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Need for a TV forum FAQ to provide a common understanding?


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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   smithbrad

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Posted September 20 2013 - 10:11 AM

This forum provides a wealth of information about TV shows, but there is one thing I believe that is missing that could really help educate many of us, and that is frequently asked questions (FAQ) sections on specific subjects that could be "pinned" to the top of the forum threads list.  There are such diverse backgrounds within the individuals that frequent this forum that it would be a shame not to consolidate some of this information for easier dissemination to the broader audience. To some this is all general knowledge but I bet to the majority it is what creates the most confusion regarding what goes on with releases in this hobby.

 

One subject area in particular that I find interesting and that is many times discussed indirectly within threads, but is not entirely understood by many, deals with licensing/product ownership, source print configurations and their costs to transfer, syndication and DVD releases, stalled/delayed series, and differences between studio/independents in approach/capabilities. The fact that many threads about a TV show or studio might indirectly diverge into similar areas of discussion just might indicate a lack of common understanding, which is more the reason for having a single FAQ that can be referenced.

 

I thought I would go ahead and create this thread as a way for myself and others to ask questions and gather responses that could be reassembled in the future as a FAQ. I will start out providing my understanding on a few subjects to go along with my questions. I have no special expertise in these areas, other than what I have gathered from frequenting this forum. So please correct my interpretation (as needed), add new subjects and questions, and please those that can provide insight for others to learn from, please participate.

 

If you agree that a FAQ on this subject would be of value, please particpate. Otherwise, if left alone it will fall out of view soon enough.



#2 of 4 OFFLINE   smithbrad

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Posted September 20 2013 - 10:12 AM

Licensing for distribution vs. product ownership of physical media.

 

While related these are two different types of rights and one does not ensure availability of the other. In addition, there can be more than one entity having distribution rights, as well as multiple entities maintaining various forms of physical media containing the content. I think to some licensing means automatically having and using the best quality content available. Anything less is unacceptable. However, that does not seem to be the case in reality.

 

As an example, an estate might have distribution rights and have access to tape masters or 16mm prints of the content, while a studio may have the same with the addition of the original 35mm film in a vault. An independent distributor could license the distribution rights only from either entity and locate their own media from even another source (e.g., collector), or also pay for access to media provided by the entity for which they received the distribution rights.

 

A better understanding of the licensing models and media ownership related to a release can be useful when trying to understand the quality of a release and whether a release is the best it could be based on the circumstances involved or whether the distributor took unecessary short-cuts. Some questions that come into play are:

 

- Was it a studio release or by an independent (independents have more budgetary constraints)?
- If indepenent, did they license from a studio or other entity (better source material from studio)?
- Was it ever in syndication in the last 40 years (possible availability of tape masters)?
- What source element were available (original film elements can be costly to master for digital distribution)?
- Were there any music licensing issues?

 

I'm sure this is a simplistic view and only enough to start this part of the discussion. If anyone can provide additional information regarding

 

- Licensing approaches
- Licensing costs per approach
- Reasoning behind choosing an approach



#3 of 4 OFFLINE   smithbrad

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Posted September 20 2013 - 10:13 AM

Source print configurations.

 

We hear about the different forms a source can take (e.g., original film elements, tape masters, and 16mm prints), about dupes and multiple generations, and the different costs associated with transferring the content into a digital form. I have a sampling of questions. If others have questions, please add them. For those that can, please help us to develop a better understanding.

 

- What are all the different forms a source can take?
- What are the resolution/quality differences (35mm film can transfer to HD, tape I assume is just NTSC or PAL, 16mm?)?
- Which generally last the longest before degradation (e.g. color fading, contrast)?
- What technologies/equipment options are available regarding the transfer/remastering?
- What are the related costs (based on the approach selected)?



#4 of 4 OFFLINE   smithbrad

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Posted September 20 2013 - 10:15 AM

Preparing for future syndication vs DVD/Blu-ray release and differences in independent and studio priorities/approaches.

 

CBS has provided some insight into what they are doing with the updates to their publicly accessible syndication bible. They are remastering many series into HD even though they are mostly just distrbuting DVD quality releases (I have to assume some other studios like WB are doing likewise). This all makes me wonder about their overall plans. my questions are:

 

- Does anyone have an idea of the breakout of general revenue differences between syndication and DVD/blu-ray releases?

- Could this really all be based around the revenue generated from DVD and later blu-ray release, or could the DVD/blu-ray release revenue be primarily for helping to fund the remastering of the next season with future syndication in HD the primary goal?

 

If furture syndication, maybe past sales isn't the primary indicator of priorities since it appears most are eventually getting the HD treatment, and future syndication in HD of their stronger series may be the primary motivator. The term "stalled" has been used so often of late in reference to series potentially stopping all together, when maybe it is nothing more than a delay based on changing priotities and limited resources working across all the efforts. At least for the major studios activel doing releases, it would seem each title will be finished in time, unless indicators show the title might not be of value in future HD syndication.

 

Now with independents I think "stalled" is more appropriate since DVD/blu-ray sales are their primary business. So if a season of a series doesn't generate enough revenue then it is not profitable to produce later seasons.






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