13,000 copies

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by John McM, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read an article today that said a tv-dvd only needs to sell 13,000 copies to make a profit.

    If this is the case, then why are companies like Fox (with Mary Tyler Moore) and Columbia (with Mad About You, Larry Sanders and Jeffersons) so hesitant to release future seasons of certain shows that aren't moving blockbuster numbers? It's insane for Fox to expect Simpson numbers for MTM, but hey, season 1 sold (as reported a month ago) 85,000 copies... therefore it did make a reasonable profit, but since it's not Simpsons, Family Guy or even Mash or Buffy, Fox pretty much killed that off. And Columbia has jerked several shows around, shows you cannot expect to move Seinfeld numbers. But I am sure that Mad About You season 2 or Jeffersons season 2 sold over 13,000 units.

    A profit is a profit, so why are companies afraid of continuing certain shows on DVD even if they are still making more back then they put into it? Not every show is as well liked as The Simpsons or has a devoted cult following like Buffy The Vampire Slayer. If all you need is 13,000 copies sold to break even, and MTM sold 85,000... what's the holdup? Fox still made their money back on it several times over. If it's making money, but not paying back ten-fold, why give up on it?
     
  2. Zachary Cohen

    Zachary Cohen Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oh well, of course, because all TV-DVDs cost the same to produce and are priced the same.

    Right?
     
  3. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    1,490
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think I read that same article. Wasn't it the one about Chappelle's Show? It didn't say that all TV DVDs need to sell that much to make a profit; I believe it said that one did. I can think of one way right off-hand that would have caused it to have to sell far more than 13,000 copies to make a profit: if they had shelled out all the money required to retain the original music performances in the show.

    There are other things to consider, like number of discs (X-Files is going to take more than 13,000 copies to make a profit, while something like Mr Ed. Volume 1 would not) and special features (especially when the extras are specially produced for the release, like with Mary Tyler Moore).
     
  4. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    you don't have to be sarcastic on me, that is one thing that really irks me. I asked a reasonable question and would just like a reasonable answer (this was to Zachary... not Dane.. since Dane's posted before mine was published).

    Mary Tyler Moore maybe you have a point on, but most of the Columbia TriStar titles are basically made as barebones as possible. I'm sure they made profits on Jeffersons season 2 and Mad About You season 2, but because they didn't sell the numbers projected for the Seinfeld releases coming 11/23, Columbia screwed over both projects and axed them. I am sure both sets sold at least 13k... therefore Columbia did make a profit on each set, but because it was just an "okay profit" and not a gift that keeps ten-folding over like Simpsons or Family Guy have for Fox, Columbia ditched both shows.

    If a series is making a profit, why ditch it? Even if you're not making your money back twenty times over, if you're still coming out ahead, why not keep at it? Fox made it out like Mary Tyler Moore sold in the single-digits, but it still sold nearly 100,000... nothing like The Simpsons, but it still did decent enough to merit a season 2 (as What's Happening got a season 2 release and it sold 100k)
     
  5. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are other things to consider, like number of discs (X-Files is going to take more than 13,000 copies to make a profit, while something like Mr Ed. Volume 1 would not) and special features (especially when the extras are specially produced for the release, like with Mary Tyler Moore).


    that is true, but usually doesn't the difference in pricing have a lot to do with it? X-Files sets retailed for $149.99 when released (ala $99.99 at retail outlets) and now are $99.99 (usually around $79.99 at the same outlets). When X-Files was $149.99, and say you could get it for $99.99 at outlets like Best Buy and Circuit City, with 13,000 sold, it still would've made almost $1.3 million, and that's just at $99.99. What kind of money do companies usually put into DVD's? I wonder if all X-Files would've needed to sell was that 13k at $99.99 and it would've still broken even a bit.

    I know also tv shows with high music clearences cost a bit more. Such as Freaks And Geeks and the sort... with the $10 higher price-tag, would that begin to help make some of the money back after 13,000 copies... or were the music rights really costly?
     
  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because the studios don't just want to break even, they want to make as much as possible. If it takes the same amount of resources to produce (a) a show that will sell 13k copies and break even, (b) a show that will sell 25k copies and turn a nice profit, and (c) a show that may sell 50k copies but almost may sell 10k, which one would you make your first priority?
     
  7. Tarkin The Ewok

    Tarkin The Ewok Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jason hit the nail on the head, to use an old cliche.

    The studios are looking for the biggest return for their investment. Also, they are not extremely concerned with finishing a series' run on DVD unless it is a very popular show.
     
  8. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because the studios don't just want to break even, they want to make as much as possible. If it takes the same amount of resources to produce (a) a show that will sell 13k copies and break even, (b) a show that will sell 25k copies and turn a nice profit, and (c) a show that may sell 50k copies but almost may sell 10k, which one would you make your first priority?

    true, but usually I think if they market a show to the same people who bought season 1, seasons 2, etc... will do around the same. I know Columbia had high expectations for Charlie's Angels season 1, it didn't sell as hot as expected, but enough fans petitioned that they wanted season 2 on DVD, Columbia spent less money promoting and manufacturing season 2, and while once again it was no blockbuster, it did about the same as the first season did, and Columbia had spent less making it. So it looks like it could've paid off.

    Maybe when a lot of the "super shows" (Friends, Seinfeld, Cosby Show, Trek sets, etc.... I'm not saying Simpsons because it'll be quite awhile before we see all of that) are wrapped up on DVD, the companies can then turn and devote more time to some of the "moderate but profitable" sellers.
     
  9. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    0
    I remember hearing a while back about "On demand publishing" which was supposed to revolutionize the printing of books, in that someone would order the book from whatever source, pay for it, and then it would be delivered to them. I haven't heard much about it since.

    I wonder if this would be feasible for studios to put out TV shows on DVD - set up a website, or other way to order, such as going in to a store of the customer's choice, and then delivering the product. For example, the dedicated fanboys/fangirls could get their sets with all of the extras, behind the scenes stuff, the whole nine yards, while those who want to save some money, and just want the show, could order a barebones set, with just the chosen show on DVD.

    The immediate benefits I could think of would be 1. Not being stuck with a bunch of inventory if the show in question does not do well. 2. Having a realistic idea of what the buying public is looking for in DVDs. 3. Being able to satisfy customers, [even if there are not as many for a particular show] by making sure the show reaches its fans.

    These benefits, of course, would positively affect profits, wouldn't they?

    Having never worked in publishing or other similar industry, I have no idea how realistic the above suggestion would play out. Would someone who is in the know be able to answer?
     
  10. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    Messages:
    9,209
    Likes Received:
    0
    As was stated already, that article did not say that all shows only need to sell 13,000 copies to break even, just what that one particular show needed to sell to break even.

    If the studio spends more money on restoration or on preparing new extras or on clearing the necessary music...watch 13,000 rise higher and higher.

    Jason was right on why the studios do what they do, we may personally not like it, but that's what makes the most business snese for them so that's what they do.
     
  11. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    Messages:
    9,209
    Likes Received:
    0

    1. Find me one statement from anyone at Columbia wherein they said that they expected the Jeffersons or Mad About You to sell Seinfeld like on DVD.

    2. Again you just assume that the profit margin for those shows was 13,000 and you assume that both shows sold that many copies. They probably did, but you don't know that and you don't know what the actual margin for turning a profit was. Sure, it probably didn't cost them all that much to produce either set, but they also were selling them for fairly cheap.

    They're not going to make as much off of those shows as they would off of newer shows like Seinfeld and they know it. I worried about this when I read that article, but to just assume that it takes 13,000 copies and that's some sort of magic number is letting yourself up for a huge let down...and promoting an idea that isn't necessarily correct.

    Another thing to consider as to why some shows see releases more often than other shows, and that is replication facilities. There are only so many in the country and or around the world, and they are all given various things to produce, and in most cases see a lot more demand for their services in the months around the holidays. Knowing this studios may have to delay something a few months just because they have higher priority projects that they want to be on the shelf at a certain time of the year like say around Christmas. Something's gotta give.

    Call me naive if you will but I'm not so sure that Columbia has given up on the Jeffersons, it took forever between seasons 2 and 3 of all in the family, so until I hear the Jeffersons declared dead I'll never say never. Its just that they found that shows like What's Happening and Sanford and Son were selling much better and bringing in more profit so they get prioritized higher.
     
  12. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    am I the only person who is kinda surprised Sanford And Son is so much more popular on DVD than All In The Family and Jeffersons? Especially since in the 1970's, S&S was #2 behind AITF in the ratings, yet S&S has been a massive success while we're not sure if we'll see all of AITF out or not, and The Jefferson has done even worse it seems. That show ran 11 seasons, and it'll probably be 2030 by the time the last season will be on DVD, lol.

    I was surprised Columbia didn't announce a season 3 release not long after Isabel Sanford's death.
     
  13. John Burton

    John Burton Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Simpsonville, SC
    Real Name:
    John
    The Larry Sanders show is the one I don't get. Did it just not sell at all? Great show, and even in reruns now, still very funny. But I do see a "shelf life" on it, as the guest stars on it fall from the "A" list.

    All in the Family is a little different. It was a show for it's time, but does not hold up well now. I watch it now and just wonder, "Wow, things have changed." But things have not changed enough for me to buy the disc.

    John B.
     
  14. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sure, Jason may be correct (and he is), but the studios are idiots for doing it that way. When they get done with all of their huge sellers they will be left with - the bottom of the barrel!

    I can see a studio's profit for last year being say, 10 mil, and it goes up to 12 mil this year, but then they are out of the 'biggies', and the following year they'll only make 7 mil, or even 5. (can you hear the stockholders screaming?) I can see the rest of MTM coming out in 3 years (along with a corrected 1st year, PLEASE!) [​IMG]

    If I wanted to get a series, and the 1st season came out with no plans for the next one, should I buy it? I know that we've been through this discussion before - that is, the 2nd season's issuance will be based upon the sales of the 1st season, but we have no way of knowing, unless it is on par with the Simpsons.

    Sure, the 1st season is better than none, but you (and this is speaking in general) know as well as everyone else that you expected the rest of the series to come out. I think it would be better for us and the studios if they would let us know a little more. They don't have to give us any $$ figures, but just the sales count needed for the next season.

    What if a show was short only 500 of getting the 'go' for the next season? If I wasn't sure if I was going to get it, knowing that would certainly help me to decide.

    Glenn
     
  15. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sure, the 1st season is better than none, but you (and this is speaking in general) know as well as everyone else that you expected the rest of the series to come out. I think it would be better for us and the studios if they would let us know a little more. They don't have to give us any $$ figures, but just the sales count needed for the next season.

    I agree with this completely... if Fox was "we need to sell 5000 more MTM sets to guarentee a season 2 release", that'd convert a lot of people who were holding off to go ahead and it knowing season 2 is on the horizon, since a lot of people hold back on buying shows on DVD unless they know a season 2 is on the way.

    I am someone who'll get a season 1 regardless because even if say, the rest of 227 doesn't come out on DVD, I still have the first season. But still, since I have the first season, I'd like the others as well.
     
  16. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is both a good and bad thing. Studios probably look at the sales of Season 1 as pretty much the ceiling for Season 2, which allows them to make a better analysis of how much return on their investment they will get back - and if it's not so hot, it's even harder to convince them to do it.
     
  17. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Messages:
    2,442
    Likes Received:
    28


    This is a good idea, but it has some problems. The studios still need to pay to transfer the episodes, pay to license the music and possibly pay actors and other profit participants. It's possible that they could pay all this money for an episode that only a few people buy. I've had a few people approach me about this distribution model in the past, and after I explain all the licensing things that have to be worked out they agree that we probably won't see it happen.

    Gord
     
  18. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    Messages:
    9,209
    Likes Received:
    0

    I used to be surprised to hear this, but not so much anymore. As was mentioned, All in the Family's humor is very dated now, moreso than the humor of Sanford and Son, and I'd say that the Jeffersons is kind of in the middle although a little closer to AITF on this one.

    I personally own 4 seasons of Sanford, 2 seasons of the Jeffersons, and 3 seasons of AITF so I'll take them all.
     
  19. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    very true, since a lot of AITF's humor was very topical for it's day, but I do know several people who were born after the show ended that are fans and buy every season. At least Columbia hasn't killed it, just releasing it slowly, but I would've guessed the show would've been a bigger hit on DVD (as Mash sets usually sell several hundred thousand sets each time) that it turned out to be considering how many seasons it was #1 in the ratings.
     
  20. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    Messages:
    9,209
    Likes Received:
    0
    But ratings especially 30 years ago can't be a good indicator of how well a show will do on DVD. For one thing, there is no real monitary cost in watching a TV show, that is as tangible as the monitary cost in buying a TV show on DVD. I'm one of those people born after AITF that enjoys the show, but I'm also big on history so I get a lot of the dated humor from having studied it.

    I think that M*A*S*H is sort of in a catagory by itself when it comes to the older shows on DVD. I think that it is not really a good idea to try and compare any of those shows and how they might do on DVD to how M*A*S*H has done on DVD. But, as an example of what I said about ratings earlier...especially from 20 and 30 years ago being an indication of the publics mood, I don't think that when Goodbye Fairwell and Ah Men is released that Fox will expect it to sell 106 million copies.

    I don't even think that ratings for current shows is a good predictor for how well they'll do on DVD, and the further back you go IMO, the worse of an indicator they become.

    There are certain shows that studios just know are going to sell well. Star Trek, The Simpsons, Friends, Seinfeld, M*A*S*H. There are other shows like Married...with Children where the studio tested the market by releasing a couple of best ofs before going ahead with the season sets. Other shows like Larry Sanders, Mary Tyler Moore, and Mad About You saw season releases and didn't do so well. What I'm basically trying to say is that it is still for a majority of shows a guessing game as for how well they'll sell. I don't know how many copies of What's Happening Columbia was figuring on selling, but it probably performed a little bit better than they expected I think I read it sold 100,000 copies and hasn't been out for a whole year yet.
     

Share This Page