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SEX AND THE CITY "Premium Release"


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#1 of 55 OFFLINE   Andrew Budgell

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Posted February 17 2005 - 05:15 PM

Sex and the City - HBO plans super-premium release
Posted by Gord Lacey
2/17/2005


David Bianculli at the New York Daily News has some very, very interesting news for fans of Sex and the City. Here's the quote taken from the article:
Rhea said HBO is planning a "super-premium" set of "Sex and the City" to hit stores before Christmas.

"I think there is absolutely a super-premium collector's market," she said about "Sex and the City."

Though all seasons have been released in separate installments, Rhea said the complete collection, including additional content and DVD extras not available on the originals, is being developed with "an eye for the collector," including new disc art and lavish packaging.

"It'll be kind of showpiece that you might want to own and preserve, and not use as your everyday set," Rhea said. "I guess it would be kind of like the good china. Or the good shoes."


Gord's Editorial: Wait...hold on...HBO is putting together a super-premium collector's set for a series that already carries an SRP of $339.92?? I think this will either be a huge success for HBO, or a colossal failure. Here's why:

Sex and The City was HBO's first season set, released back in May, 2000. It's been available on DVD for nearly 5 years, giving people who like the show more than ample time to start buying it. They've also bundled the various seasons together, making it easy for someone to order all the currently released sets at one time, though not with any special packaging. I have friends, all female, that were excited to "finally" finish their Sex and the City collection when Season 6, Part 2 was released in December. They've already forked over a significant amount of money to collect the series on DVD, and I doubt any of them will be interested in buying a "super-premium" set.

This leads me to another issue; the cost of the new set. HBO simply can't win in this situation. If they price it too high then people that own the current sets won't justify spending the money, and won't buy it. If they price it too low then people that own the current sets are upset because they've spent money collecting the sets, but now there's something better and cheaper than what they own.

Movie-on-DVD buyers have faced the "Collector's Edition" upgrade choice for years, but this is fairly new for a TV-on-DVD. We've only seen a few instances of upgraded TV show sets, but they've been a bit different from what HBO is proposing for Sex and the City. An obvious example is Star Trek (the original series), which was released in 2-episode-per-disc volumes starting back in 1999, and was recently re-issued as season sets complete with extras. So Paramount reconfigured their releases from single-volumes to season sets, and included extras. Image Entertainment did a similar thing with The Twilight Zone (original series); random episodes on individual volumes, replaced with the recent release of the first of a series of season sets. But the proposed Sex and the City premium set would replace an entire run of season box sets with a single boxed set, and at significant cost.

If current owners of the series aren't likely to buy it, then who is? I called Dave Lambert (TVShowsOnDVD's News Director) and we spoke about the Sex and the City set for a few minutes, and he brought up a good point. TBS is airing reruns of the show, which are heavily edited for content, which could bring new fans into the mix who didn't see it on cable. The new fans may be interested in seeing the series as it originally aired, so they might look at buying the new premium set when it's released. But will they be willing to drop hundreds of dollars on the boxed set?

Many of us are collectors, and of course we want the biggest and best of anything that's released. But where do we draw the line? Are we willing to replace a series that has cost us hundreds of dollars with a new set that costs more, just so we can get some interviews and other bonus features we haven't seen yet? Should we start budgeting for the 2007 release of The Sopranos collectors set?


David's additional 2 Cents:

"It'll be kind of showpiece that you might want to own and preserve, and not use as your everyday set," Rhea said. "I guess it would be kind of like the good china. Or the good shoes."

So HBO's plan isn't even to try to get fans to get it for the new extras (c'mon, how often would you watch them?). The plan is to get people to buy it...just for the sake of buying it. Just to have it as a "showpiece". Are TV-on-DVD fans really into that level of "collectors' mentality"? I guess we'll find out! Stay tuned...

#2 of 55 OFFLINE   Andrew Budgell

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Posted February 17 2005 - 05:16 PM

HBO to hit replay button By DAVID BIANCULLI DAILY NEWS TV CRITIC A new season of "The Sopranos" isn't due until next year, but HBO may have something to keep fans busy - the company is bumping up the release date of the fifth-season DVD. "Frankly, it seems to make sense to us to not let the distance between the release of season four and season five get too great," Caroline Rhea, senior vice president of marketing for HBO Video, revealed to the Daily News, noting season four came out in October 2003. In the past, HBO has released the most recent season of a show on DVD near the launch date for the next season, as a way to boost interest in the returning show. For example, HBO last week put out the first season of "Deadwood," which returns for its second outing next month. But, because "The Sopranos" is coming back with what's being billed as the final season in 2006, HBO has stepped up the release of the new DVD to June 7, in time for Father's Day. Chase in charge The return date to HBO for "The Sopranos" is dictated by creator David Chase, who demands and receives the time to produce the show on his own timetable. The most recent season, the fifth, ran from March to June of last year. Yet it's already been a long time since season four of "The Sopranos" was available on DVD and HBO Video is both acknowledging, and trying to stem, the fans' impatience. Because of Chase's work load and methods, he doesn't personally provide as much as other HBO show creators to the DVD supplementary material - but Rhea says fans and critics seem to accept that. Four directors will provide commentary for the fifth-season box, including Mike Figgis and "Sopranos" fifthseason recurring guest star Steve Buscemi. Meanwhile, Rhea said HBO is planning a "super-premium" set of "Sex and the City" to hit stores before Christmas. "I think there is absolutely a super-premium collector's market," she said about "Sex and the City." Though all seasons have been released in separate installments, Rhea said the complete collection, including additional content and DVD extras not available on the originals, is being developed with "an eye for the collector," including new disc art and lavish packaging. "It'll be kind of showpiece that you might want to own and preserve, and not use as your everyday set," Rhea said. "I guess it would be kind of like the good china. Or the good shoes." Specialized markets According to Rhea, buyers of the HBO Video sets vary from show to show. For "The Sopranos," as many as 60% of DVD purchasers are not subscribers to HBO. For "Curb Your Enthusiasm," it's the reverse: 60% of them are, and are buying the set after seeing and enjoying the show. She's also beginning to track a new phenomenon - nonsubscribers who buy the boxed set for something like "Deadwood," and like it enough to subscribe to HBO in time to watch the new season unfold. "If that is the case," she said of this apparent new side effect of DVD sales of TV boxed sets, "then it's kind of a circular, beautiful thing." Originally published on February 17, 2005

#3 of 55 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 17 2005 - 10:59 PM

Good luck with that, HBO. This show doesn't have the (forgive me) nerd fan base that it would need to support a re-release like that. The X-Files, Star Trek, Buffy, etc, those shows have a hardcore fan base that would at least consider re-buying the series. Sex And The City does not. Hell, I like Sex And The City and have the DVDs but unless the re-releases were given to me as a gift, I'd never get them.

#4 of 55 OFFLINE   Matt Butler

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Posted February 18 2005 - 03:37 AM

Same here. Im almost pissed that they held out on extras prior to this.
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#5 of 55 OFFLINE   Rutgar

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Posted February 18 2005 - 03:42 AM

Why? It's probably just some lame interview with one of the cast members, which you would only watch once. I have the complete set of the show, and I have NO intentions of replacing it for ANY reason.

#6 of 55 OFFLINE   Adam_ME

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Posted February 18 2005 - 04:25 AM

Any word on if they'll ever release Season 6 in one set instead of forcing me to shell out full price for two separate halves?
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#7 of 55 OFFLINE   John McM

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Posted February 18 2005 - 04:37 AM

I already have the entire series... absolutely no reason to double-dip. Even tho I suppose if they were cheap enough, I'd repurchase each set if in new packaging and sell the old ones off.

#8 of 55 OFFLINE   John McM

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Posted February 18 2005 - 04:39 AM

if you had gone to a lot of stores the weeks pt. 1 and pt. 2 hit shelves... you could've gotten each set for about $29.99, so together it would've evened out to about $10 more than a regular list price.

#9 of 55 OFFLINE   Christi P

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Posted February 18 2005 - 04:46 AM

The problem here is that the current sets were *already* marketed as super-premium sets. I mean, they charged $50 bucks a pop when the later sets only had 8-10 episodes on them. I got most of them on sale for around $30-35, but still, most shows in the $30-35 price range have 20 plus episodes on them. And the releases certainly weren't marketed as bare-bones sets. I saw quite a few full-page magazine ads touting the specialness of the current sets, and season 6 part 2 (which I havn't watched yet) was promoted as having a lot of extras. I am glad I bought the current ones, but I can't imagine rebuying just for a few more extras. If HBO were smart, they would put off this double-dip for 5 years or so - there was quite an uproar already over the high price for sets with minimal episodes, so downgrading those sets two months after the last one was released by announcing a 'better' version is not going to win them any fans.

#10 of 55 OFFLINE   Roger_R

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Posted February 18 2005 - 06:10 AM

They already put out a thing like this in Europe. All six seasons in a pink and black shoebox. Today when everything's being called collector's editions, a paper shoebox holding all six seasons would qualify as super-premium (what a name). Posted Image

#11 of 55 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted February 18 2005 - 07:49 AM

I hate HBO. I had seasons 1-4 and sold them off because I was not willing to pay rediculous prices for the final few sets...I kind of regret selling off the ones I had, but I needed the money at the time and when I considered I wasn't likely to buy the other releases...they were the first to go. Now this is announced, boy I can't wait until they announce the price of this thing that should be real interesting.

#12 of 55 OFFLINE   Gord Lacey

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Posted February 18 2005 - 07:50 AM

With this being billed as a premium set, I doubt "cheap" will ever be used to describe it. It's also different than the R2 release since that was just a repackaging of the existing sets. While the shoe box would be cool, I doubt many people would be pissed off they missed it since they had been enjoying their seasonsets for awhile. Adding NEW material to the sets will piss of the fans that have supported the releases for 4.5 years. Gord
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#13 of 55 OFFLINE   BrandonJF

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Posted February 18 2005 - 02:40 PM

A good example of one upgraded TV-on-DVD series that may be somewhat similar to the Sex and the City release is the Farscape Starburst Editions. These are releases that add more supplemental features and are WAY cheaper than what fans originally paid for the first run. The Starburst editions contain around 7 episodes each with more features - I picked up the first one for $12.99 and the second one for $15.99. Both were less than I paid for any single season one disc originally, which contained 5 fewer episodes and less features. Am I mad? Not really. Enough time had gone by and I'm glad I got to go through the whole series when I did. Given how cheap the Starburst Editions have been, I haven't had much of a problem picking them up just to have the extra supplements. I'd be surprised to see HBO go the "cheaper" route. Well, I take that back. I can see a complete series set being cheaper than the six indivdually. But, I can't see the overall price dropping down to the Farscape Starburst level.

#14 of 55 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted February 18 2005 - 04:16 PM

I'm a fairly frequent double-dipper on films, and I do have all 7 current SatC sets, but there's no way I'm going for this.

But don't assume that just because this is not a "geek" show that there's no audience for this new set. A lot of women worship this show. Maybe they'll do a special gift set with a limited edition pair of Manolo Blahnik's... Posted Image
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#15 of 55 OFFLINE   Christi P

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Posted February 19 2005 - 12:45 AM

I guess a super-expensive 'collectors' set could work if they sold it through stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. There are designer keychains and perfumes that cost unbelievable amounts of money, so a 'designer' 'Sex & the City' set would probably sell, too.

#16 of 55 OFFLINE   Mitch Stevens

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Posted February 19 2005 - 02:32 PM

Is there any word on the video quality of this upcoming set? If they aren't going to improve on the video quality, then I see absolutely no reason why I (or anyone else, for that matter) should upgrade to something even more expensive, just to have some lame-ass interviews, that nobody ever watches more than once anyway. However, if the video quality is going to be much improved, then it could be worth it.

#17 of 55 OFFLINE   John McM

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Posted February 20 2005 - 05:27 AM

instead of doing a super-box set. I think HBO should rerelease the seasons in more convienient packaging (and how about dropping the retail about $20 since it's a re-release, and put season 6 together in one set?). Those damn plastic cases are the very reason I use CD folders, because I'm afraid of breaking them

#18 of 55 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted February 20 2005 - 01:13 PM

The front cover of one of the sets has already broken off from repeat open and closing because my wife watches them so much. Why'd they have to use low quality packaging to begin with?

#19 of 55 OFFLINE   Graham Greenlee

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Posted February 20 2005 - 03:39 PM

I own seasons one through six part one and I've spent some decent money on these. I've been tempted to just buy the second part of season six and be done with the series... but this ultra-collector set intrigues me:

First of all, I am a big fan of the show, having seen all the episodes at least once, the ones I own at least twice, and many of my favorites (such as "The Post-It Always Sticks Twice") many, MANY times. I still don't own the last eight episodes, but would likely watch those again and again. I know that by repurchasing the series, that it's something that I would watch on a semi-regular basis.

Also, being a big fan of the show, the one thing that the release lacked were some great bonus materials. I've listened to the commentaries at least once (a few, like the season fives, more than once) and would love to hear these on more episodes, especially episodes from seasons one and two whose releases didn't contain commentary at all. Some good documentaries (including fluffy "best moments" pieces for various characters, behind-the-scenes footage) would be nice adds. They've talked about the close relationship of the show to the people and city of New York, and an extra detailing this would be nice. Also, award show footage (including the Best Series Emmy speech and Sarah Jessica Parker's various Golden Globe speeches) would be fun. So, there IS room for improvement.

I'd also like to see better picture quality. Some of the releases, especially the early seasons look VERY grainy and over processed.

The packaging for the current releases is certainly colorful and cool at first, but it is flimsy and considering that I watch these often, I'd love for something that wouldn't be as breakable. (The shoebox idea sounds cute, but please, something that fits on my shelf.)

But here are my reservations:

Price... I can easily sell my current releases and get store credit or cash for them (I'm guessing I could make anywhere between $125 to $150 for them.) And I don't even mind spending more than the price of Season Six Part Two on top of that, should the extra materials warrant that. (If all the materials I listed were included, I'd pay $50 over the price of Six Part Two and the credit I'd get from selling my current versions just to have it all in one package.) If picture quality and bonus features aren't greatly improved, then I'd see no reason to spend my money on the set.

HD-DVD... Since this is an HBO/Warner release, and since the first Season of The Sopranos is rumored to be among the first Hi-Def releases this fall, the question raised would be... Is there any prospect of Sex and the City on Hi-Def? I'm not completely decided on adopting the format, but a complete series collection in High-Definition (with all the bells and whistles that I listed) would be just as compelling a reason as duplicate versions of the Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy to hop onto the format for me. If there aren't any plans for the show on Hi-Def, and if I could get the big standard-definition set cheaply enough, I would be fine with that (even after I'd adopt HD-DVD) and just sell off the set and upgrade should the show be released in the new format.

All of these begs a bigger question, after a television series ends it's DVD run and has exhausted all of it's seasons, is a complete series set the way to go? Some shows, such as Buffy or The X-Files have enough fans that would do this (especially the X-Files, if they'd sell a set that would drastically cut the cost of each season). But others, don't.

I own the first eight seasons of Friends on DVD, and plan on buying the last two to complete my collection. I wouldn't consider purchasing a complete series set in standard-definition, and would only do so in HD, if they improved the image quality dramatically (and there is some room for improvement) and added even more extras (more bloopers, more behind-the-scenes, more commentary, involvement by the cast). Otherwise, I'm quite fine watching my standard-definition versions.

The same goes with Sex and the City. Unless there were major additions to the value of the set, not limited to just picture quality, I'd see no reason to re-buy the series on any format.

Was that post long enough? Posted Image

#20 of 55 OFFLINE   Rob T

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Posted February 20 2005 - 05:38 PM

My sister is a big fan of the show and only has the sets becuase of me and her husband getting them as gifts for her so I doubt she'd get it.




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