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CBS/Paramount Releases and Demographics


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#1 of 53 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted April 29 2013 - 03:20 PM

I was thinking about all the stalled shows from CBS and began to do some mathematical figuring as to their appeal to the desired DVD buying demographic. The premise I'm using here is that seeing as how CBS is a major and not catering to the niche market (like Timeless), I'm guessing they are more than likely deciding what is to be released based up the demographic group that is most likely ot buy DVD's (20-40). Before I do the numbers, let'd make dome educated assumptions first. To begin with, the top end of my group (40) assumes a birth year of 1973. Secondly, aside from us who were glued to the set early, an average individual wasn't watching adult TV until about age 10. That brings us to 1983. My first point is this. Most of the stalled shows in 1983 were well finished (Bilko), a few years gone (Barnaby Jones), or almost down and out (Happy Days). Even in sydication, by 83, you weren't seeing a lot of Love American Style or Mod Squad. The sad truth is that this is stil a profit churning business and I just don't see CBS releasing more Bilko when the average age of someone that saw it in first run is over 60. The older releases seem confined to classics that people have name recognition with (Gunmoke, Bonaza, Mason.) Time passes fast and while it may seem ridiculous to us, the average 30 year old has no idea who Buddy Ebsen or Ricardo Montalban are. The point is that I just don't see most of this stuff coming out from a major company like CBS. The market just isn't there outside of die hard collectors.

As a side point, the only 2 shows that don't fit my theory are Mannix and Have Gun. Although I was thrilled to see Mannix, I still can't believe they finished all 8 seasons. This show has not been syndicated much in 35 years and Conners is not a household name and did little after the show. My own personal belief is that someone at CBS had a liking for this show and pushed it along. Either way, I'm thankful. Same with Have Gun. Who, thats not a collector under 40 knows who Richard Boone Is?

I hope I'm wrong, or at minimum they liscence them out.

 



#2 of 53 OFFLINE   Ron1973

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Posted April 29 2013 - 03:35 PM

If TV Bland would have done their job and stuck with truly classic programming, the general public might be more familiar with Bilko or The Hillbillies. I don't remember Bilko ever being syndicated in this market but knowing the quality actor that Phil Silvers was, I'd go for all the seasons.

 

I think Happy Days is more of a music rights issue. I wish I would have tape them in syndication BEFORE they started being edited. WREG in Memphis was a powerhouse when it came to unedited syndicated versions up until the early 90's. Sadly, I never thought I'd see the day that these shows would stop being aired in their original format.


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#3 of 53 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted April 29 2013 - 03:35 PM

Just a quick additional comment. Personally, I'm very pleased with CBS. We have all our own personal favorites and they did end up finishing most of mine. In my opinion, if they finish Cannon and Hillbillies, they get a solid A from me.


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#4 of 53 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted April 29 2013 - 03:44 PM

Ron is absolutely right about Happy Days in particular.  Between the music rights issues and some of the well publicized issues with cast members and royalties, this series was all but doomed some time back.  I'd be very, very surprised if CBS returns to this show any time soon.  At least not without more major music substitutions. 

 

Some of the others you mentioned probably are victims of the ever-shrinking demo that would buy classic material.  I know that both Sgt Bilko and Barnaby Jones (among others) were at one time on the preliminary schedule for CBS, but neither made the cut when it came to being approved by the finance department.  So your basic premise certainly has merit.

 

 

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#5 of 53 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted April 29 2013 - 03:53 PM

I think the problem is that most of the TV shows that are still unreleased- regardless of the age of the show or the buyer- won't sell enough copies to interest a studio. An independent would probably love to license out many of, say, Paramount's titles and do fairly well with them but what may be good for them may not be enough for a studio to be 'bothered'.



#6 of 53 OFFLINE   FanCollector

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Posted April 29 2013 - 03:53 PM

I definitely agree that there is some demographic calculus going on at CBS/Paramount in deciding what to release. My only question is whether your age parameters quite match the market. Sadly, I don't think many 20-year-olds are buying DVD sets anymore. Streaming hasn't replaced physical media (yet), but it has made major inroads with the lower end of that demographic. I think 40-50 is probably closer to their target audience, which might explain Mannix (first-run and in early reruns in the '80s) and Have Gun (via reruns).

#7 of 53 OFFLINE   usrunnr

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Posted April 29 2013 - 04:16 PM

Sigh. So I suppose "It's a Man's World" will never make it to DVD, if the tapes even exist anymore. Which reminds me of "Dobie Gillis". That will probably never happen either. 


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#8 of 53 OFFLINE   derosa

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Posted April 29 2013 - 05:50 PM

Why are you assuming people over 40 wouldn't be buying dvds?

 

I'm guessing they are more than likely deciding what is to be released based up the demographic group that is most likely ot buy DVD's (20-40). Before I do the numbers, let'd make dome educated assumptions first. To begin with, the top end of my group (40) assumes a birth year of 1973. 



#9 of 53 OFFLINE   Ron1973

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Posted April 29 2013 - 06:03 PM

Why are you assuming people over 40 wouldn't be buying dvds?

I don't think that was the intent. I think their preferred demographic is under 40 is what he's saying.


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#10 of 53 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted April 29 2013 - 08:08 PM

Why are you assuming people over 40 wouldn't be buying dvds?

 What I was saying is the the predominant market for CD buyers today is 20-40. Of course all age ranges buy DVD's, but I believe you will find that people 50+ are a much smaller age group buying sets that people younger than 50. I don't think that is an outrageous estimate.



#11 of 53 OFFLINE   jimmyjet

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Posted April 29 2013 - 08:12 PM

i was gonna say the same thing.  i think the assumption of 20-40 is not a good one.

 

i do think that everyone plots out what they think will do the best, such that the ORDER OF RELEASE will be such.

 

but i also think that most stuff will eventually come out.  one will just have to wait longer for that which is considered to have less of an audience.



#12 of 53 OFFLINE   moviepas

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Posted April 30 2013 - 03:05 AM

What's this about Dobie Gillis not happening?

 

I have the complete set on order already.



#13 of 53 OFFLINE   derosa

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Posted April 30 2013 - 04:27 AM

I think the 40-50 age group is a key market, maybe even the largest group of dvd buyers,

that's why I wondered why you didn't include them, and stopped at 40.   

 

 What I was saying is the the predominant market for CD buyers today is 20-40. Of course all age ranges buy DVD's, but I believe you will find that people 50+ are a much smaller age group buying sets that people younger than 50. I don't think that is an outrageous estimate.



#14 of 53 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted April 30 2013 - 05:05 AM

I think the 40-50 age group is a key market, maybe even the largest group of dvd buyers,

that's why I wondered why you didn't include them, and stopped at 40.   

I do agree with you that maybe my demo estimate was a bit low, but even if we bump up to 50, under my arbritary guidelines only, the amount of 50+ purchasers surely has to drop off considerably. IMO



#15 of 53 OFFLINE   ScottHM

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Posted April 30 2013 - 05:26 AM

Why would any studio have a "preferred demographic" of paying customers?  Isn't everyone's money the same? 

 

 

I don't think that was the intent. I think their preferred demographic is under 40 is what he's saying.



#16 of 53 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted April 30 2013 - 05:43 AM

It's not about who the studio's "prefer" to sell to. They could care less. Like you say, they just want the $'s. They concentrate their marketing on the age groups that their research firms tell them buy the most product. They want to optimize profit so obviously they cater to the interests and habits of the age group they are told buy the most.



#17 of 53 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted April 30 2013 - 05:55 AM

Just to clarify, the "rural" purge of the early 70's is a good example of what I am talking about. Still popular shows such as Hillbillies, Green Acres, and even Red Skelton got the ax in favor of the demographic CBS was trying to appeal to. Their research at that time apparantly dictated the aforementioned programs appealed more to an older, less educated audience and they wanted to reach the younger, more urban demographic who supposedly were spending more money. Therefore Hogan's Heroes and Hee Haw were axed in favor of shows like All In The Family and Mary Tyler Moore even those older shows they were still profitable for the network. That wasn't enough for CBS though. They wanted more $ and at that time, and felt it would come from college educated city dwellers, instead of small town denizens and rural folks.



#18 of 53 OFFLINE   jimmyjet

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Posted April 30 2013 - 09:03 AM

but i also think that you are picking out shows that were simply better shows, and comparing them to shows that werent as good.

 

i enjoyed hogans heroes, hillbillies, and green acres.  but they were kinda dumb.  so if you did not grow up with them, much less of a chance of liking them.

 

and even if you did grow up with them, it may be a bit of a stretch to still liking them.

 

one certainly can not compare those shows with dvd or mtm, in terms of quality.

 

the younger crowd that you have referred to - does a lot of renting of dvds, and streaming, etc.

 

if the studios are using a 20-40 criteria, i think they are missing the boat, regarding dvd sales.  i think the 40-60 group would make them more money.

 

i know quite a few young kids, high school, college, and college graduates.  while they may all have their noses buried in their cell phone, i dont hear any of them talking about their dvd collection.



#19 of 53 OFFLINE   HenryDuBrow

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Posted April 30 2013 - 10:51 AM

I'm 47 and have bought tons of classic TV titles, many of those were completely new to me. They released the third season of Cannon as a MOD product, if that's the future for the stalled/unreleased titles so be it. I don't particularly care all that much anymore whether it's MOD or standard, as long as they get a move on with it CBS or any studio/company really. All this stalling is such a waste of time.


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#20 of 53 OFFLINE   Ron1973

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Posted April 30 2013 - 11:03 AM

Just to clarify, the "rural" purge of the early 70's is a good example of what I am talking about. Still popular shows such as Hillbillies, Green Acres, and even Red Skelton got the ax in favor of the demographic CBS was trying to appeal to. Their research at that time apparantly dictated the aforementioned programs appealed more to an older, less educated audience and they wanted to reach the younger, more urban demographic who supposedly were spending more money. Therefore Hogan's Heroes and Hee Haw were axed in favor of shows like All In The Family and Mary Tyler Moore even those older shows they were still profitable for the network. That wasn't enough for CBS though. They wanted more $ and at that time, and felt it would come from college educated city dwellers, instead of small town denizens and rural folks.

That Hee-Haw axing worked out well for them.....lol


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