24 and its impact on future TV releases

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Brent, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. David Brent

    David Brent Stunt Coordinator

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    Fox's upcoming release of 24 seems like a pretty major event to me.

    For one thing, it's probably the first network drama series to hit DVD before it enters syndication. If it proves a big success, will this prompt other companies to follow?

    Also, the box-set is priced at $59. while a similar season of The X-Files costs more than double, at $149.

    It seems obvious from this that these sets don't cost too much to produce (Fox wouldn't be selling them at a loss), so do retailers or those in the industry think that this move may set a precedent for future prices?

    I mean, how happy is the average customer going to be having to shell out double the amount for a similar product from the same company?

    Personally, while understandable that it's mostly modern material that's arriving at the moment, I'm hopeful that a move to cheaper season sets may result in more older shows arriving on DVD. The likes of Mission: Impossible have been released on Best Of videos in the US, so is it likely that we might also see cheap DVD season sets of this, Hawaii Five-O, Magnum and Quincy in the near future, or am I just being overly optimistic?

    David
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I think there is a big difference in the available syndication market for 1 hour dramas (especially ones like this that require a religious devotion in order to follow the story line, not to mention the fact that it locks exhibitors into the order they must air the episodes) vs. 1/2 hour comedy.

    I think 24 is a special case that is really custom tailored for DVD over syndication. I don't know if it will have any serious impact on syndication for other types of programming, as I'm sure Seinfeld made 10 times in Syndication what it could have made with a DVD release and skipping syndication.

    -Vince
     
  3. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    As someone else has noted, syndication buyers like to be able to disregard episode order; 24 does not lend itself to that, so I think it's an aberration more than an example. Hence the DVD treatment and no sale to syndication.
     
  4. David Brent

    David Brent Stunt Coordinator

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    I absolutely agree that the format for 24 doesn't lend itself to syndication, but if this release proves a monumental success, topping sales charts, then won't other companies consider forfeiting a portion of profits from *possible* back-end deals for some money in their pockets?

    Also, if 24 isn't likely to be seen much in syndication, then surely the customer should be paying even *higher* prices than normal to get it on DVD? The expense of producing the 24 set must be similar to The X-Files, so hasn't Fox exposed just how large their profits are on these DVD releases?

    David
     
  5. BrandonM

    BrandonM Stunt Coordinator

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    The first season of The Shield is coming out in January before it's second season. So, 24 is already influencing how new series are being released.
     
  6. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    I think that one other reason that 24 is being released so soon is so that its marketing can tie into the 2nd season airing on FOX this fall.
     
  7. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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  8. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Also, Malcolm in the Middle is coming out on DVD before it's forth season. That would have been unheard of a year or two before.
     
  9. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    What about the West Wing then-I'd like to see that on DVD sometime...
     
  10. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    No West Wing till it hits syndication

    While new shows are starting to be able to have DVDs before syndication, it'll be a long time, if ever before it's the norm

    24 is an exception, but hopefully Malcom is a sign of things to come
     
  11. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  12. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    It's worth noting that "24", "Malcolm", and "The Shield" have a few things in common - all are owned by Fox, all are broadcast on Fox stations, and all began production after the first "X-Files" set came out - and both "24" and "The Shield", for various reasons, aren't going to be that appealling in the third-run market.

    The start-of-production time may be crucial: Cast and crew have language in their contract about residuals from third-run broadcasts, but not necessarily video releases - or, if they do, it's at a lesser rate, since video releases have historically been less lucrative. Actors and producers have been known to sue if they feel that those third-run rights have been devalued (David Duchovny for "X-Files" and Alan Alda for "M*A*S*H"; they felt that Fox took less from FX than they would in an open market), and an argument could be made that having every episode available on DVD would devalue them. On new shows, it's quite likely that studios (especially Fox, since they have had success with the box set paradigm) are structuring their contracts differently, making the DVD box set more appealling.

    Also, having only one company to deal with helps. Consider a show like "The West Wing", produced by Warner Brothers but running on NBC. Say Warner were to put out box sets right before the season premieres. First, doing this would possibly devalue their second-run rights of the episodes; second, the expectation that this will happen could devalue the first-run for the next season. "24" isn't going to be re-run, and the "Malcolm" set is, what, two or three years back? Be honest - would you worry about catching "The West Wing" on NBC from March on if you knew it would be on DVD (16x9, 5.1, no commercial interruptions, no logos, with goodies and maybe extra footage) in six months? People wait longer for movies to hit video, with far less reason.

    For "24", it's potentially just changing when and which division of News Corp collects the money. For "The West Wing" or "ER", there are many more mouths to feed.

    Which raises an interesting question - if the sales of "'24' Season 1" on DVD are brisk, but the ratings for "'24' Season 2" slide... Does Fox produce "'24' Season 3", especially if there are good pre-order numbers for the "24" S2 videos? Heck, you can ask this about any Fox/Fox, Paramount/UPN/CBS, WB/WB/TNT, Disney/Touchstone/Miramax/ABC, Universal/Sci-Fi/USA show. In the next few years, this is going to fundamentally alter the way television is produced and marketed in both good and bad ways.

    (Speaking of which, if someone at Paramount isn't at least thinking of having "'Enterprise' Season 1" avaiable by Christmas, they're nuts)

     
  13. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    Is there some sort of contract keeping the X-Files sets priced as high as they are? I notice that the DTS rerelease of the X-Files movie is still $25 at the local Best Buy while several of the other Fox DTS rereleases have already dropped to $15. I guess I'll have to keep spending top dollar for my X-Files fix for whatever reason.

    I am definately glad to see the 24 set is priced at $59. I'll be picking that up as well.
     
  14. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  15. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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  16. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Cable based shows are so much easier to put on DVD, because they don't ususally go to syndication (or if they do, they go 1 year later instead of 3 or 4)
     
  17. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I certainly hope it's a sign of things to come. I do not watch syndicated programs, as a general rule. I typically will watch in the first run, or on DVD.
     
  18. David Brent

    David Brent Stunt Coordinator

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    Even if 24 doesn't spark a general trend for network dramas coming to DVD early, then what about other similar, syndication-unfriendly series?

    Take Alias, for example. What chance we might see that out as a first-season box-set soon. It's an ongoing story, like 24, plus it's also just won a load of Emmy nominations, just like 24. Also, it's produced by Disney, which just recently announced the upcoming releases of Sports Night, Once and Again and Felicity.

    What I wouldn't give for Alias in anamorphic widescreen, with a commentary track on each episode by J J Abrams, and a special extras section where Jennifer Garner just wanders around in a bunch of skimpy outfits.

    David
     
  19. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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  20. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Aren't they spinning her character off into another movie from Daredevil?
     

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