Too many TV on DVD releases?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Chris Bergmann, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Chris Bergmann

    Chris Bergmann Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    0
    Now I know that every show (no matter how bad it is) has fans - so this is not a "Why is that crappy show being released on DVD" thread.

    But I am wondering if all those new releases aren't hurting the TV market as a whole.

    Why can't studios when they start releasing a show do the same as Paramount did with Star Trek and release all seasons of that show within a year and then do some other series after?

    This six-month-delay is starting to keep me from buying TV-DVDs.

    Just look at Magnum, p.i. for example - it'll probably take at least four years until all seasons are out. Who knows if we're even buying DVDs in four years anymore. I'm pretty sure that all of those HD-DVD formats will be a complete flop (because the general public will not want to upgrade) but what if it isn't?

    The fans of all shows (except Star Trek) will end up owning the first few seasons and will then have to start over.

    So instead of bringing out first season after first season, why can't Universal start releasing all seasons of Quantum Leap and Magnum, p.i. (for example) by the end of 2005?

    Why can't Paramount release all of Frasier and Cheers by the end of 2005?

    Instead they'll keep on giving us season one of every obscure TV show out there and in the end they'll end up killing the market because people are getting fed up with waiting for further seasons or starting with a show knowing they'll never be able to finish it.
     
  2. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,443
    Likes Received:
    166
    While I agree with your post in a general way (the recent Alf - Season One release was a disaster since it was comprised of the syndicated (cut) versions of those episodes), the fact of the matter is, you can't really use Star Trek as an example.

    Only Star Trek fans are fanatical enough to spend $700/year (which is what it costs to purchase all seven seasons of TNG, or DS9, or Voyager) on their favorite TV series.

    Most fans of most series can only rationalize paying up to $70-$90/year on their favorite show. For example, let's take Magnum P.I. which was a tremendously popular show when it aired in the '80's. Unlike the Star Trek season boxes (which typically streeted for $90), the first season of Magnum sold for around $45.00-$50.00 during its initial week of distribution. It would therefore probably cost the average fan around $400 to purchase the entire eight year run of Magnum if it were to be released during the course of one year. As popular as Magnum was, most of its fans would probably balk at that. However, many of those same fans will happily gobble up Season One, knowing that it might be six months to a year before the next box would be released. In the meantime, they seem to have no problem also purchasing a season of M*A*S*H or Knight Rider, or other series that they were fans of. In fact, they probably end up spending more on all their TV purchases combined than they would have been willing to spend on the eight seasons of Magnum in one year.

    So I really believe that for the average fan the proper marketing is being employed.

    However, I do agree that too much TV product is being pushed out without the proper care given to the material (as was the case with ALF.)
     
  3. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,443
    Likes Received:
    166


    We'll definitely still be purchasing TV product on DVD during the course of the next four years.

    I personally believe that Blu-Ray is going to "hit"; but only for movies and hi-def content. Most TV series produced prior to 2002 were in standard definition, of course, and would therefore gain nothing from a quality perspective from the Blu-Ray format. Now, it *would* be kind of neat to purchase an entire season of Magnum P.I. on just two discs; but Blu-Ray would have to be totally mainstream before we would see something like that. And it'll take a lot longer than 4 years IMO for that format to achieve that status!
     
  4. Matthew Green

    Matthew Green Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    What is Blue Ray? Is this supposed to be better than DVD?
     
  5. Jonny_L

    Jonny_L Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    I dont think an abundance of choice is ever a bad thing.

    However I have a bone to pick with Paramount, and to a lesser extent Universal over the price of their shows. I've been barking about it on eyecrave for months.

    In my local area $120 for a Star Trek season is considered cheap. They are usually $150 - $160. With tax thats $175 PER SEASON. Thats nuts. Most other shows in full season sets around here are $40 to $60. My local stores have Trek seasons piled up in the back of the stores because NO ONE IS BUYING THEM. I've been a Trek fan for years but that's way to much and I havent bought any sets. I can see $50 maybe, but no more. Universal does the same thing to a lesser extent with shows $20 to $30 overpriced.

    Please with a cherry on top LOWER THE PRICE OF YOUR STAR TREK BOXES IN HALF paramount. [​IMG]
     
  6. Jonny_L

    Jonny_L Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0


    Blu Ray is going to be one of two competing next generation optical formats that offers High Definition video. In my own personal opinion, because the Blu-Ray specs offer a limited benefit to upgrade for most consumers, it will probably only make it to a laserdisc type status at first. Support for it will come in the upcoming Playstation 3 and will be backwards compatible with DVD. Although, a fully implimented and reasonably priced product is prob 2 to 3 years away.

    There is a thread around here somewhere if you want to learn more about it.
     
  7. Burn Rourk

    Burn Rourk Agent

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't mind the pacing that TV-DVDs are being released. For example, as much as I love my 'Dark Shadows' sets, at $60 a set, it's been difficult to keep up with them on a monthly basis. In fact, I'm two (maybe three) sets behind right now because I've dared to use my cashflow to buy other series sets. Sure I live comfortably, and I have enough spending money to indulge my DVD appetite, but I can only handle so much before the wife starts complaining about a lack of groceries in the pantry.

    I can keep up with the 1-every-3-months pacing of sets like 'Buffy' and 'Angel', and I can pick these up the day they are released because I have plenty of time to plan ahead.

    As far as I'm concerned, they can release DVDs faster if they want to, but that doesn't mean I won't be leaving a box on the shelf to await a later payday.
     
  8. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think Chris is right, but he kept it short. Except for this, Chris - I WISH subsequent seasons came out every 6 months. Some have been much longer than that.

    What the studios have done is to create a 'fox and the grapes' situation. People are going to buy what they can afford and (ha, ha) save the rest for later, but by the time they get around to later, the other series that they want may no longer be around.

    If you had 2 series get released at the same time, with one being 8 seasons and the other 2, I'd be getting the eight first. (If it stayed on the tube for that long, it has to be good!)

    7 releases later the set that only had 2 seasons - well, it hasn't had anything new added to it for the last 6 release sets now, and has probably been sent back to the distributor's warehouse.

    But I still fell that the very worst part about what the studios are doing is not telling us when to expect the next season. Sure, some sets will be picked up on impulse buying, but I can easily see someone picking up season 3 of something, bringing it home and then realizing that they didn't get 1 or 2 yet, and when they go back to the store to get the other two (and REALLY empty a wallet), they'll probably not even be there.

    Glenn
     
  9. Chris Bergmann

    Chris Bergmann Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    0
    Speeding up the release of the bigger TV shows to quarterly releases isn't asking too much (especially if they have no or almost no extras).

    Just look at all the first seasons that are coming out in the next months - my guess is that at least half of them will never see a second season because of poor sales.

    There are two kinds of TV shows that sell well on DVD:

    1. The crowd pleasers - Friends, MASH, Magnum,p.i. - shows that everybody and their mothers buy.

    2. Cult shows - Babylon 5, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, Buffy - shows that have a very hardcore fanbase that will buy them under any circumstances.

    But many shows don't fall into either category and are bound to fail. Just look at the kind of shows that are coming up in the next few months.

    These "doomed" releases are bound to hurt the market as a whole and further delay the release of shows that have a chance of survivng.

    So instead of releasing the first season of every obscure TV show out there they should first make sure that the major TV shows are taken care of.
     
  10. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    Messages:
    9,209
    Likes Received:
    0

    Using Star Trek as a model for releasing othe other TV box sets would be a disaster, because as was said not every show has the strong fan base of Star Trek willing to pay these high prices.

    There are reasons why sets might experience delays.
    1. Music rights, the big one! The studio might want to release a season once every 3 months, but a stalled negotiation can hurt that.
    2. Sindication considerations. I don't know this for sure, but I think it is possible that current shows might have a sindication agreement not to release a season on DVD until it has spent X amount of time in Sindication. Again, I'm not sure if this is even a factor, but IMO it might be.
    3. Resources are limited. There are only so many replication fascilities, and you can only put so much in the pipeline, so a show that is selling better than another might get a higher priority in terms of being fast tracked.
    4. You don't want to blow through your most marketable properties in one fell swoop. If the studios release all of their top notch shows in a given time frame, then the ones they are left with will make them less marketable in the future. That's why it is important for a little while for the studio to hold back some of its stronger shows.

    Chris, I think your definitions of what sells on DVD are interesting but not always accurate. How would you classify a series such as What's Happening!!! that sold 100,000 plus copies of its first season? I wouldn't put it in the second catagory and it is too old to fit in to the first. Some of these shows that you consider obscure are not all that obscure at all. I suspect that a big percentage of these shows will do much better than you think. These shows don't all appeal to the same audience, in otherwards not everyone that buys Andy Griffith is going to buy Fresh Prince and the other way around, but there might be enough of a base for both audiences to make both shows successful.

    Strange how it is that we hear about how there is too much TV on DVD being released but the same problem is never expressed for films. Just like every film won't appeal to everyone, every TV show won't appeal to everyone.

    I've seen threads like this talking about the output of sets in 2003 as being too much, 2004 as being too much and 2005 as being too much and yet the industry is still growing.

    I couldn't catagorize any of the shows that WB is coming out with 2/8 as being obscure...none of what Paramount announced recently fits that catagory for me, and the same is true for Fox and Universal.

    The industry is growing that's why you're seeing more first season releases hitting the shelves, but you are also seeing more successful first season releases as you are seeing fewer and fewer shows suffering the fait of poor sales.
     
  11. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,443
    Likes Received:
    166
  12. John Carr

    John Carr Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, High Definition TV is coming in one of these 2 formats -- peronally, I refuse to put my money down until the dust settles...

    That's why I don't buy very many DVD movies (only older ones that are not wide screen and will probably be last in line for upgrades to HD) since HD DVD is coming. However, most TV shows, certainly the older ones, won't profit from higher definition; in fact, I was watching Have Gun Will Travel last night and noticed in one episode flaws I never would have seen on video tape or TV. I shudder to think how some of these 'older' shows, especially B&W and early color shows, might appear in high definition. So, I'm purchasing all the season sets I want, secure in the knowledge that I won't ever have to buy them again!

    So, I'm buying mostly TV on DVD and really enjoying the hell out of this sudden explosion of releases! It doesn't get any better for a serious collector and lover of TV! Plus, I'm getting turned on to lots of great new shows that I don't have time or the patience (pre-recorded material has erased my patience for ads!) to watch, like Arrested Development and Dead Like Me -- killer shows.

    Right now were in the 'golden' moment of TV releases... Enjoy it, it will only last a few years. The interesting part is that it's only beginning... I believe that the advanages of TV on DVD (no commericals, all episodes at hand, better quality -- along with the fact the the movie release cupboard is just about empty) means that this genra is about to explode into public awareness... After all, millions of people watch, and have watched these shows, and it doesn't take a genius to see the possible sales numbers once buying TV on DVD reaches mass acceptance.

    I see a great future ahead for both the studios and the diehard fans of TV...

     
  13. Jonny_L

    Jonny_L Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0


    Hey not every Trek fan pay's up [​IMG] Like I mentioned earlier, judging by my local stores and their overwhelming supplies, not many are at all.
     
  14. Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    0
    The way I see it is that there's just going to continue to being upgrades in technologies for decades to come. 'Holding out' for the next best thing will ultimately make you miss out on years you could've been enjoying your favorite tv shows (or movies). It's like DVD-Audio, if I planned to wait for my favorite artist's albums to be released on DVD-A instead of just going and buying a CD, I might be waiting years upon years. DVD may not be HD, but it's damn good quality when done right, and a format that will hold up for many years to come. It's like the CD, been around for 20-odd years. When a substantial jump in technology occurs (ie. VHS->DVD), then it's time to upgrade, but there's only so much time to just wait around, at least in my opinion.
     
  15. Steve Meil

    Steve Meil Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    Real Name:
    Steve
    Why would you pay $60.00 for Dark shadow sets when you can get them at Amazon or Deep Discount DVD for 41.99 and 43.99 no shipping charges or tax. You would have to crazy to buy any sets at the full retail. Speaking of Dark Shadows even though I have evey set through 14 and 15 on order, I am still on set 10 because of all the DVD releases
     
  16. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    23
    TV product ain't coming out fast enough for me. I have a
    long list of series that I would like to see on DVD. All of them are classic series and none of the recent garbage.
    As a matter of fact, more tv product is coming out than new movie releases for my taste.
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
    Two words: "Bad Business" - It doesn't make a lot of sense (for most tv shows) to do such a thing.

    a.) It would hold up releases of other titles from the studio (because of the physical DVD production schedule)
    b.) Oversaturation wouldn't give a good $$ return.
    c.) Stores would have a tougher time stocking shelves which would translate into fewer sets on the shelves.
    d.) Stores may not buy as many of these boxed sets for fear that they would sell at the (obvious) high price.
    e.) If the studio releases all of it's product, it may not have profitable enough product for future years. I'm sure there's a reason for spreading out the profit $$ over many years rather than getting all that money in just the one year.

    etc. etc. etc. - I'm sure there are MANY more answers that we don't even know about (or understand) when it comes to this sort of business practice.


    EDIT: I'm sure there are also numbers that show that a consumer will spend more $$ on DVD's if they are done in $20-$30 chunks rather than all at once. Meaning, if someone spent $200 on a DVD set, they might not buy a lot more DVD's for quite some time...But if that $200 was spread out over many months, they would be more apt to buy other DVD's in the meantime.
     

Share This Page