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Mary Tyler Moore S2 Likely In 2005


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#1 of 70 Randy A Salas

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Posted September 27 2004 - 07:46 AM

From Tuesday's edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (posted here with permission). Repostings MUST credit the Star Tribune.

Quote:
Where's 'Mary' on DVD?
Randy A. Salas, Star Tribune
September 28, 2004 MTMVAR0928

It looks as if Mary Richards might just make it after all on DVD.

On Sept. 24, 2002, Minneapolis' favorite fictional daughter made her digital debut with a fantastic first-season set of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." And then -- well, nothing.

Despite the TV show's classic status, the lavish four-disc set was a flop, selling a relatively meager 85,000 copies to date (see chart below).

"We were disappointed," said Peter Staddon, executive vice president of marketing at Fox Home Entertainment, which released the DVD. "We put a lot of effort into marketing and promoting it, so our costs were very high as well."

The rest of the series -- including a finished second-season set that was supposed to come out in March 2003 -- has been in limbo ever since.

But the image of Mary tossing her tam in downtown Minneapolis, circa 1970, could be back on DVD soon.

"We haven't got any definitive plans at the moment," Staddon cautioned, "but we're looking to do it sometime in 2005."

Thank "Lost in Space," another Fox TV property, for the resuscitation of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

The '60s sci-fi series also did worse than expected when its first season came out earlier this year in an eight-disc set that cost $79.98. So Fox came up with the idea of splitting its second season into two $39.98 volumes released 11 weeks apart.

The idea, Staddon said, was to get the cost down lower so that more people will be inclined to buy it as an impulse purchase."

Early returns on "Lost in Space: Season 2, Vol. 1," which came out Sept. 14, have been encouraging, Staddon said. (Vol. 2 is due Nov. 30.) Now, Fox is optimistic that the same plan might work for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

"When we do something like that, there are two things that are important," Staddon explained.

"The first is that you announce outright that you are going to release both halves of the season, so someone doesn't buy the first half of the season hoping that the other is going to be released; they know it's going to be released.

"The second thing is that if the full season goes for, say, $60, that you don't try and charge $40 for each half of the season, because then you're just gouging. You should charge $30 or less for each half of the season so it doesn't cost anyone more to own the complete season; it just makes each half of the season accessible to more people because the price point is lower."

What's not clear is what will happen to the supplements that were produced for the second-season set by Danny Gold and Matthew Asner, who also created the extras for the first-season set. Asner is the son of series star Ed Asner, who played Lou Grant and served as executive producer of the DVDs.

Gold had to think for a few moments last week just to recall what the second-season extras were.

"This was a few years ago!" he said by phone from his and Asner's Los Angeles office, Mod 3 Productions.

He said the extras include a new 40-minute documentary called "Eight Characters in Search of a Sitcom," commentary for selected episodes, a Mad magazine parody of the show from the 1970s, and a gallery of photos and script pages with original notes.

He said they also secured the rights to "a really cool thing": a 1970s WCCO-TV documentary about the making of the show's opening credits, which were filmed in locations around Minneapolis.

"We got wind of the fact that it was done when we interviewed [series producer and writer] David Davis," Gold said. "Matthew and I did this extensive research and located it. They didn't even know they had it, almost."

But will those extras be included if the second season comes out next year as planned?

"That's part of what we're looking at at the moment," Staddon said.

The number of discs in each set is one of the issues under discussion and, once determined, will affect how much room is left for the extras. The first-season set devoted three discs to the 24 episodes, some with commentary, and the fourth to supplements, including a 90-minute documentary.

"We hope that Fox can find a way to include these bonus features for the fans," Gold said. "It will really enhance 'The MTM Show' experience. Classic TV on DVD deserves inclusion of bonus material much like feature films get."

--------

First-season DVD sales
September 28, 2004 MTMVAR0928.BOX


Here are estimated sales figures (through August) for first-season DVD sets of classic TV shows akin to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

"One thing to keep in mind with these titles is that they tend to be evergreen," said Judith McCourt, research director of Video Store Magazine. "They will keep accumulating sales as time goes by. In essence, every time an episode airs, it serves as an advertisement for the series."
-- Randy A. Salas


TV show - release date - units sold

"M*A*S*H" (Fox, $39.98) - Jan. 8, 2002 - 550,000

"All in the Family" (Columbia TriStar, $39.95) - March 26, 2002 - 125,000

"Cheers" (Paramount, $49.99) - May 20, 2003 - 110,000

"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (Fox, $49.98) - Sept. 24, 2002 - 85,000

"Green Acres" (MGM, $29.98) - Jan. 13, 2004 - 80,000

"The Dick Van Dyke Show" (Image, $69.99) - Oct. 21, 2003 - 55,000

"The Monkees" (Rhino, $89.95) - May 13, 2003 - 31,000

Source: Video Store Magazine market research


Story links are here:
Article: http://www.startribu...59/5002250.html
Chart: http://www.startribu...59/4996324.html
Randy A. Salas
DVD Columnist & Feature Writer
Minneapolis Star Tribune daily newspaper

#2 of 70 Jaime_Weinman

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Posted September 27 2004 - 07:56 AM

Good news, but I'm a little confused -- does this mean they're actually considering splitting up MTM season 2 into two separate releases? Given that a whole season would fit on three discs, I don't see that as likely or necessary, but I'm not sure from the article.

I'm not the biggest M*A*S*H fan, but I have to say that its continued popularity is extraordinarily impressive -- I can't think of any other "classic" show that has the continued strength to sell as well as it has (outselling many, many current shows).

#3 of 70 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted September 27 2004 - 08:16 AM

Jaime, I was under the impression that they would consider at least releasing it in 2 parts, from the tone of the article anyway. Randy could probably clear that up, but it sounded to me like it was at least under consideration.

Wow, M*A*S*H season 1 is really hammering those other listed releases, but I can't say that surprises me all that much.

#4 of 70 Rob Gardiner

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Posted September 27 2004 - 08:48 AM

Woot!

That is the best news I've heard all day. Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image :P)

Re: splitting MTM S2 into 2 parts, from the above article:

Quote:
Early returns on "Lost in Space: Season 2, Vol. 1," which came out Sept. 14, have been encouraging, Staddon said. (Vol. 2 is due Nov. 30.) Now, Fox is optimistic that the same plan might work for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."


#5 of 70 Andrew Budgell

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Posted September 27 2004 - 08:57 AM

Thank God! I couldn't take not having my favourite show completely on DVD. I would definately buy this anyway it were to be released, and can't wait. I hope they opt to include the bonus material, because it sounds very comprehensive. But first and formost, I want the show.

Andy

#6 of 70 Jaime_Weinman

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Posted September 27 2004 - 09:10 AM

Ah. Okay, I missed that -- all that Englsh lit education and I still suck at reading. Posted Image

While I thought the splitting method made sense for Lost in Space because of the length of the season and the episodes, I still think it makes little sense for a half-hour show with only 24 episodes in a season. But hey, if that's what convinces them that it's safe to bring it out, then great.

With 12 episodes in each release, I guess they have the option of doing either a 2-disc set or a single disc with two sides (Fox is increasingly using the two-sided arrangement for shows like Reba and The Simple Life).

Now if only there were some equally simple and inexpensive solution to the WKRP in Cincinnati problem... Posted Image

#7 of 70 Randy A Salas

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Posted September 27 2004 - 09:27 AM

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While I thought the splitting method made sense for Lost in Space because of the length of the season and the episodes, I still think it makes little sense for a half-hour show with only 24 episodes in a season.

Splitting has nothing to do with the amount of material or its length. As Peter Staddon noted, it's about bringing the price down to make impulse purchases more likely for casual fans while at the same time not gouging hard-core fans who will buy it in any form. If two sets at, say, $25 each, rather than one set at $50 makes the show more viable for Fox, then hooray. Fans will get the show either way and at no extra expense.

Quote:
With 12 episodes in each release, I guess they have the option of doing either a 2-disc set or a single disc with two sides (Fox is increasingly using the two-sided arrangement for shows like Reba and The Simple Life).


The key here is that MTM S2 appears to be back on track, although the particulars are up in the air. The likely scenario does seem to be two 2-disc sets with 12 episodes each and the extras split evenly. But that's what Staddon said Fox is trying to figure out.

Quote:
Wow, M*A*S*H season 1 is really hammering those other listed releases, but I can't say that surprises me all that much.


Yes, M*A*S*H would appear to be the No. 1 classic TV show on DVD, according to these stats (something I hinted at in another thread last week). Those stats were compiled for the Star Tribune by Video Store Magazine, so it's certainly understandable if someone were to question their accuracy, coming from an outside source. I asked Peter to confirm them, even though Fox won't give out such figures itself. Funnily enough, he said the ones for M*A*S*H are "a little low, but in the ballpark." The ones for MTM, he said, were right. I have no reason to question any of the others.

It would be well to keep such sales figures in mind in many of the threads in this forum.
Randy A. Salas
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Minneapolis Star Tribune daily newspaper

#8 of 70 Jaime_Weinman

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Posted September 27 2004 - 09:34 AM

Quote:
If two sets at, say, $25 each, rather than one set at $50 makes the show more viable for Fox, then hooray. Fans will get the show either way and at no extra expense.

Agreed. My point was more that for a half-hour, normal-sized season there are ways to bring down the price without splitting, which don't apply to an hourlong show with long seasons, like Lost in Space. But of course just releasing a bare-bones 3-disc set of MTM Season 2 might not be enough to compensate for the money lost on season 1 and the money spent on the season 2 extras, so I can definitely see why they might have decided that the split-season method might work better (or at least lead more people to try the series).

#9 of 70 george kaplan

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Posted September 27 2004 - 09:38 AM

First of all, Thank God that the logic behind not releasing the rest of MTM wasn't applied to the Dick Van Dyke Show, or we'd never have the great set that we have. And while Mary might have had some nice extras, I find it hard to believe that it cost more than the extensive Dick Van Dyke sets. So my first question is that if Dick Van Dyke can make a profit with lesser sales and (presumably) as large or larger costs, then why the pessimism about MTM? I mean it's not like they even paid the royalties to get the shows uncut (i.e., the Christmas episode).

Having said that, as long as season 2 is uncensored, I'll buy it whether it's one or two packages. And if season 1 had been uncut, the sales figures for MTM would have been 85,001 with my purchase. Posted Image
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#10 of 70 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted September 27 2004 - 10:09 AM

Quote:
It would be well to keep such sales figures in mind in many of the threads in this forum.

Absolutely, couldn't agree more.

I didn't say this before, but I'm glad to hear that Fox is still trying with this show. Earlier this year, I took a lot of flack for still holding a positive attitude that something might yet still happen with the series, and it looks like my optimism will be rewarded.

I'll buy it in 2 parts, absolutely, and I hope its the 2 disc sets and not flippers.

I think one thing to consider with the Dick Van Dyke Show, and George's question is that the Dick Van Dyke show has only been out since October, and only Green Acres on that list has been out for a lesser amount of time of course with a much lower list price. So in my mind Dick Van Dyke isn't doing badly at all on DVD. Of course, I can't say confidently that image would agree with me.

#11 of 70 Paul McElligott

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Posted September 27 2004 - 10:11 AM

I'll bet sales for Season 1 will pick up once season 2 is officially announced.
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#12 of 70 Malcolm R

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Posted September 27 2004 - 10:42 AM

I still don't understand how they can sell two sets for the same price as one larger set and still make money. Additional manufacturing, additional packaging, additional shipping.
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#13 of 70 Randy A Salas

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Posted September 27 2004 - 10:57 AM

Quote:
First of all, Thank God that the logic behind not releasing the rest of MTM wasn't applied to the Dick Van Dyke Show, or we'd never have the great set that we have.


One thing to keep in mind with the Dick Van Dyke sets is that Image was contractually committed to doing the entire series on DVD before Season 1 was even released. Regardless, Image has been quite happy with its sales. Independent companies expect less--and price accordingly.
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#14 of 70 Paul McElligott

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Posted September 27 2004 - 10:59 AM

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I still don't understand how they can sell two sets for the same price as one larger set and still make money. Additional manufacturing, additional packaging, additional shipping.
Especially if a season fits on three discs.

Splitting the season means putting out four discs total.
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#15 of 70 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted September 27 2004 - 11:07 AM

Quote:
I still don't understand how they can sell two sets for the same price as one larger set and still make money. Additional manufacturing, additional packaging,
additional shipping.

I think this is the reasoning behind it. Selling 1 4 disc set for $50 might not result in a lot of impulse purchases. However, selling one 2 disc set for $25 will be more attractive to those people who might buy something on an impulse. Then in 3 or 4 months you roll out the second part, and you'll have all those people that bought season 1 and part 2 of season 2 buying the set, and possibly some of those who only bought part 1 of season 2 on an impulse will now stick with the series.

The money they think they'll make from those extra sales from making the price more attractive, is I guess what they think will off set the extra packaging and manufacturing costs.

#16 of 70 Randy A Salas

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Posted September 27 2004 - 11:14 AM

Quote:
Especially if a season fits on three discs.

Splitting the season means putting out four discs total.


This article largely addresses Season 2. As was noted, there are many, many extras that were produced for the second-season set. So it would essentially be equal in material to the first set--three discs' worth of episodes and a disc's worth of extras. That's four discs total--if it takes that form.

Future seasons will be another matter. But there's nothing keeping from Fox from, say, releasing a two-disc Volume 1 and a single-disc Volume 2 of a season. That might not happen, and I'm not saying it will. It's just as likely that Fox puts six episodes on a disc, and does two 2-disc sets that way, chucking all the extras. It's all conjecture.

Again, the main point is that Fox seems intent on restarting MTM on DVD in 2005 in some fashion. Peter Staddon was kind enough to confirm as much while at the same time "thinking aloud" for the record on how that might happen. That's really rare for a studio.

My reason for writing the article was that it was the two-year anniversary of the S1 release and that I continually get inquiries from readers about it. Obviously, being in Minneapolis, where the show was set, there's a big following for it here. We even have a statue of Mary tossing her tam at the same downtown spot where she did it in the series' opening credits. I had planned simply to say that Fox refused to comment after many calls to the studio went unreturned. All of the original comments from Danny Gold and Matthew Asner addressed that aspect. But Staddon came through at the last minute, and I rewrote the story, including getting new comments from Gold and Asner.

Incidentally, the article and chart have been picked up by Scripps Howard News Service, so they might appear in a newspaper near you.
Randy A. Salas
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Minneapolis Star Tribune daily newspaper

#17 of 70 MatthewA

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Posted September 27 2004 - 11:15 AM

85,000 sets sold?

At 50 bucks each, that should have meant a gross of about $4,250,000. How could the costs of season 1 been so great? Is there something else involved?

Enough is enough, Disney. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray.

 

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#18 of 70 MatthewA

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Posted September 27 2004 - 11:18 AM

And remember, it's possible that a lot of people were put off when they heard one of the episodes was edited.

Enough is enough, Disney. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray.

 

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#19 of 70 Steve...O

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Posted September 27 2004 - 11:33 AM

Quote:
At 50 bucks each, that should have meant a gross of about $4,250,000. How could the costs of season 1 been so great? Is there something else involved?


You're assuming all 50 bucks went to Fox. Far from it by the same the retailer, distributor, etc. get their cuts. Also, many sets were sold for less than $50. I saw some in Sam's for under $30.

Anyway, I'll go on record as stating I support split seasons if that what it takes to get S2 released.

I may strongly disagree with Fox on other issues, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. They are going out of their way to make this work, and I thank them for it.

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#20 of 70 CraigF

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Posted September 27 2004 - 11:50 AM

MTM season 1 is selling for about $16 at Wal-Mart around here...that ought to boost the sales! M*A*S*H S1 costs a little less. I wonder what they're doing with these prices (not that I'm complaining): trying to move "old" stock, or trying to figure out the ol' pricing structure vs sales number thing. If it's the latter, wish HBO would give it a try...


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