Question for the "Insiders"

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mark To, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    What exactly do the studios consider acceptable sales on a season release for them to continue? Is there a magic number they look to hit? Also, do they have any knowledge of their product? For instance, I'm not a Mary Tyler Moore expert but I do know that many fans of the show like the later seasons much more than the first and that those might sell better. There are other shows with similar stories where the show did not hit its stride until a couple of years in. But since all shows seem to be issued in order, what about a show who's initial season wasn't that good and which doesn't sell well. Do they then not issue further sets even though they would be more popular?
     
  2. Joshua Lane

    Joshua Lane Second Unit

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    It's hard to say if there's a "magic number" for sales of season sets because each one has it's own specific costs and fees. Some shows will cost more to put out because of music licensing rights, fees for special features, etc. On the flipside, some shows cost very little to put out if none of those fees are incurred. You also have to take into consideration the packaging design and remastering fees.

    If you look at Fox's release of M*A*S*H, you'll see that it's a basic low-cost barebones season set release. There isn't any music to clear (that I know of), the packaging is as simple as it gets and there likely wasn't much remastering done, if at all. The reason for this is because Fox expected low sales and to make the releases profitable, they had to keep their production costs as low as possible.

    However, if you look at their release of the Buffy or Angel sets, you'll see that they have sprung for better packaging, better audio/video, better special features, etc. This is because there's a certain level of sales those sets will generate that will cover the extra costs involved in producing the sets.

    So, essentially, the "magic number" is different for each release because it depends on how much they spent to make the set. Unfortunately, Mary Tyler Moore didn't hit that magic number and that's why there haven't been any future releases. Even if the later seasons are "better", trends indicate that the first seasons will always sell the most and while sales are fairly consistent with later seasons, it does trail off a little bit. Sets that aren't the first season, rarely, if ever sell better. And while companies do know their product, it's hard to determine exactly how much sales will be generated on any given title that is new to the marketplace. They certainly have statistice and whatnot to base their decisions on, but it's not an exact science.

    All that being said, I think a decent "magic number" to look to is 100,000 copies as far as season sets are concerned. I remember reading an article a while back that stated the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Vol. 1 set had sold 50,000 copies in it's first few weeks or so. Given that it was released prior to Christmas (Nov 18th), I figured that it would probably sell another 50,000 or so through the holiday and on into the new year giving it a total of somewhere around 100,000. That seems to have been good for Warner because they're planning another release this June. The set was pretty "standard" in it's special features... a few deleted scenes and commentary tracks ...and the packaging was nice, but not elaborate. All around, it was a fairly middle-of-the-road release so it's a good template of sorts.

    Of course, the above magic number will only work if you can find out how many copies a season set actually sold... those stats aren't readily available.
     
  3. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    ATHF has gotta be a goldmine. It seems to really be picking up steam, as I know a lot of people who are just flat-out blind-buying it. All I know is Warner sure was quick to announce the second release, while the Adult Swim pioneer (Space Ghost) still awaits a second release date.

    Thinking about the points mentioned above, I'm still waiting for the first studio with the courage to release season sets out of order. As I typed that, I realized that this has already happened with "The Real World", so let me amend that to say the first studio with the courage to release season sets of a comedy or drama series with some semblance of continuity out of order.

    Can you see Paramount skipping all the glamour and going right to the season when Fonzy jumped the shark to kick off its "Happy Days" DVD line? [​IMG]
     
  4. MaraKM

    MaraKM Stunt Coordinator

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    A&E has done releases out of order for The Avengers & The Saint - starting with the seasons in color, then going back and doing the black & white episodes.
     

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