Between-Release Nervousness

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Jaime_Weinman, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    You know what's the only bad thing about TV on DVD? It's that horrible sinking feeling you get after buying the first season of any show, the feeling of: What if it doesn't sell and none of the other seasons come out? Except with short-lived shows where the entire series can be released at once, that's almost always a worry.

    This doesn't happen with movies, except with sequels, and even there, the titles in a series of movies are often released all at once (e.g. the complete Indiana Jones movies). With TV shows, there's always that undercurrent of fear that there may be no "complete second season," which is why the season 1 release of any show is followed by posts asking "how did it sell? Will there be more seasons?" Because it's a legitimate worry, as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and others have proven. Note: I'm stating this as a fact, not a complaint. Studios can't and shouldn't guarantee to bring out a whole series regardless of how the first season sells. Which is precisely why the first season release will always provoke butterflies in the fan's stomach.

    I even feel the fear about shows that have gotten past the first season; for example, my favorite show is King of the Hill, and logically I know that if Fox released the second season and put a "third season coming soon" flyer in the box, they will almost certainly release the third season (since if the sales were bad enough to cancel the releases they'd have stopped after the first season). Yet I admit that I anxiously check TVShowsondvd and won't feel completely at ease about that show until I see an announcement of the third season. And I'm sure everyone has a favorite show that gives them the between-release jitters.

    There is no cure for between-release nervousness. TV on DVD is a wonderful thing, and this is the price we pay. Well, that and the actual purchase price. [​IMG]
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    All too true. I've been burned that way once, and it won't happen again to me. I will not even consider buying any TV shows until the last season has been released.

    As for MTM, that was a shame, even if I didn't want it. With just making up my own figures, if they made 1 million sets of the first season and only 500k of those sold, why don't they just make up 500k of season 2? I have a feeling that the 2nd season would sell about the same as the first one did.

    And even if it did only sell 450k, then they can just run off 450k for season 3. Of course, what they don't know is how many people are not buying it because they want to make sure that the entire show is available.

    Glenn
     
  3. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    See, I know all about the between release nervousness, but I don't take the position to simply wait until all seasons are on the shelf before I start buying the show.

    A couple of reasons for this:
    1. If everyone took this position, then no second season of a show would ever be released because of poor first season sales.
    2. There becomes a certain point where you can rightly assume that all seasons of a show will see a release. I'm sure I'll get all 10 seasons of Friends, all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H, all 4 volumes of Futurama, and so on, so forth.
    3. If I simply decided to wait and didn't buy the first season of a show, then I found out that said show was not going to see a second season release, I just helped to ensure that a show I wanted on DVD won't make it to the format entirely.
    4. I don't feel bad because I haven't gotten seasons 2-7 of MTM. Why? Because I'm happy to have season 1 of the show, it is afterall better than having none of it at all.

    What often gets lost in all this is, those that say well I'll just buy season 1 later, is that studios don't really monitor sales of a show after a certain point. I don't know what that point is, I'm sure it differs from studio to studio, but the fact is that if Fox saw a rush of sales of MTM season 1 right now, it may not even have an impact on their decision to release season 2, or beyond. I think the mentality of the studio is that wen we put the first season out, the loyal fans will pick it up within say a few months of the release date, and after that we might get some sales from those more casual fans, but they're not guaranteed to buy future seasons anyway. This is just my guess though, I don't know for certain.

    Plus, and I'm sure if I've got this wrong, Gord or David will correct me, but my understanding is that its just not as simple as saying well, we made X number of copies of season 1, and sold Y number of copies, so for season 2 we'll just make Y number of copies. The fact is that you've got to figure in the production cost of Y number of copies, and see if you'll still profit from Y number of sales, and if not that may require a raise in price on season 2, which may then result not in Y number of sales, but now in Z number of sales. I hope I didn't totally lose everyone right then if I was good at math I might have been able to put it in equation form.

    All of the above is just IMO of course.
     
  4. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I feel the same way, at least for a show I really, really want. For a show I'm on the fence about, I might wait and see whether the later seasons become available, but for my favorite shows it's different. Using King of the Hill as an example again, I knew it wouldn't sell on a level with other Fox animated shows, and I was legitimately worried that there might not be a season 2 release, but I bought Season 1 on the first day of release. Partly because if a show I like doesn't get any more releases, I don't want to feel I helped it flop; and partly because, like you say, if I don't get the other seasons I still have season 1.

    On the other hand, I bought Mary Tyler Moore season 1, which I don't particularly love (I don't think the show really caught fire until around the third season), and sold it off when future releases were cancelled. So it is possible to get burned on season 1 releases... but if it doesn't sell, whatcha gonna do?
     
  5. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Casey, your math is right on! I only want to question the studios tracking sales months after a title is out. If there is a second rush of buyers, and the stores all run out, would the studio conside churning out some more to meet the demand?

    Glenn
     
  6. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    Casey, brilliant post, I couldn't have said it better.

    Glenn, there are fixed costs for a title that probably won't change if you're doing 1 million sets, or 10,000. These include: music licensing, restoration (if needed), film transfer, encoding, authoring, menus, subtitles, bonus features. Then you have your per-set costs like replication and packaging. Unfortunately those fixed costs are budgeted with the expectation that they will sell a certain number of copies. If that doesn't happen then they need to cut back on the fixed costs, and if they can't do that then the next season doesn't come out.

    Fox has stated that they've found sales of a season 1 set usually stay consistant throughout the life of the series, so they have a fairly good idea where they stand. MTM season 1 sales were low and no season 2 set has come out. Unfortunately another Fox title with an obvious change to it was "NYPD Blue." Yes, it made it to a second season, but how many of you noticed that the sound wasn't Dolby Digital 4.0 like the first set? Uh oh...that's a sign of trouble. Season 3 isn't currently scheduled...draw your own conclusions.

    The fact is that most of the people that want a title will buy it in the first few months that it's out. It's like a news item that we post to our site; it's read the most in the first few days because that's when it's new. It's very important to buy the set when it's first released because you're supporting the continuation of the series. As Casey pointed out, waiting for the entire series to be released on DVD before you start buying the first set will only ensure that there's only ever 1 season of a series. The effect that TVShowsOnDVD.com and petitions have on studios is a 1-shot deal - we can only get them to consider starting to release a series. There's no way I could convince a studio to support a show they've lost money on. That's like trying to convince someone to stick their finger in a socket after they've just been electrocuted; you only have 1 chance to do it, then the experience speaks for itself and they have to choose to continue or walk away. I think having 1 season of a show on DVD is better than nothing, isn't it?

    This is about money - it needs to be there for these companies to release something, or to continue doing so.

    Gord
     
  7. MichaelFA

    MichaelFA Stunt Coordinator

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    This is a good thread.

    I'm definitely feeling very nervous about The third season of The Jeffersons! [​IMG]

    But the big problem right now is getting more popular series even announced for a 1st Season relase. (Golden Girls, Family Ties, Who's The Boss, Roseanne, Home Improvement...)
     
  8. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Glenn and Gord, thanks for the compliments and so forth, although most of that post is derived from stuff I learned from people like David and Gord and their website/posts to HTF, but that's not the point.

    The point is that I agree that this is an interesting thread. You know as I was thinking about my own buying habbits I realize that the TV Shows I want, I'm more likely to buy on release dates than I am the movies I want. Part of the reason for this, is that like has been stated with a TV show your hoping for an entire series to see the light of day on DVD, but with the movie, once you have it you have it, and even if it sees a sequel you still can be assured that it will also see a DVD release.
    That doesn't have much to do with the discussion at all, but I did want to make mention of it. This particular section of HTF has existed for like a week and is already my favorite.
     
  9. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Exactly - I'm worried that the first season of Gilmore Girls won't sell well, so that's getting preordered. I'm not even going to wait for a region 4 release.
     
  10. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Gord - Thanks a lot for the explanation. I'm going to have to reconsider a few titles and keep my finger crossed.

    Glenn
     
  11. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Obviously, the studios *must* make some degree of profit on their DVD products that they release. And it's quite disheartening to see that a certain excellent series did not sell well enough to warrant a Season Two release (MTM particularly).

    But....I still think that a bare-bones S.2 release of MTM (and other shows that have suffered a similar MTM-like malady), priced lower than the S.1 box, *would* indeed sell very well.

    Obviously, the only reason we don't have an MTM-2 right now is because of all those people who *were* potential MTM-1 buyers, but were turned off by the approx. $40-$45 purchase price.

    As has been mentioned to death in earlier threads on this subject, I have little to no doubt that if MTM-1 had been packaged and priced similar to the "Green Acres Season 1" boxed set (i.e.: just 2 discs [dual-sided] and $29.98 MRP), it would have sold as fast as Lisa Douglas' hotcakes! (Well...er...come to think of it -- that's not a good example is it? Lisa was NOT exactly the Julia Child of Hooterville! [​IMG] But, you get my point. [​IMG])

    BTW...I just looked, and currently Green Acres-1 is the 57th Best-Selling DVD on Amazon's website, with a $20.99 take-home price. [​IMG]

    Does anyone know this..........
    Has ANY studio EVER decided (after a poor-selling Season 1 release) to throw caution to the winds and do as many people have suggested: That is to release a more "watered-down", no-frills second-season DVD release, with a lower price point? It'd be very interesting, indeed, to see just how such a low-cost MTM Season 2 set would fare if released.

    I can fully understand how many TV-on-DVD collectors feel, in that they want "The Whole Nine Yards" before committing to buying *any* TV-on-DVD boxed sets.

    But, at the same time, I also feel that having *some* seasons of a favorite TV show is still better than zero.

    It's just kind of a shame that the people at FOX (and the other studios making TV product) seemingly fail to realize that there *are* indeed many people who won't buy unless they can get every season of a show, who will not commit to buying until they know they can "Get Them All".

    I wish the studios had more of the "Collector's Mindset" with regard to TV shows on DVD. Because I, too, am of the mindset of desiring all episodes of certain favorite shows. And I know there are many, many more people out there who feel this way too.

    Let's face it: DVD releases like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "M*A*S*H", and "Friends" are considered highly "collectible" items by most (or a lot anyway) of DVD buyers. And most people who buy Season 1 of *any* series are gonna, most likely, want follow-ups!

    And even years ago, during the VHS era, studios produced "Best Of" boxed sets of VHS Tapes, and no doubt had to incur the wrath of fans who griped about the episode selection, or "Why can't we get complete seasons released?!", and this sort of thing. (This is verified by looking at various old Customer Reviews of older VHS TV boxes at Amazon.com.)

    I truly wish the studios would look at TV-on-DVD with this "Collector's" mentality more often. Because I think if they did see the potential advantages of releasing ALL seasons of certain shows, regardless of how JUST the first season might or might not sell, I really think that they'd make the overall profit needed to support such "Complete Series" releases. So, even if S.1 sells like crap, they'll still know that there are MANY people who will BUY THEM ALL once the whole series is released. Why don't they just "commit" to produce a very small number of Season 1 boxes of EVERY series released? Seems like this would make the most sense. Then, if it sells, have more copies duplicated. Some people might have to wait a while; but, heck, that's better than never getting it.

    I wholeheartedly agree with thread-starter Jaime here .... It's frustrating NOT KNOWING what's to come (esp. when you really want 'em all -- right now! [​IMG]). But, there's not much we can do about it I guess (unless someone can hypnotize the FOX DVD execs into supporting the idea of "No-Frills MTM-2 thru MTM-7 for a friendly low MSRP" [​IMG]).

    The following subliminal message needs to be sent to each member of FOX Home Entertainment......

    "A no-frills MTM-2 WILL sell...
    If you don't produce it, you'll go to He**...
    A no-frills MTM-2 WILL sell..."
    [​IMG]

    Just my $0.02. (Plus a $0.01 gratuity. [​IMG])
     
  12. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    The problem, or should I say that the reason studios can't and don't take this mentality is that it is impossible for them to know whether or not a person is not buying a release of a show because they're waiting for future seasons, or because they simply don't want it. If a studio were to say put all 7 seasons of a TV show out on the market just assuming that once all 7 were out there it would sell big, and then that studio found out that the show under performed, then they would be out a lot more money than they are the way they do it now. Here's one other possible effect. If studios were to start to think that a good portion of their revenue would be made on a series once the whole thing hit DVD, what's to say that they wouldn't just stop with incremental releases all together and just release all the seasons of a show to the market at once. That to me would have disaster written all over it.
    Now the way the studios do things, they have this advantage. They know that how well a first season release does can likely be projected throughout the run of the series. So, they sell their 500,000 or whatever copies of M*A*S*H season 1 now, their 500,000 of season 2 when that is released and so on through season 11. That's wonderful, and then after season 11 finally hits the shelves, they get a few of those holding out for the whole series to go back and buy copies of all the seasons, its like the cherry on the sunday. Given this, I don't see why any studio would want to think with the collector in mind, when this way will work just fine for them.


    I wonder, if maybe they shouldn't look to the way some shows have been handled IE:
    1. In the case of short seasons, releasing seasons 1 and 2 at the same time in the same set, like say a 13 episode first season or shorter and a 22-24 episode second season. Then at least it would give the illusion that more seasons are coming out.
    2. Perhaps, taking an approach similar to Image on the Dick Van Dyke sets, which IMO was actually a big risk because they had no way of knowing how this, an older show would sell, especially with such a high price point. But, this big risk would've been a lot smaller for a show say like Friends.

    Like I said before though, I know why you don't see this happen as often, because its better to lose money on a single release than it is to lose money on 2 releases.
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Good points, as usual, Casey. [​IMG]


    Yeah, I know that.
    My previous posting was based on pure "wishful thinking" and out-&-out selfishness (I admit). [​IMG]

    I'm sure a lot of people have the ol' selfish outlook when it comes to these things, and cannot understand WHY XXX series doesn't have a DVD release for
    EVERY single season.

    Although I truly believe a classic such as MTM (if given a chance on further, lower-priced releases) would indeed produce a profit. This was probably the mindset of Mr. Brownstein and Image Ent. re. the Dick Van Dyke series of DVDs. They KNEW that it was too good a show to fall on its face (despite a relatively-high MSRP, I'll grant you). Therefore, they produced all 5 seasons at virtually the same time. I'd love it if some studio would do that very same thing for "Andy Griffith", "The Fugitive (1963)", and some others. Just might pay off. In my estimation, it *would* for sure. Because the shows are considered first-rate by a lot of Baby-Boomers. And a lot of "Boomers" are buying a lot of DVDs nowadays. [​IMG]
     
  14. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    David, I here you, and know where your coming from, I often have that selfish outlook myself. My point in saying this is simply to stte that while I know why a studio does things the way they do, or might do things the way they might it still doesn't mean its easier for me to handle. I'm right there always waiting for a TVShowsOnDVD.com headline that says: "Mary and Lou come out for Season 2," or something like that only not terrible.
     
  15. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Somewhat off topic, but as David VP mentioned Green Acres in his first post, I've just got to say my last 2 and this post were being typed while watching Green Acres.

    I can't wait for which ever season has the episode where Eb kept guessing the name of all the songs played on the radio even though it was all the same tune. That to me is the most frustrating part of this whole thing, waiting forever to get to the season that contains my favorite episode of a show. A couple of my favorite M*A*S*H episodes are from season 8 or 9, and its just killing me.
     
  16. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    I concur.
    Just knowing that "Chuckles" is "Biting The Dust" while *not* on DVD is brutal...just plain wrong! [​IMG]

    Just had a thought ..... I wonder if we're likely to see a "Best Of" type of dealie for MTM in the future (instead of FULL season sets of subsequent seasons)??

    I don't much favor the BEST OF platform for DVD releases...but if it's the *only* way we'll get *any* other episodes, I'd bite. (And, of course, "Chuckles" would certainly be on any such Mary BEST OF disc.)
     
  17. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Here Here!

    If they did a best of, this would have to be on it, and of course I'd bite, I'd also like it if they put the gambling one on there, just Ted's reaction at the end when he finds out what Lou did, and then what Mary does with the courtain gets me all the time.

    I give you a quote...

    Mary: "Come on Pittsburgh!! Which one's Pittsburgh?"
    Lou: "They're the ones congradulating the Winners."

    Anyway, I can't think of a way to tie this back to the original topic so I'll stop.
     
  18. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Yes, very good choice... "The System" was the episode.

    "TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?!!?? ... I BET TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS??" [​IMG]
     
  19. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I'd get a best of too,,, but I'm being drawn into this circle now. A lot of us have complained when a 'best of' disk did come out. No one wanted to buy them because they wanted the entire season(s) in sets.

    Isn't this self-defeating? I wonder how many series have not come out because of the poor sales of the best of's.

    Glenn
     
  20. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Glenn, you ask a great question, and one I don't even have a guess for, but I am one of those that bought the 2 best of MWC discs hoping that Columbia would decide to release season sets, which they've decided to do which makes me happy. I still keep the best of discs around mainly because they have some funnier episodes from seasons that will take awhile to come out on DVD, so they're still worth it to me. Though, Married with Children was about the only show that I've bought best of releases for, The Simpsons, Spin City and the Muppet Show being the other 3.
     

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