Columbia House TV Library Being Discontinued

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Brian Himes, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    I thought I let everyone know who is a subscriber to any Columbia House TV Library that in a letter I received dated 10/31/05, that Columbia House is discontinuing all of their DVD library titles.

    In the letter that was sent out to subscribers there is good news however. If you contact Columbia House by 11/29/05, you will be given a chance to purchase any of the remaining DVDs for the series that you are currently subscribed to. For instance, I was getting the Carol Burnett DVDs and I was able to purchase the final four DVDs in the set that I needed to complete the set. Also, they are offering free shipping on all purchases and each DVD that you purchase you will receive the title at 40% off. Again, this is only available to folks who are currently subscribers in the TV library and it's only for the current series that you are subscribing to.

    The letter doesn't state if the VHS tapes for TV shows are also being discontinued, but it does state that the library is being discontinued so I assune that it applies to VHS as well as the DVDs.
     
  2. JohnOPR

    JohnOPR Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian

    I've been getting the Carol Burnett series, too, currently waiting to get volume 24 this month. How many more are in the set? I'm certain I'll follow your lead and get the rest, also. Was just wondering how many discs are in the complete set.

    Someday, when these things are out of print, you and I will make a million when we sell them on EBay. Seriously, I don't think I'd ever part with my copies.
    Classics!

    John
     
  3. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    I was getting Perry Mason but gave it up after volume 12. I was getting scratched discs, one right after another. Course i was returning the scratched ones, and getting them replaced. But the hassel of an hour (on hold) on the phone with customer service and $25 price got to be a pain. On a side note they were going to turn me in to collections for not paying for Smallville season 1. I never ordered, or received, Smallville from them. But i did get a nasty letter. Again i was on hold for an hour with customer service to straighten them out. Bad customer service, high prices, and no more Columbia House only releases, it was only a matter of time.
     
  4. Tony S

    Tony S Stunt Coordinator

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    Doesn't suprise me that they are discontinuing this. With season sets now the norm, it makes no sense to charge $25 for a handful of episodes. I expected this last year when they started the TV edition of the club.
     
  5. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    Hey John,

    There are a total of 31 volumes in the Carol Burnett set. I got off really lucky with this. I just got volume 27 two weeks ago and now this happens. As it is, the last four volumes only cost me $46.00! What a savings. I mean two volumes cost me $50.00! I'd say anyone who is close to completing a series with Columbia House that they should seriously consider the final volumes that they neeed for a full set. Since this has been the only way to get full episodes of Carol Burnett it was a no-brainer for me.
     
  6. JohnOPR

    JohnOPR Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Brian

    It's a no-brainer for me, too. I'm calling Columbia House today. Most assuredly want those final discs!

    All the best
    John
     
  7. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

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    I haven't gotten any letters from CH. It's a shame because I subscribed to the PM and Wild Wild West. Those are not out on dvd and don't look to be in the future.

    I don't know what type of licensing agreement CH has but I wish they could sell the volumes on their tv club and order them seperately.
     
  8. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I purchased the first 10 volumes (the first 31 episodes in order) of The Wild Wild West from Columbia House and they look great! [​IMG] Didn't have a problem with any of them. The only problem I did have was that they didn't have any more copies in stock of Volumes 11 through 15, so there are at least 5 more discs of more 2nd season episodes I don't own.

    I was never a member of their WWW club though. I bought those through their DVD movie club individually and collectively at various times in 2004.
     
  9. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    I don't why anyone would purchase those subscriptions. They contain two episodes per tape and take up way too much room. I would just dukmp them or have them transfered to DVD.
     
  10. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

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    The problem is that PM and WWW are not available in season sets. The only way to get these were through CH. It wasn't the best solution but it was the only solution.

    It's a shame that CH didn't have the courtesy to send me a letter letting me know about this. Very poor customer service.
     
  11. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    It was a horrible program from a horrible company to begin with. I'm just glad I got all my Woody Woodpecker discs before they went oop and started fetching ridiculous prices on Ebay. Even if it did take many angry phone calls and months to get them all!
     
  12. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I hated Columbia House, but ya know, 10 years ago they were the only show in town. It sucked. It utterly sucked, when you think about it. Here's how I saw it:

    1.) The vhs tapes cost $19.95 each, for about 2 hours of entertainment: either 2 hour-long eps, or 3 or 4 1/2 hour eps.

    2.) The tapes came a whole month apart.

    3.) Lots of videotapes take up lots of room in your home. A season of Star Trek would be about 14 video cassettes, vs. the cute dvd season sets, which takes up the space of about 1 and 1/2 video cassettes.

    4.) Usually, and especially in the case of sitcoms, the episodes were out of order. In most cases, they were built around some stupid "theme."

    5.) The packaging was always good, but it got repetitive and redundant. Every single volume of each series looked exactly the same, except for minor changes in lettering. This made for some pretty boring household displays.

    6.) The sets were not always complete series collections. There are some exceptions, for instance, all of Lost in Space and Star Trek were distributed this way. However, upon ordering a set for the first time, you'd never know WHAT you were going to get. For instance, I subscribed to the Bewitched tapes. I got 4 eps per tape, all built around some stupid theme, like "the Tates," and the eps were mixed up among the first 3 seasons. Well, I was satisfied enough with them, but they got to tape #10 and stopped. I gave it a couple months, called Columbia House and they said, nope, that's all we made. So now I'm stuck with 10 Bewitched tapes, all the eps out of order, together costing me $250 or so (don't forget to add the $5 or so for shipping).
    Well, listen, my dears, I am now the proud owner of two dvd sets of Bewitched. Together they cover some SIXTY eps of the show, all in order, and together they've so far cost me about $45.00. UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE.

    Yes, I do very much resent the bad economics of my having bought ANY CH sets in the past. I had probably 100 of the damn things. I don't WANT to think about the money I spent. However, there's a little less ugliness now and then. I don't regret buying Soap, because there are scenes on Soap that don't exist on the dvd sets. Same with the Lost in Space tapes, which many fans consider to be superior to the dvds, (although I sold my Lost in Space tapes ages ago).

    Yeah, in retrospect I'm pretty unhappy that I ever bought so darn many CH tapes, but I have no one to blame but myself. Thank god for dvd season sets, it just opened up so many more opportunities.

    (I'm just hoping that the next format doesn't blow away the concept of season sets, cause then I'd be really po'd).
     
  13. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I did indeed get Wild Wild West on DVD because they were -- and still are, the only way to buy that series. (Although WWW was released through Columbia House on videotape in the previous decade).

    They are 3 episodes to a disc, and the last black & white shows have 4 on it.

    I can't understand why Columbia House charges so much to give customers so little in terms of program content, but I knew that for WWW it was worth it. All of the ones I bought look wonderful. The images are as sharp and crystal clear as the 1980s re-syndicated episodes, but uncut and without edits.

    But one thing hasn't changed since Columbia House's TV series on tape days that still applies to their DVDs: The thin disc covers with B & W photos of West and Gordon on every single Wild Wild West disc are exactly the same, and that goes for the color shows as well!! It does make it harder to put them in order, unless you check the volume number on the side of the packaging.
     
  14. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > Doesn't suprise me that they are discontinuing this.

    The real reason is because they merged with BMG.
     
  15. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    I'm glad that the only sets that I purchased from them are Soap and Carol Burnett. At least with Soap I got stuff that isn't on the DVDs and with Carol, I'm getting complete uncut shows. I serioulsy doubt that we'll ever get complete season sets of Carol Burnett.

    I just wish that Columbia House had been able to get some of the better episodes of Carol. Most of the ones on these DVDs are pretty lack-luster shows. After about the 10th volume or so, the shows contained stuff that had never been released as part of the syndicated Carol Burnett and Friends shows. While Carol & Friends has many, many classic skits and moments. I'm pleased with the Columbia House set, but it could have been better.
     
  16. AndySvn

    AndySvn Agent

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    "I'm just glad I got all my Woody Woodpecker discs before they went oop and started fetching ridiculous prices on Ebay. Even if it did take many angry phone calls and months to get them all!"

    I got the Woody Woodpecker series also as well as the Dexter's Laboratory series (which still hasn't been released). I remember getting the Animated Batman series when Warners was still procrastinating about releasing it. Columbia House released a lot of hard-to-find TV series and they will be sorely missed by me. [​IMG]
     
  17. JohnOPR

    JohnOPR Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian

    Regarding "The Carol Burnett Show," would you happen to know if the skit "Jowls" (a take off on the movie "Jaws") is on any of the discs 21 thru 31? That was a really good one, but I don't recall seeing it anywhere in volumes 1 thru 20.

    Contacted Columbia House via e-mail and was promised that the remaining discs in this series that I still don't have (24-31) will be shipped in the near future.

    John
     
  18. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Yes, it could've been better, but as you say, 62 uncut original-length shows are better than none.

    Perhaps the reasons behind the selection of shows had more to do with the music licencing? I know Carol and the musicians had to come to a special arrangement on royalty payments just to enable these releases in the first place, so perhaps episodes with songs that would've been too expensive, or impossible, to licence (such as anything with Beetles songs, as I'm told the current rights holder won't licence them) were passed over for shows that contained musical numbers by composers whose songs are either easy/cheaper to licence, or are P.D.

    To those of you who complain about the quantity of material versus price: you must understand Columbia's library started in the early 1980s. Those of you who are old enough, think back to what TV on video was like at the time: very few shows were distributed, and those that were typically only had a few "best of" (or TV pilot movie) volumes released. Remember when Paramount started their program to release all of Star Trek, after the previous six double-episode volumes? These came one episode per tape for a RRP of $14.95! When the Columbia House volumes came out, they seemed a much better deal in comparison as you got two episodes per tape, enabling you to have your collection in half the space!

    All throughout the '80s and early '90s (or really, until DVD became mainstream) $20 for two hours of programming was the norm. At the time, it didn't seem all that bad, as that was the going rate. They were the only outlet (short of bootleggers or taping edited reruns off of TV) to get hold of many of the series in their collections. No wonder it was fairly successful for so long.

    Now, some of you may say, "well, why didn't Columbia change with the times"? I'd say part of the problem is that as it was catering to a small "niche" market, they probably had to keep the prices that high to cover the licencing costs versus how many copies they expected to sell, especially in the case of Carol Burnett.
     
  19. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

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    I'm up to vol 22 on PM and I know about vol 23. Does anyone know how high they go and what episodes they contain if any?
     
  20. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    John,

    The Jowls skit hasn't shown up yet. I'm not sure about volumes 28-31 since I don't have those yet, but if it does I'll let you know.

    Andy, I agree with you totally. Columbia House used to be the only game in town.
     

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