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Why are studios afraid to commit to a series?

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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Bryan^H



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Posted November 08 2005 - 10:09 AM

There are probably many reasons to consider why a studio is afraid to commit to, or cancel a series. Here are a few things I can think of:

1. Big Studios expect big profit. Example: Lets say Lions Gate's Moonlighting seasons 1 and 2 sells 30,000 units and is considered a success. Paramount's release of Happy Days season 1 sells the same number of units, but is considered a failure because the bigger the studio, a larger profit is to be expected.

2. Studios afraid of the music rights. If they have to pay for it, or substitute certain music in a series, studios are in general stuck between a rock and a hard place. Upset the series purists, or pay big money for the song.

3. Strategic release dates. With so much to choose from each Tuesday, studios have to find a way to fit in a release date that will gurantee strong sales in the first week of release. We all know what "heavy" release days are like. Choosing your favorite show on dvd, when there are 2 others you want being released the same day is the nail in the coffin for some series. Much like theatrical releases, tv on dvd releases see their strongest sales the first week of release.

Just some thoughts on the matter. Anyone else have an idea or 2 about this?

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#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted November 08 2005 - 07:19 PM

Reason 3 didn't use to be this common, but I think it is becoming more of an issue. I'm finding it harder and harder to choose what I'm going to get and when. November 15, and December 6 are going to suck just because there is so much coming out on both of those days.

I don't entirely disagree with your other 2 points, but I don't think you can safely say that 1 show selling 30,000 units is going to be considered a failure just because the studio is a big studio. Perhaps the reason its a failure has to do with other factors. We'll just use your 2 shows, moon lighting and Happy Days.

If Happy Days costs more to restore, costs more to license music, and so on, then it will need to sell more than Moon Lighting just to make any kind of a profit because more had to be spent on it. If the costs for restoration and music were the same for both shows, then I'm sure that both studios would be happy with 30,000 units sold. So its not so much that a bigger studio is expecting bigger numbers just because they're a bigger studio.

Although this does bring up 1 question I've always wondered. Someone that posts on this form is likely going to be aware of what studio produced what show, but to a casual buyer does it really matter if its a Paramount show or a Lionsgate show? I'm guessing no, because of the fact that in the TV industry there is so much turnover and the studio that originally produced the show, and the one that currently holds the rights may not be the same.

Disney for example can stick a label on one of their movies, and people will buy it because hey, its a disney movie. But I don't think that same strategy works with TV shows as well.

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   FrancisP



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Posted November 09 2005 - 04:12 AM

I do think that reason no 1 has become more valid. Many of these studios are multi-billion dollar companies. I do think they look at whether a dvd can make money and how much they think it can make. Whereas third party companies
like Image are looking at whether they can make money by releasing a title. For example, a million dollar profit may
be chickenfeed to Fox but would be good money to Image.
Were it not for Image, I don't think we would see the major studios putting out quality editions of Twilight Zone. Were
it not for MPI, Dark Shadows would not be on dvd.

As for music rights, I can see the studios position in this. If a rightsholder is asking for the moon then I say tell him to go to hell. All I ask is that the studios let the customer know that they were altered and why.

I think the third reason is valid but I also think the studios are being lazy. I think that technology makes it easier to market directly to the consumer but I don't think they have done a good job at utilizing it.

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Bryan^H



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Posted February 24 2006 - 06:52 PM

Anyone have ideas as to why Studios bring shows back from dvd limbo? The Mary Tyler Moore show, and The Jeffersons both resurfaced after a lengthy wait between seasons. For this, I have no idea.

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#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted February 25 2006 - 12:16 AM

There is also one other problem, studios don't allow for an appropriate release date. Studios are aware that there are a lot of stores out there that sell DVD's and 99% of these stores offer a special discount off the sets, with discount stores like Target, Best Buy and CIrcuit City, some of the more recognizable chains, they offer anywhere from $3-$6 off an individual DVD or a DVD set. Not only that, but DVD's come out on Tuesday and these sales only last for a few days, through the end of the week.

If studios would allow for their releases to come out on Sunday, instead of Tuesday and allowing for a longer sales incentive, like two weeks instead of the openingh week, their profits would go up a lot more giving entertainment fans a bigger field to buy these sets.

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Justin W

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Posted February 25 2006 - 11:55 AM

i dunno but i'm still praying that someday an HBO exec sees the light and releases the rest of the larry sanders show.

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted February 25 2006 - 12:03 PM

Unfortunately, Sony (not HBO) owns The Larry Sanders Show. If HBO owned the rights to the DVDs, the other seasons would have been released slowly but at least they'd have been released.

#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Lynda-Marie


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Posted February 25 2006 - 12:30 PM

My question is, why the obsession with Tuesday releases? If there are going to be a lot of DVDs released on Tuesday, why not have Monday releases, or Thursday? Or Saturday?

What is so magical about Tuesday, aside from that dumb Domino's Pizza ad?

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#9 of 13 OFFLINE   AnthonyC



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Posted February 25 2006 - 12:48 PM

Um, 99.9% of all CDs and DVDs are released on Tuesday. If they were released on Mondays, they'd have to arrive at stores by the Friday before, which gives potential for broken street days. And since Billboard charts sales from Sunday - Saturday, they want to give releases the most days possible to enter the chart.

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Glenn Overholt

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Posted February 25 2006 - 02:24 PM

Tuesday is the standard. Tuesday is/was the slowest day of the week for media stores, so live with it.

Part of that is store deliveries too, because the large chain stores get all of their new releases shipped to them, but because they order more, they usually get them before a small mom & pop store. This is so the mom & pop's can compete equally - at least on the release date, if not in price.

In theory, a store that breaks the release date and gets caught will end up getting new releases from that studio, always after the 'official' release date - which would suck, big time.

I think the studios are stupid for not completing series' that they started, because, at least for me, I don't want to buy a season 1 unless I am sure that I can get the rest of the show. I have about 12 uncompleted series, and I don't like it. It is hard to stop though.


#11 of 13 OFFLINE   MattHR



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Posted February 25 2006 - 02:38 PM

Tuesday is the standard. Tuesday is/was the slowest day of the week for media stores, so live with it.

The studios want their video product in stores midweek, as to not compete with their theatrical releases that debut on Friday.

Consolidating music and movies on the same release day also saves the studios and distributors a ton of money on shipping charges. It's much easier for the retailers to control inventory, since all new titles/formats have the same release day, with few exceptions.

Retailers like the Tuesday release, since it brings many shoppers into the stores midweek, rather than on the weekend, reducing some of the weekend crowds.

A Tuesday release is also closer in date to the stores' Sunday circulars, so new releases aren't advertised too far in advance.

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   DavidofLondon


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Posted February 25 2006 - 07:35 PM

Personally I think that when a studio, be it a large studio like Paramount or a smaller company like Image looks at whether to release, or continue a series, they won't consider the number of sales per se.

What they're looking at is return on investment (ROI). How much its going to cost in licensing, music rights, restoration, packaging etc. to produce the show versus how much money they'll make back.

Now obviously the amount of money they make back is based on sales so the more sales the better. But this would explain why one show selling 30,000 copies is continued and another isn't.

I don't think either large or small companies are going to consider $1,000,000 chicken feed. But suppose it costs $1,000,000 in licenses etc. to make the DVDs and they sell for $2,000,000 then we've got $1,000,000 profit and a 100% ROI. But if it cost $100,000,000 in licenses (this is an example only, hopeful no show costs that much!!) and they sell for $101,000,000 then there's still a $1,000,000 profit but the ROI is now only 1%. You could get a better ROI sticking your money in a bank than 1% so although the profit amount remains the same the ROI point now doesn't justify the release.

Companies operating from purely financial motives will look at the estimated ROI from a given release and compare that with the ROI they could get investing their money elsewhere. They then pick the investment opportunity with the highest ROI. This is the best approach to maximise profit (unfortunately not the best approach to get me all the DVDs I want released!!)

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   RoryR


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Posted February 25 2006 - 09:05 PM

One point the studies fail to realize is that a considerable number of fans will either wait for their favourite season's of a show to be released (ie. hating the 1st season of The Facts of Life) or want to know they will be able to purchase all season's at once. I think Studios should release atleast 2 seasons to analyze the market - but that is not a good buisness idea. I prefer shows that come from smaller companies like Anchor Bay.

Sony certainly seem to be the worst at continuing series.