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Is the classic tv on dvd market being killed off?


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#1 of 43 OFFLINE   Phyll

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Posted April 28 2009 - 08:09 AM

I haven't read any news items in the last four months about any newsworthy releases or anything I would buy with the exception of the Lucy Show. I mean after season 3.2 of Gunsmoke, I doubt we will see any more of that show. Where is the rest of All in the Family, Maude, the Jeffersons, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and that is just a small fraction of the shows they start and will probably never finish. I believe Paramount will finish Mission Impossible and maybe Hawaii Five0(and that I even doubt) I will be very surprised if they do finish Five-o but since I haven't seen too many of the last seasons I would like that very much. Where does the classic tv fan go from here? Online-Thanks but no Thanks!!!! Bootleggers-Thanks but no Thanks!!! I don't deal with people that are breaking the law. Cable tv stinks to high heavens so no comfort there either. Be happy with what I have-not on your life-not when I know there could be much more out there. Barnaby Jones where are you? Lee Meriweather is still around and I am sure she would love to do commentaries-hint hint Paramount. I would love to hear your thoughts on the classics on dvd. Is it time to give up on them? Or just be patient. I will be picking up Bewitched and the Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. But I don't see too much after that do you? The release schedule has been extremely slow for the last four months or so. What gives? Well, I guess I will have much more money in my pocket that is for sure.

#2 of 43 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted April 28 2009 - 08:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyll
I haven't read any news items in the last four months about any newsworthy releases or anything I would buy with the exception of the Lucy Show. I mean after season 3.2 of Gunsmoke, I doubt we will see any more of that show... Where does the classic tv fan go from here?... I would love to hear your thoughts on the classics on dvd. Is it time to give up on them? Or just be patient. I will be picking up Bewitched and the Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. But I don't see too much after that do you? The release schedule has been extremely slow for the last four months or so. What gives? Well, I guess I will have much more money in my pocket that is for sure.

Overall, if we factor in all the studios there's no doubt whatsoever that the Vintage TV on DVD market has slowed down - considerably. CBS/P is making a go of it and for that I applaud them. I think many 50's and 60's fans will be pleased with some of the offerings from that studio up through the end of the year and even into next year. I'm going on a very reliable little birdie on this otherwise I wouldn't mention it.

Having said that, the downside with CBS/P has been the subbed backscore for at least 2 classics, THE FUGITIVE & MY THREE SONS. That puts a small damper on their release schedule only because we now have no idea when that specter might raise its ugly head again. But still, I do think they will be giving us a decent output of classic shows in the coming months and even into next year. You'll just have to take my word for that at this point.

The biggest problem as I see it is that other than a couple of hit and miss (quality wise) entries from Shout! Factory we really aren't seeing much of anything from the other studios. That's where we are going to be feeling the pinch and the setback. Universal is releasing Season 3 of Quincy, which is a nice development for me, but they still have a lot of stuff sitting in limbo (LITB, Dragnet, etc). Sony, WB, MGM and Fox are doing almost nothing at all. And I'm not sure we can count on the smaller companies like Smore, MPI, Infinity and Timeless to offer a whole lot of vintage material either. Perhaps Millcreek will keep the Robin Hood releases coming, but their almost done with that series so there's not much left there.

I have to admit, overall the classic TV market does look rather bare. Not sure we can expect anything to change in the near future.

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#3 of 43 OFFLINE   Bob Hug

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Posted April 28 2009 - 08:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary OS
And I'm not sure we can count on the smaller companies like Smore, MPI, Infinity and Timeless to offer a whole lot of vintage material either. Perhaps Millcreek will keep the Robin Hood releases coming, but their almost done with that series so there's not much left there.

Not sure of release dates, but S'more is supposed to release the "Cagney & Lacey" re-union movies and more Shari Lewis. MPI has "Here's Lucy" in the pipeline. Infinity just released season 1 of "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp," (but I still don't have any sort of definitive confirmation on "Route 66," s, 3, v. 1). Timeless has released quite a bit over the last year or so, and maybe taking a "breather" as the market attempts to absorb its many releases, though they do have the Classic TV Westerns Collection on tap for May. There are still a number of the Timeless TV Westerns that I'd eventually like to get, but I can only buy so much. I really get a kick out of Mill Creek. As much as I like Alpha, Mill Creek is tops when it comes to packaging public domain shows; the recent Classic Sci-Fi TV set is a lot of fun, despite the fact that it contains three theatrical serials.

Classic/vintage shows are still very much getting released, but I'd have to agree that there is a general slowdown at present.

#4 of 43 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted April 28 2009 - 09:29 AM

We're in an economic downturn. People are hanging onto their cash and being stingy with their shrinking disposable income. DVD sales in the last quarter are down 14%. That's a hit. And so they will back off at the moment. They don't need to fill the shelves with the fear that their titles will be returned without an eager consumer base. Summer is a dry season. The true test of how this market is being approached will be with the titles positioned for Christmas sales.

Far as vintage shows on TV. There is RTN - although they're mainly Universal titles. THiS is MGM's Subchannel showing their stuff - including Mr Ed and Outer Limits. Plus American Life still has the Fox titles in primetime.
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#5 of 43 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted April 28 2009 - 09:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey3rd
Far as vintage shows on TV. There is RTN - although they're mainly Universal titles. THiS is MGM's Subchannel showing their stuff - including Mr Ed and Outer Limits. Plus American Life still has the Fox titles in primetime.

And unfortunately I get zero of those as I have Direct TV. So all these little regional channels mean squat to me personally. Sorry to sound so bitter, but if it's not a national channel it's not available to everyone and isn't the same as something being released on dvd. Just no comparison at all.

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#6 of 43 OFFLINE   derosa

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Posted April 28 2009 - 09:48 AM

I suppose the thing that surprises me so much is the extent to which the
consumer only seems to buy new releases, regardless of the age of the show.
You'd think that some "classic" shows would sell consistently, given the fact
that they are quality shows that stood the test of time, and people whould
have heard of them, even if they weren't ready to buy it upon release.

Isn't it true that over 80% of show sales happen in the first couple of weeks
of release? That's amazing to me, since how many people happen to catch
the exact date a show is coming out? I mean, it's not like the general public
is here following the dvd news, right?

Store merchandizing is terrible, and it makes it really hard for people to get
interested in something they're not even aware of. It's better online, but
even there, it's really a shame that classic shows are lost on most people.
If they came across a recomendation from a friend, they'd likely listen,
and give it a try. So many new shows are total garbage, but new sells.
Go figure.

-g

#7 of 43 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted April 28 2009 - 10:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary OS
And unfortunately I get zero of those as I have Direct TV. So all these little regional channels mean squat to me personally. Sorry to sound so bitter, but if it's not a national channel it's not available to everyone and isn't the same as something being released on dvd. Just no comparison at all.

Same here; a DTV subscriber. So we don't get the advantage of the regional channels as some here do.

I have to agree on the state of classic TV/DVD releases. After checking my "release" sch, I only have 3 sets that I plan to buy thru July. Last year at this time, I had 10 sets on the runway during this same timeframe.

PERRY MASON S4 V106/09/09
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DONNA REED SHOW S207/21/09


That's a lot different than last year at this time.

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#8 of 43 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted April 28 2009 - 11:44 AM

I did a comparison of the 2nd quarter for the last four years and this is easily the worst for vintage TV on DVD. I was looking specifically at releases of shows that had their opening season by no later than 1969/1970. I certainly may have missed one here or there, but even accounting for human error there's just no doubt the vintage releases have dried up drastically. And I wasn't even able to account for certain Mill Creek and Timeless releases, which weren't always listed at TVShowsonDVD.com. And since Timeless hasn't done a whole lot this year that has to make the disparity even greater.

I can say this with certainty: If CBS/P wasn't still releasing classics, 2009 would truly be pathetic on this front.

To follow Jeff's list: This second quarter I'm only interested in 8 titles. Last year I was interested in 24, the year before that I was interested in 25, and in 2006 I was interested in 26 titles. So there's a major drop off for me personally.

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#9 of 43 OFFLINE   potnoodle

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Posted April 28 2009 - 11:50 AM

I don't think classic tv is being killed off, but for most of the big studios, it will always be a secondary concern. There are several reasons why current tv shows get immediate releases. First off, there is a high recognition factor which can only help sales, even if the show is only getting modest ratings. Secondly, the cost of producing a set of current or very recent shows are lower since the studios don't have to spend a lot of money on restoring faded masters or fixing other problems that add to the cost of producing DVDs of older shows. And since in many cases, the networks that are airing the shows are owned by one of the big studios that are releasing the DVDs, this is one way of offsetting the show's production costs. Releasing current shows on DVD is low risk with potentially very high returns. The same can't be said for shows from the 60's or 70's that may be all but unknown to younger people, who probably make up the biggest share of DVD consumers.

The best hope for getting classic shows on DVD is for smaller independent companies like Shout or MPI to license them from the big studios. These guys have smaller operations so there is much less overhead in producing DVDs then the big studios. Also, they seem to be more willing to take risks. I know that Shout has been slammed pretty hard over the flaws in the Rhoda Season 1 release, but at least they are trying to get these shows out to fans of classic tv. Fox has absolutely no interest in releasing Rhoda or any more classic tv, so if given the choice in getting a show released that is less than 100% complete and flawless versus getting no release at all, ever, then the choice seems pretty obvious (to me anyway).

#10 of 43 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted April 28 2009 - 02:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Willis
Same here; a DTV subscriber. So we don't get the advantage of the regional channels as some here do.

But RTN should be receivable as subchannel of KHPK - your channel 3 - it'd be 3.1 on your digital dial. Doesn't seem to be a THiS in Dallas - although they have it in Lubbock & Houston.

it does help to have these shows back on TV - even if not everyone in America can get the channels since it does show Fox, Universal and MGM that there is an audience for them and they need to keep the DVDs coming for those poor souls who can't tune them in.
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#11 of 43 OFFLINE   MattHR

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Posted April 28 2009 - 03:13 PM

I sure hope this downturn is just temporary, as I fear we won't see several shows continued/completed, or others ever released. The only potential bright spot of seeing obscure programs released may be if more studios follow Warner's "Manufacture-to-Order" program. They are manufacturing and filling orders for some of the more obscure, yet consumer requested, titles direct from their website. Apparently, several TV titles will be offered in the future.

It's worth a look:

WBshop.com - The Official Online Store of Warner Bros. Studios: Warner Archive

#12 of 43 OFFLINE   JamesSmith

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Posted April 28 2009 - 04:29 PM

I agree with you guys. But I don't know what we can do. Perhaps some other options are in order, perhaps we can write or email to hula and some other legitimate download sites and ask them to go for more classic programs. We could point out that while other sites show the same "big" programming like Smallville and such . . .there is a market for shows like "High Chapparel," "It's About Time," "Search," etc.

Or we could still write the various heads of the Home Video department, and plead for our shows like "Twelve O'Clock High," and "Garrison's Gorillas."

As for good news, the mid-seventies, children's show, "The Monster Squad" is coming out mid June.

I feel our pain.

James

#13 of 43 OFFLINE   David Rain

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Posted April 28 2009 - 05:25 PM

There's really nothing to debate about or speculate on. If enough of these releases were selling then more of them would be coming out. That's basic business but unfortunately a lot of people don't want to think logically. Why put out a product that you know isn't going to sell ? Where's the logic in that ?

Companies are not going to give you something just because you say that's what you want. The reason so many series get stalled on DVD is usually very simple - because the previous releases didn't sell well enough. Why is that so hard for some people to figure out ?
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#14 of 43 ONLINE   bmasters9

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Posted April 28 2009 - 09:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by derosa
So many new shows are total garbage, but new sells.
Go figure.

-g

You're right-- new series do sell very well. That's apparently true of the '90's as well. To prove that, "Friends" sold well enough that all of its run was released, both in individual releases and as a whole, while "Night Court" only has 2 seasons' worth out. Seems to me that "Friends" is a much, much, much bigger draw on DVD (as it was in original broadcast) than "Night Court" is.

"Seinfeld" and "Raymond" also sold well enough, apparently, for full series releases in addition to the individuals. This leads me to the conclusion (and I may be incorrect) that the '90's-today is a much bigger draw for DVD releases than any other period.
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#15 of 43 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted April 29 2009 - 12:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rain
The reason so many series get stalled on DVD is usually very simple - because the previous releases didn't sell well enough. Why is that so hard for some people to figure out ?

And as for those who bought the First Season(s) of a Particular Show, possessing high hopes of subsequent releases, what will some of us do to "Complete" the series? Posted Image

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#16 of 43 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted April 29 2009 - 03:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rain
There's really nothing to debate about or speculate on. If enough of these releases were selling then more of them would be coming out...

Why is that so hard for some people to figure out ?

I'm going to phrase this as nicely as I can. Why is it that every time there's a thread about the downturn in classic TV output someone feels the need to come in and "correct" all of us poor, misguided souls by reminding us the studios are in the business of making money and not pleasing individuals? I've got news for you: WE KNOW THAT!!!

Most of these type threads are simply designed for classic TV fans to lament the state of affairs. Nothing more and nothing less. The vast majority of vintage TV fans know good and well that current TV sells better than classic TV. We don't expect studios to give as much attention to older material when it's clear that the demographics of dvd purchases are younger folks, most of whom couldn't care less about vintage material. None of us need to be reminded, at every turn, that this is the case. We just want to vent a little. Is that so wrong? Most of us aren't blasting the studios or the fans of newer material. I never even venture into current show threads because I'm not here to "rain on their parade" by telling them, in their show threads, how much the new stuff stinks compared to older material. That's my opinion but I'm not going to their threads and expressing that. So is it really too much to allow some of us to simply bemoan the fact that some of our favorite older series are probably not going to make it out on dvd? I hope not, because I'm really weary of reading the same thing about the economics of the studios over and over and over every time some of us have this discussion. We get it.

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#17 of 43 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted April 29 2009 - 05:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rain

The reason so many series get stalled on DVD is usually very simple - because the previous releases didn't sell well enough.
I think David hit the nail on the head with this one. The key word is stalled. There will always be shows that are put on hold. But one thing you can be sure about....never, ever call a series dead. Unless a studio comes right out and says "we will never release another season of that show on dvd" then we have no way of knowing. I believe from the start of tv on dvd, to present there have been more surprises, and good news than disappointing bad news.
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#18 of 43 OFFLINE   Albert_M

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Posted April 29 2009 - 05:43 AM

Well there are two issues, incompeted series releases and shows that have yet to be released at all. In either case, among other things, the economy is in the worst shape in many, many decades. It's not fair to say the state of tv shows on dvd in the current economic crisis.

#19 of 43 OFFLINE   michael_ks

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Posted April 29 2009 - 05:45 AM

All very well stated Gary. I'd like to add that there ARE other factors at work wherein studios have repeatedly "cut off their own foot" and inadvertantly sabotaged sales, thereby getting false readings on sales and consumer appeal for older shows.

Just a few things that have plagued vintage tv fans over the last several years when it comes to DVD releases:

1. Split season sets and disparate pricing relative to full season sets
2. Music substitutions
3. Lousy print and/or audio quality
4. Edited prints
5. Use of dual sided discs
6. Mucking with the OAR

There are more, but I think I've nailed the major complaints that have negatively impacted sales

#20 of 43 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted April 29 2009 - 06:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyll
I haven't read any news items in the last four months about any newsworthy releases or anything I would buy with the exception of the Lucy Show. I mean after season 3.2 of Gunsmoke, I doubt we will see any more of that show. Where is the rest of All in the Family, Maude, the Jeffersons, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and that is just a small fraction of the shows they start and will probably never finish. I believe Paramount will finish Mission Impossible and maybe Hawaii Five0(and that I even doubt) I will be very surprised if they do finish Five-o but since I haven't seen too many of the last seasons I would like that very much. Where does the classic tv fan go from here? Online-Thanks but no Thanks!!!! Bootleggers-Thanks but no Thanks!!! I don't deal with people that are breaking the law. Cable tv stinks to high heavens so no comfort there either. Be happy with what I have-not on your life-not when I know there could be much more out there. Barnaby Jones where are you? Lee Meriweather is still around and I am sure she would love to do commentaries-hint hint Paramount. I would love to hear your thoughts on the classics on dvd. Is it time to give up on them? Or just be patient. I will be picking up Bewitched and the Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. But I don't see too much after that do you? The release schedule has been extremely slow for the last four months or so. What gives? Well, I guess I will have much more money in my pocket that is for sure.

The only thing that will truly save the classic tv market is Digital Downloading. Alot of people won't like it because it's not a physical media, and often is tied to a propritary platform due to DRM, but I don't see any other thing that will allow the studios a cheap enough method of distributing to off set sales. And even that may not be enough if the product has to be remastered in anyway. I wish there were more younger folks (I'm 46) that are interesting in what was truly televisions golden years, but there isn't, they'll be satified buying the latest and greatest series.
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