If studios released TV shows in their full seasons for download .....

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by john mcfadden, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. john mcfadden

    john mcfadden Stunt Coordinator

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    Would'nt it be great if the powers that be set it up for you to download entire seasons (legally) of the shows you want no matter how obscure , forgotten , whatever... For a fee (depending on the show) and thus enabled you to burn them to DVD-r's ? after you have purchased them ?

    I've read so many posts about when is this coming out and when will that see the light of day , and trust me i have my own lists too ....

    Would it be cheaper for them to post them as downloadable files and just charge a bulk fee (per season ) instead of worring about replicating fees ?? ..or any other fees ??


    I know there are holes in my idea but dammit that would be nice

    Because i dont see a box set of the Matt Frewer comedy series "Doctor, Doctor" showing up any time soon

    I'd pay 30 bucks a season to watch this one again......
     
  2. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

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    lol, it'd suck for those of us losers who are still on dial-up
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    That's not that farfetched. Except for the fact that you could resell it to someone else on the net....

    Minor problem, and the dial-up, which I am on too, would suck.

    However, I'd rather have the disks in my hands. Can you see your hard drive crashing during a transfer? Ouch!

    What I would like to see is to be able to pick an episode, and pay a price and have them mail it to me. If I stacked up three or four that would fit on one disk, I'd get a discount on the rest. If I picked too many I'd get charged for a second disk cost.

    If a season of 22 episodes runs say, $44 for the season, that is $2 per episode, (and this includes pressing and packaging, and all that stuff. What if they charged $3 for each one?

    You can pick any show that is already out and each episode is a file of some sort. What would be so hard about setting a program where I could just click on the ones that I wanted, and even add episodes from other shows that the studio carried? I can't see any other fees showing up that they haven't already covered in the season box sets. They would already know that from the season release price.

    Glenn
     
  4. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    This is a post I made in another thread where the same idea came up:

    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
     
  5. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    You're talking about shows that haven't been released yet. (I wouldn't want to even go there). I was talking about sets that are already out. The new fees and such have already been calculated for the retail DVD release.

    Glenn
     
  6. MaraKM

    MaraKM Stunt Coordinator

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    I think we will see download-sales in some form over the next years. Obviously, Gord's right about the licensing & residual issues. But it's already been reported that Netflix is looking into selling via downloads. And not every show has horrendous licensing & restoration problems, so for some of them cutting out the manufacturing & inventory management costs would make a download profitable.

    I think we'll eventually see something like iTunes for video downloads. And I think the studios may start using downloads as a way to test the market--putting a single episode up for sale via download to see how many people would really spend money on it before committing to putting it out at retail.

    Fact is, the genie is out of the bottle. Studios can rail against the peer-to-peer networks, and sue people like the RIAA did over music-sharing, but they'd be better off finding a way to give people a legal alternative to do what they've grown accustomed to doing, and, ultimately, I'm sure they will do so.
     
  7. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    Ah, sorry Glenn, I misunderstood what you were saying.

    Gord
     
  8. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    That's ok Gord, I wasn't positive we were talking about the same thing either! [​IMG] I figured that if I could get this past you though, I had an idea that they could profit from.

    There are some series' out where I don't want the whole thing on, because most of the episodes were just ok, and not great. I've seen some of the "Best of's" that are out there, and I don't think that those were the best.

    It might show the studios something too. If they got a ton of requests for the same shows, they'd probably be even better off if they ran off a new "Best of..." and sold it.

    Glenn
     
  9. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    I found this website http://ultimatetvshows.com , as I am frustrated about the lack of Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere releases. Heck, I started buying the VHS tapes as they were released by Columbia House, only to have them stop production after the first season.

    But, is this downloading legal? (I haven't tried it yet)
     
  10. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    No, it's not legal at all.

    Gord
     
  11. Wendy_L

    Wendy_L Supporting Actor

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    I would definitely pay $3 an episode to just have my favorite episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Quantum Leap" and "X-Files" on DVD. There are also a few other shows that I wouldn't mind having the odd episode here and there.

    I hope a service like that does become available one day.
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    It would be bandwidth and storage prohibative for most people to download entire seasons of a TV series, and as Gordon notes, this model would be a non-starter for new releases. (The lion's share of DVD production cost coming in digitization, restoration, mastering, licesnsing and residuals - fixed costs that are going to apply regardless of the distribution media. DVD replication is comparatively cheap, and even packaging and shipping don't add that much to the cost, not when compared to the infrastructure needed to let thousands of people connect to your servers and downloads gigabytes of information.)

    It would be an interesting thing to do after a series release is complete and they've pretty much wrung all the intial sales out of the die-hard fans. There are shows that I wasn't a major fan of but which have a few episodes I really liked - or old shows from the 60s that ran forever and where I haven't seen all the episodes, or where collecting the whole thing would be too expensive. (How many years did the various Lucy shows cover? How much would it cost to own all of Gunsmoke or Bonanza? Too much for me, I can tell you - but there are certainly classic episodes that I fondly remember from all of them that I'd love to own. And Glenn's right, the studio's idea of what constitutes the "Best of" is not likely to coincide with my tastes or anyone else's. Downloads would be a way of allowing people to cherry pick. Another would be a web-based selection system that would allow the studios to burn "X" number of episodes to DVD, watermarked and copy-protected, and mail the DVD to you. No fancy labels or packaging - you can do that yourself - just the shows. That would help them prevent unauthorized duplication while still making the process streamlined and cost-effective.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  13. Wendy_L

    Wendy_L Supporting Actor

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    Joe, I wish you ruled the world and you could make that happen. You would be my new best friend! [​IMG]
     
  14. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I'd go for something like this if you could get the REALLY obscure stuff that's been sitting in the vaults for decades. I'd check out literally anything old that was available exactly the way it first aired with commercials, show promos and news breaks intact. One of my holy grails has been Saturday morning cartoon blocks from the 70s or earlier.
     
  15. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    I've heard all this stuff about content via download before, and while its nice in theory, there's a few things that I see as being problems that would keep this from happening anytime soon.

    1. Availability of high speed internet, its still amazingly enough not available everywhere, so you've still got a fair number of users working with dial up and for them, that would really suck. Things like DVD players are a lot easier to get in to the homes of customers.

    2. Consumer confidence. What if your hard-drive crashes during a download? What if a virus comes and wipes out your system before you can burn everything you want to DVDR? Would you have to rebuy the download? Plus, for shows that are already out, if I downloaded lets say an episode from season 5 of the Simpsons, could I get the audio commentary that's with it, or the scenes deleted from it? People still like holding the DVD in their hands, which is why IMO, the idea of downloading content while nice for some would never really become a big deal, at least not without a few things taking place first. I would appreciate the choice, but I'd still choose the DVD.
     
  16. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Not a bad idea, but I don't think it'll ever fly. For one thing, anyone who owns content these days seems to think that they have the right to control what you do with it once you download it, so it'd likely be DRMed to death, making it both expensive and less useful than users would want (e.g. only low res or no burning to DVD). It would also have to be significantly cheaper than buying the DVDs (for me, 1/3 to 1/2 the price-otherwise I'd just buy the discs).

    I'd suspect that on demand video from cable companies will expand to fill this niche instead.
     
  17. John Carr

    John Carr Stunt Coordinator

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    Guys and gals, let's face it. Most of us are collectors and we like adding new TV box sets to the shelf, and then adding new shelves, new rooms to fill with our collections... Sorry, but downloading and burning CDs -- for most of us -- will never replace shiny bright and colorful boxes and discs from the studios.

    Most of us at this forum are genetically overloaded on the collector part of the 'hunter and collector' genes that made our primal ancestors such successful scavengers!

    I remember at age 4 picking up discarded matchbook covers from the sidewalk and 'collecting' them. I went through all the usual kiddy collections, bottletops, matchboxes, stamps, coins and paperbacks. As I grew older and became reconciled to (rationalized) my 'condition,' I realized that if I was going to collect stuff, it might as well be stuff that was 'useful' as well, that is, books I could read, records (later reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, CDs)that I could listen to and, most recently, movies and TV shows I can watch. Now, I enjoy my possessions guilt free, realizing they are an expression of both my genetic makeup and my good taste. [​IMG]

    My first wife was not a reader or collector and we had lots of problems. My second wife is both a reader and collector; of course, our house is stuffed, but it's filled with 'good stuff'! When I re-built the house, the first thing I did when it was finished was build an all oak library and put wall-to-wall shelving in my office. I've really enjoyed filling those shelves, let me tell you!

    So, as far as downloads go: they're okay for occasional items to check out -- although Netflixs does quite well, but otherwise not up to 'this' collector's standards!
     
  18. Robert Cruz

    Robert Cruz Stunt Coordinator

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    I think it's a great idea...especially when it comes to shows that only has a few good episodes here and there. Saved by the Bell being a show where I would never buy a complete season for, but I would get a few episodes which I happen to like. I have downloaded stuff from eMule (only to sample one or two episodes from a couple of shows...I went out and brought the DVDs shortly after liking what I saw), and since I have a cable connection, it doesn't take very long. I'm all for this idea of paying a small fee to download episodes one at a time.
     
  19. TedT

    TedT Second Unit

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    If I'M going to do all the work by downloading (on my crappy DSL connection) and burning to DVD, it better be a low price (say $10 for a season).
     
  20. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Call me old fashioned, but I like keeping my TV and computer separate. I don't even watch DVDs on my computer, let alone download anything.

    It is much easier to just buy a box set of a season than it would be to download each episode, hope they all tranferred ok, burn them to DVD, make sure you have space on your computer, etc.
     

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