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abandoning a series vs. slowly releasing a series

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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Jay_B!



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Posted October 26 2007 - 01:39 PM

I think when it comes to nine out of ten older shows on DVD, music rights aren't truly a factor (I can understand if there'll never be another Murphy Brown season), but for every Murphy Brown there are ten Bob Newhart Show's that use very little music. If a show doesn't have a lot of music, is it really losing money on DVD, or is it just not making the mega-profits that shows like Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes and "off the air" shows like Seinfeld and Friends do? I notice a lot of companies dislike YouTube and they try to discourage against bootleg sites, but are the companies themselves helping matters by holding shows hostage? I can understand why a show like Night Court or Who's The Boss isn't quite given the priority treatment that a Friends or Seinfeld gets, but if you want to combat disgruntled fans giving up and going to the bootleg sites to purchase a copy, why not release a season every 15 months or so? If you're not LOSING money off it, why not just go ahead and do it? If a crap movie like Shanghai Surprise can get a "special edition" rerelease, then shows that aren't "music rights hell" sufferers should get released slowly. What made me write that was that I read that Sony had some Diff'rent Strokes episodes (none of which were in the seasons already released on DVD) on YouTube removed. If they don't want people watching them for free online, then why not go ahead and release the rest of the seasons on DVD? it's a catch-22 with a lot of these shows that are older but aren't played to death in reruns. I think the companies should license episodes themselves on YouTube of shows they know don't stand a chance of having another season released of. I mean, the fans deserve to see the episodes even if it's not as profitable a release as Seinfeld.

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Aryn Leroux

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Posted October 26 2007 - 02:07 PM

Well Said, But for the most part the studios could give a damn about whether we should be able to see something or not. Unfortunately Posted Image

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Jay_B!



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Posted October 26 2007 - 02:18 PM

I agree. I think the main fuss is that these companies do not want these bootleg sites to do well, but sadly, they're only giving these companies more business because they refuse to release so many shows. When people do business with those bootleg sites, do you think they're buying Friends, Roseanne, I Love Lucy and other shows that have been finished on DVD by an official studio? Absolutely not.... they're buying the shows that they've given up any hope of an official release for. If the studios want to successfully combat the bootleg studios, instead of shutting them down, they should try to match their products. If Warner doesn't want someone to buy a "complete Night Court series" collection from a bootleg set, then release the damn DVD's in a more timely manner. Maybe it won't make you the $$$ that Friends does but at least Warner would be getting the money for their own product instead of some third party who just happened to record all the episodes off TV Land or something. If the company is not willing to give the fans of a show what they want, then they should shut up and/or license the series to someone who won't hold an insane "Mary Tyler Moore doesn't sell like The Office" type of attitude. Wow, a show from 35 years ago vs. a current series. No wonder so many old shows are treated like crap!

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Paul Miller

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Posted October 27 2007 - 08:32 AM

There are ways for companies to make money even with the title that don't get the big sales. They can figure out a cheaper way to sell it through their website or they could farm them out to someone else like they are doing with McHale's Navy and Shout Factory.

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted October 27 2007 - 09:24 AM

I often wonder the same thing as you all do about the TV/DVD releases. I guess only the studios/distributors know what their minimum profit margin requirements are for certain series releases. I know that there are expenses pertinant to TV/DVD releases that some here aren't aware of and that it's a business, etc. The main thing that makes this hobby difficult for me is the unknown factors about it all. Take, for example, the "Barney Miller" series. Four years after the S1 release, it looks like Sony's going to release S2 early next year, according to TSoD. Not an official Sony announcement yet, but it looks like S2's coming. I wonder how many here had written this one off for good? I'm one of them. There's no consistancy or pattern with this sector of the DVD market.

I also tend to agree that, if they (studios) don't want potential customers to "look to other alternatives", then, assuming no legal/clearance issues, release the show on studio DVD. "If they release it, we will come" Posted Image I wish that were 100% true, but I know also that studios have released certain series and have lost $$' on the deal. Perhaps that's why we're seeing the slow/adandon show syndromes occur from time to time.

I've wondered also if it would be better for the studios to go the completely online-stores route for their older-series releases. I wonder if that would save them $$'s in the long run vs distribution to the local B/M stores. I can guess one counter-point to this idea, which would be that the studios would lose the "walk-up"/impulse-buy" sales without the B/M distributors. They wouldn't with me as I'm about a 99%-online buyer.

A little OT here, but look at the recent vintage "Route 66" release? Edited episodes?? Even when other conplete prints were available? I don't see an excuse for that release containing edited versions on a DVD release. I guess most here (I know I feel this way) expect a DVD release to be at least on par with earlier VHS releases of the same series. Maybe it was a cost-prohibitive issue with Roxbury as to why they went with the edited versions. IMO only, but I can tolerate less than stellar xfrs as long as they are not edited episodes.

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#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Jay_B!



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Posted October 27 2007 - 10:33 AM

for these "lesser selling" shows, I think the companies should switch to only selling them via their official website and maybe a website like Amazon. There are a lot of shows out there that can be profitable, but losing money if you press 100,000 copies to ship to Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, etc.... when in actuality only 20,000 should be pressed initially. Bootlegging is wrong on so many levels, but considering the way a lot of companies have treated shows, is it really right to fault the fans who've been sitting on a 'season 1' release for two or three years and then see a complete series bootleg for $100-150 or so and decide to go for that? They've waited and waited for more official product, and the studios refused to deliver because it only sold 3 percent of what Heroes sold. There are countless shows from the 50's to 90's that are stuck in DVD limbo (either "season one and done" or not released at all) that are nowhere to be seen in syndication these days. What I find funny is that TV Land is supposed to be this niche channel for huge TV fans yet over half the shows they air have been completed on DVD. It's funny that in the pre-TV-DVD days, they aired a lot of more obscure programs, and now that everyone can buy their fave shows on DVD, they air MASH, Andy Griffith, Three's Company, I Love Lucy and other shows that are finished on DVD and not exactly obscure.

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   David Levine

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Posted October 27 2007 - 11:00 AM

Right, but if it's a poor selling show to start with, a company like SHOUT! isn't going to make any money on it. First of all they'll have to pay a large advance to the studio to get the property, then they have to spend their own money clearing it. Then add in authoring (possibly remastering), ancillary feature production, replicating, packaging, marketing, shipping and the big killer - returns) PLUS having to pay a royalty of anywhere from 18-30% on each unit, and a show that sells < 10,000 unites will never recoup the initial advance.

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Jay_B!



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Posted October 27 2007 - 11:55 AM

but Shout doesn't have a "this show doesn't sell like Seinfeld" sense of arrogance though. Look at how Universal wouldn't touch another Charles In Charge season with a 10 foot pole (because it may have sold 0.5 for every 100 Heroes copies), but another company was fine with it. The companies should find other solutions for shows that aren't their prized pets because every show out there has people who wanna watch it. Maybe they should go into business with the bootleg sites (like Warner or Sony or Fox or Universal gets 50% of the profit) or something along those lines because it's petty to not allow a show on YouTube that Sony would rather eat broken glass than consider releasing another season for because it's not Seinfeld. I love Seinfeld but there are countless other Sony shows that are nowhere as popular as it that I love just as much. Shows deserve to be watched, not vaulted. What is the point of abandoning St. Elsewhere because it may only sell 3 copies for every 100 copies Grey's Anatomy sells? Grey's is one of the top shows on television right now, it's water-cooler television, it's current. St. Elsewhere is something that has only sporatically been in reruns since it left the airwaves and probably 95% of the under-30 year olds buying it are likely buying it blindly and either heard great things about the show, or saw a familiar face (Denzel, Howie, they may recognize Begley from Six Feet Under and Veronica Mars, etc...) and decided to check it out. It's pointless to compare something from 20 years ago that isn't a rerun-favorite to a show that is currently on the air and huge.

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   David Levine

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Posted October 27 2007 - 12:49 PM

Right. But the deal still needs to make sense. It is very easy for a company like SHOUT or BCI to lose money on a deal. In fact it is MORE expensive for a small studio to license and put out a title than it is for the studio that owns it. Granted the independent studio needs to make less to consider it a success, but they still need to hit their numbers or it's a losing situation.

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Corey3rd



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Posted October 27 2007 - 04:14 PM

There's two new players in the vintage TV game. Retro TV has rights to show Universal and Paramount shows. American Life has a deal with Fox. They show Batman and Green Hornet on Friday nights. The odd part is that neither channel features ads for the various DVD sets of the shows they run. You'd figure that the studios would create a 30 second promo to include with the shows. Many of the shows don't seem to be run in the new Masters created for the DVDs. This is a major mistake. Streets of San Francisco looks pretty rough. Any one watching the show on RTN won't be too anxious to pick up the DVDs if they think they're not crisp new transfers.
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#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Brian Himes

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Posted October 29 2007 - 08:36 AM

There has to be an answer or some kind of compromise to resolve this issue. I don't know what it is, but I believe that there is one.

The music does matter.

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   MishaLauenstein


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Posted October 31 2007 - 04:34 AM

I think scheduling has to be taken into account. Even if a studio wants to release the next season of a marginal seller, it's got to look at the 52 available release slots for the year and how much space they'll be given by the retailer and a higher-selling show is going to get the slot over a marginal one. Imagine if the doorbell rang and the pizza guy was there, and the Thai food guy, and the Indian food guy, and the Chinese food guy, and they've all brought your favourite dish and they all want you to pay for it and eat it right now. You're going to have no choice but to turn three of the guys away, no matter how much you love butter chicken or ginger pork.
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