reverse occasionally where the older classics get "blasted" by what appears to me to be fans of recent shows with no real interest in the classics.

    Jeff "After watching (Fugitive) Moonchild on my alt set, the CBS/P S2V2 is my backup copy" W.
     
  7. Gary OS

    Gary OS Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] Thanks Jeff. I figured you'd know exactly what I was talking about.

    In all seriousness, I almost never blow my top. At least I don't think I do. But when I read the same business model (as Jeff so aptly called it) spiel over and over and over every time we classic fans vent a little about slowdowns or stalls... I just had to say something about it this time.

    Michael and Bob are spot on with their comments as well. Of course the bottom line is the almighty dollar, but there are things that can also factor into poorer sales and they named the top suspects. But we can discuss this until the cows come home and never make any headway because it's easier to get company secrets from the Pentagon than it is from the studios. They take the phrase "tight lipped" to a whole new level, therefore no matter how much we mention lack of advertising (as one example) they'll always come back and tell us it's just not worth it to them and all we can do is grin and bear it because we don't have the figures and never will. They lock those secrets up tighter than Fort Knox so we'll never be able to know what's what as it concerns some of the things Michael and Bob mentioned.

    I don't care so much any more. There are some shows that are stalled right now that'd I dearly love to see completed ("LITB", "Rawhide" and "Big Valley" jump right to the forefront). But I've found some alternatives and I feel confident I can complete most of my most cherished series one way or another.

    Gary "great comments from several of you - glad I'm not alone in being disgusted by having to endure the same song and dance every time some of us just want to vent a little" O.
     
  8. Tina_H_V

    Tina_H_V Well-Known Member

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    Your posts here have been very well duly noted and right on, Gary. Thanks!!!!!! [​IMG]

    For my birthday coming up in a month-and-a-half from now...I have these classic TV titles on my to-get list:

    That Girl, 5th (and final) Season, out 5-5-2009
    The Mod Squad, Season Two, Volume Two, out 5-26-2009

    As for the latter...I have S2, V1...but have only watched one disc-full of shows (three episodes) in this particular collection as to not burn through the first 13 episodes of the 1969-1970 season while waiting for the other volume to drop.

    After my birthday, once I have the entire second season of The Mod Squad totally intact...then I shall begin to burn through Season Two in its glorious entirety!!!!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  9. jquirk

    jquirk Well-Known Member

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    There are some shows, such as the 60s anthology series "Thriller" with Boris Karloff, that really appear will never be released now because of the current trend. That's sad because "Thriller" was a great show.
     
  10. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Well-Known Member

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    It's just a crumb, but a single "Thriller" episode (The Return of Andrew Bentley) appears on Mill Creek's "Classic Sci-Fi TV" compilation of sci-fi TV shows and movie serials that are in the public domain. As is the case with most public domain releases, the episode is unrestored but watchable. As far as I know, "Andrew Bentley" is the only PD episode from "Thriller." I do hold out some hope that we might see "Thriller" eventually come to DVD, though I'd guess that the best chance is that it might get released by Timeless Media going the "let's assemble what we can get from collectors" route. "Thriller" is a Universal property and Timeless has released a number of the older Universal/Revue Studios shows by assembling episodes obtained from collectors. Universal also has some licensing arrangements with Shout! Factory (Ironside, McHale's Navy, Adam-12), Arts Alliance America (or whatever they're calling themselves today -- for Banacek) and even Mill Creek (for the Howdy Doody Show), so "Thriller" could end up being released by any of them . . . . I would be shocked, however, if Universal released it themselves.
     
  11. michael_ks

    michael_ks Well-Known Member

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    Bob and Jeff, you are right in that overall we've been fortunate to see so many releases to our favorite shows (and in my case, some new favorites came to the fore with this hobby). What is unfortunate and rather frustrating is that there are so few vintage series in my collection that are both complete and free of the issues I brought to light earlier.

    Examples:

    Rifleman - disappointing PQ/AQ, zero extras, expired contract
    Kung Fu - S1 AR at 16:9
    Route 66 - Edited, some poor quality prints, terrible packaging
    Fugitive - (Like I really need to explain this one)
    Rawhide - Abandoned? (otherwise great in all other respects!)
    Untouchables - S1 great, PQ problems and editing thereafter
    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea - half season sets, flipper discs
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents - flipper discs for S1 with too many crammed episodes
    Lost in Space - Horrid PQ for S2-3, split seasons
    Columbo - problematic flipper discs for S3
    Gomer Pyle - Edited
    Big Valley - Split season sets starting with S2, then abandoned
    Have Gun Will Travel - Abandoned
    Alias Smith and Jones - Bad packaging, abandoned
    Naked City - Expired contract?


    There are a few series I own that are complete and "unblemished" as it were, but there sure aren't many of them. But then I've been known to be rather picky.
     
  12. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Well-Known Member

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    There may be a ray of hope for "Have Gun Will Travel" as the CBS Syndication Bible indicates that season 4 is in process for an HD transfer.

    "This series has been partially transferred into HD and has the following masters:

    Network HD 4x3 (Season 4 only in progress.)"

    That's certainly not a guarantee that season 4 will be released, but it is an indicator that you may see it eventually.
     
  13. Gary OS

    Gary OS Well-Known Member

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    You're not being too picky, Michael. You're correct on all those examples. I'd add that with HGWT there's some A/V issues as well. Most people are just content to look at the glass half full rather than half empty. Nevertheless, there have been quite a few issues with many of my Vintage favorites. It's not just about slowdowns or stalls. I could personally add:

    FKB - 1st Season set used syndicated prints
    Odd Couple - music edits
    My Three Sons - same as Fugitive
    Ozzie & Harriet (Shout's sets) - syndicated prints
    Quincy - double-sided discs

    Gary "on the plus side, there have been some faves of mine that were completed and came out beautifully - DVDS, TAGS, ILL, Daniel Boone and others" O.
     
  14. Gary OS

    Gary OS Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely, Bob. If I were a betting man I'd say we'll see Season 4 sooner rather than later. In fact I feel good about most everything the Syndication Bible says is being transferred.

    Gary "there's always some ray of light we can look to with this hobby" O.
     
  15. mannix

    mannix Well-Known Member

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    I sure hope not
     
  16. michael_ks

    michael_ks Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the episodes can be rather inconsistent and one episode in particular (S2's "Death of a Gunfighter") is nearly impossible to watch. PQ ironically degrades overall somewhat with each season release. Hopefully if S4 comes out, we'll see something along the lines of "Rawhide" for PQ.
     
  17. Gary OS

    Gary OS Well-Known Member

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    Just so I'm not misunderstood. When I say I think we will see HGWT "sooner rather than later" I'm not suggesting a release is imminent. After a several year layoff on these I'd consider early 2010 to be sooner more so than later.

    Gary "if CBS/P are transferring any show to HD, I think it's a solid bet they won't sit on it" O.
     
  18. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Well-Known Member

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    Hear, hear, Gary! I get sick and tired of these "It's a business, you morons" kind of posts as well. We all know how the world works, and what makes it go round. Doesn't mean we have to like it, though...

    While I am somewhat concerned about the drop-off in classic TV releases, it IS possible that it's only a temporary blip in the scheme of things. When (if?) the economy gets back in the groove, there may at least a decent chance that studios will ramp back up in their release patterns.

    I agree that we may be looking more at digital downloads and burn-to-order "WB Archive" sort of strategies over the typical (and much-cherished) seasons sets we've grown accustomed to.

    And finally, speaking only for me personally, this TV-on-DVD drought will give me a chance to catch up on older releases I haven't yet had the chance (or extra cash) to add to my collection. Frankly, for a while there, it was getting kind of overwhelming...
     
  19. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely! I sometimes wonder if that, too, has contributed to the current drought. Like you, there was a point where I felt overwhelmed at the volume of classic TV releases I wanted to collect, and was forced to guess what would go OOP sooner rather than later when making purchases. At one point there was 3-4 times the amount of sets being released quarterly I wanted to collect than I could afford. I'd just purchase my favorites hoping the rest would still be in print when I finally managed to get around to them. A couple (Farscape, most noteably) I managed to complete just as they were going OOP, sometimes beating the OOP/OOS situation by hours.

    But... even though I'm glad for the oportunity to be able to catch up a little, it's a bit disheartening to look at the release schedule and not see much in the way of classic TV.
     
  20. Elena S

    Elena S Well-Known Member

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    The biggest reason classic shows on DVD aren't selling as well as new releases is because they get ZERO publicity and are almost never stocked in stores. How are people supposed to even know they're available if it's not publicized and not available in stores for purchase? I happen to know A LOT of people who don't even own computers. Hard to believe, but true. These people would be so excited to be able to walk into a store and buy their favorite shows.

    I don't know who is responsible for this travesty, but if the studios aren't pushing for these releases to be stocked in stores they are cutting their own throats.
     

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