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Crowdfunding as a way forward for shows like The Defenders

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Your Tulpa, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Your Tulpa

    Your Tulpa Auditioning

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    Are there any other examples of crowdfunding campaigns for classic TV shows other than Blondie and Ozzie and Harriet? I know that neither of those turned out very well but I can't help but wonder if this could be a viable option for shows with small but very dedicated fan bases, like the Defenders. It just seems ridiculous to me that all these brilliant shows should remain buried in the modern era with all of the options of technology and whatnot.

    I don't really know what I'm talking about, and I don't really have anything all that substantive to say, I just want to watch the classic dramas from the early sixties in decent quality.:(:huh:
     
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  2. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    You're right, you don't know what you're talking about. O&H is independently owned and PD, as is Blondie. Any of the shows you are speaking of are owned by major studios.
     
  3. Larry.P

    Larry.P Stunt Coordinator

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    I can see it working for independently owned shows or shows being released through a minor label. I have a lot of respect for what Classic Flix tried to do with Blondie - and in the end they still delivered a quality product. It's a difficult sell to tell someone that a multi-billion dollar company with deep pockets like CBS needs money from your pocket because they can't afford to release a show.
     
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  4. Message #4 of 21 Dec 5, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    Your Tulpa

    Your Tulpa Auditioning

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    I remember reading that Shout Factory having to do new film transfers for the 1st season of The Defenders made it difficult for them to make much profit on the show. Would some sort of campaign to help pay these costs be impossible?

    It seems like the opportunity to see the full run in all of its glory was there, the show even sold well, but not quite enough. It bugs me.
     
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  5. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Transfer costs per season are approximately $12K. Give Shout a call and ask them if you plopped down a check for that amount if they would consider putting out season two. Good luck.
     
  6. Darby67

    Darby67 Screenwriter

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    Neil:

    Is that 12k figure for the per season transfer costs speculative or a reasonable approximation? If it is reasonable, 36k to cover the transfer costs for the remaining 3 seasons does not strike me as completely outside the realm of possibility in terms raising such revenue via crowdfunding or other means (provided both CBS and Shout can be convinced that releasing more seasons is economically feasible for both of them). It's just a thought.
     
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  7. Darby67

    Darby67 Screenwriter

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    Larry:

    I agree that CBS asking the public for money to release the remaining seasons of The Defenders is kinda of like Walmart asking a school district for a tax break to build a store within the district.
     
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  8. Darby67

    Darby67 Screenwriter

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    Neil:

    Your point about the economic realities is well made, but the tone is a bit harsh. Your Tulpa strikes me as another excited fan of 1960s tv shows generally and The Defenders specifically that is just brainstorming about possible ways to see seasons 2, 3, and 4 get released. I, myself, have been known to be guilty of such enthusiasm :D
     
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  9. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    And, even if transfers were funded for another season, continuing would be contingent on the show selling the same number of units for each season, which never happens as the traditional dropoff after first season releases is 50%.
     
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  10. Your Tulpa

    Your Tulpa Auditioning

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    It's too bad that these shows can't garner a new audience the same way that the feature-length film equivalent can.
     
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  11. Carabimero

    Carabimero Producer
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    If it never happens, how can it be contingent on it?
     
  12. Message #12 of 21 Dec 15, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
    Mark McFurbin

    Mark McFurbin Stunt Coordinator

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    The 50's Blondie series that ClassicFlix just released is not PD. They are all registered/renewed by Hal Roach with valid copyright notices. It is now owned by Sonar Entertainment.

    However, the short lived 60's Color Blondie series was never registered for copyright.
     
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  13. Brent Reid

    Brent Reid Supporting Actor

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    Ozzie and Harriet isn't fully public domain by any means. Besides which, artistic works can't be both "independently owned and PD": it's a contradiction in terms.

    I applaud the OP's well-meaning enthusiasm; he may be lacking in technical knowledge and perhaps could have picked more relevant examples, but his idea is hardly without merit. We should all be more encouraging: many folk in the business got started in a similar way, even down to the many crowd-funded releases of silent and classic films now appearing on an increasingly frequent basis.

    OP: do your research, identify a work you want to see released that has a reasonable chance of success, and set the crowdfunding wheels in motion. You'll find lots of fans here and elsewhere willing to back your cause!
     
  14. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Its based on a reasonable approximation of what I'm surmising they paid for the first season. However, one can't just open up a page asking for money and then dump it into a company's lap and say, here's some cash, now get cracking and release this show. They would have to come out and ask for the money themselves and I don't see any major company that's going to do that.
     
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  15. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Ozzie and Harriet WAS independently owned, and yes, all 435 episodes are public domain. The show was never registered for copyright with Library of Congress, nor could it have been, as the shows themselves don't even have a proper copyright notice on the films.
     
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  16. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I wish CBS would do a crowd funding plan for Star Trek DS9, and Voyager. They want to see them in HD as bad as the fans do, but the $20 million price per series is prohibitive. Simply put without the help of the fans, we will never see those series in high definition.
     
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  17. Message #17 of 21 Dec 17, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
    Darby67

    Darby67 Screenwriter

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    Neil, thanks for the further elaboration.

    So, realistically speaking, you see zero chance of CBS licensing the remaining three seasons to Shout for release, correct?
     
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  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Hopefully the price of the work will come down as technology continues to improve/become cheaper to use, and that it'll eventually reach a tipping point where CBS feels compelled to do the work to future proof the shows.

    Though we're not quite there yet, I think we're near a point where modern broadcast and cable networks, and popular streaming services, will begin to shun standard definition content. Many consumers already do; if they see that one show or movie is on Netflix but only in SD, and another similar choice in HD, they'll pick the HD one. It's to CBS' benefit to have all of Star Trek available on current services. I love what CBS did with The Next Generation, and those discs are among my prized possessions - but I wonder if they went about it the wrong way by doing it season by season. They might have better luck doing a mix of licensing deals where different streaming services pay a fee to get exclusive streaming rights to an HD version, and by taking preorders for complete series sets on physical media. I still think it would probably have to be done at a loss up front, but I think over time, the money could be recouped.

    CBS is having hard time figuring out how to make their classic programming more readily available in HD. They killed any chance of I Love Lucy or The Andy Griffith Show having a successful run on Blu-ray by releasing single seasons at extraordinarily high price points, and then extrapolating that a lack of sales at those prices and configurations meant that no one was interested at all. And then you have companies like Fox taking the opposite approach, paying to have series like M*A*S*H and Buffy The Vampire Slayer upgraded to HD but not releasing those HD versions on physical media.

    As someone who was happy to support crowd funding to help the 3D Film Archive get an obscure older title restored and remastered on 3D Blu-ray, I think it's a pretty neat idea. While in a perfect world, studios would rescue their own content, if it's something the studio has no interest in doing themselves and all I have to do is essentially pay the cost of my future disc purchase in advance to help them get the funds to do the work, I'm in. I wouldn't be interested in any crowdfunding thing where you spend a lot of money but don't actually get a copy of the disc in return, but as long as a copy of the show as one of the perks, there are definitely some shows and films I'd be interested in supporting.
     
  19. Stephen Bowie

    Stephen Bowie Stunt Coordinator

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    For something like The Defenders, I don't really see a logistical barrier to this. True, you couldn't bang on CBS's door and get their corporate bureaucracy interested in a chump-change Kickstarter campaign. But with a small or medium-sized licensor like Shout already in place, and one volume already in release to base sales estimates off of, I don't see why this couldn't happen if Shout wanted it to. Obviously they'd have to assume it still wouldn't sell, and build in enough profit to the fundraising target to make it worth their while. Maybe there's a contractual snag with CBS that would bar this approach, but I'm not sure what it would be.

    However: I just don't get the economics. If the market for The Defenders wasn't big enough to sell a decent amount of DVDs, where are the crowdfunding donors coming from? If, say, 1000 people paid $30 for the first season on DVD (and I bet it hasn't even sold that many copies), would 100 of them pay $300 for the second season? (Actually more like twice that, at least, since you'd need to make considerably more than the first season netted.) That seems unlikely. I feel like the only way this works is if there's a whale out there -- some rich nerd like Guillermo Del Toro or Lin-Manuel Miranda -- who happens to be a fan and would cover most of the cost, and/or flog it enough on social media to get their fans donating sight unseen. Otherwise you'd see the Kickstarter do about the same numbers as the preorders for season 1, and fail. Right?
     
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  20. Brent Reid

    Brent Reid Supporting Actor

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    You originally said "is" not "was": the contradiction in terms stands. Regardless of any other considerations, there are various underlying copyrights in the series, most notably with the music. Therefore, once again, Ozzie and Harriet isn't fully public domain by any means.

    Your first sentence is both brusque and ironic. ;)
     

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