Way For Studios To Save Money on TV Releases.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ron Kaye, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. Ron Kaye

    Ron Kaye Agent

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    Just read the FOX chat and was dismayed to hear about Mary Tyler Moore's dissapointing sales. I dont think it helped that Mary herself barely participated.

    Anyway, onto my idea ...

    My idea for future TV Releases of older shows is to look at the 'Mad About You' Season 1 set as a case in point.
    2 DVDs. 24 episodes. Cheaper at retail. The public would be more inclined to spend $20-$22 dollars than the $45 that MTM cost.

    I know that picture quality may suffer a bit by squeezing 12 shows on 1 dvd ... but if you keep the supplements to a minimum (which I wouldnt be thrilled about, but could accept), and keep off multiple audio trax, the video quality would be a little bit better.

    Quite frankly, if I had a chance to have 'Hill Street Blues' & 'St. Elsewhere' on dvd with minimal extras but the guarantee that all of its seasons would be released, then I'd rather have the minimums than risk not having them at all.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    That the number of discs really affects the price is a myth
    A DVD costs about 80 cents to press, say an even buck when you toss in the tray in the gatefold and the printing.

    The 2 biggest costs on a DVD are prepping and authoring the elements (which would have to be done regardless) and paying royalties to talent and music rights holders. Production costs are bid on mostly as a full project, not a per-disc basis. In fact it might cost even MORE to do less discs because of the additional overtime that would be spent tweaking the footage at lower bitrates
     
  3. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Paulie Waln (is that short for Walnuts? [​IMG] ), I just responded to the same essential thing you said in the No more Mary Tyler Moore Show sets? thread.
    I urge anyone interested to read my complete response there, but here are the highlights:
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  5. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Jeff, I agree with everything you said. I should have pointed out that the comment of mine you quoted was the FEELING of some (repeat: SOME) HTF members, regardless of its validity.
     
  6. Mark Hanson

    Mark Hanson Agent

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    There is a point on price when you get beyond collectors.
    Movies I collect. TV on DVD most disks never get near the home theater room. TV shows on DVD are what the wife and I watch after the yungun's are tucked in, in our bedroom. We have Mad about You and know it would look great on our Theater setup, MTM well its on cable at times that work well for us and we were going to wait to see if prices changed. But in the bedroom it beats the network broadcasts and tapes we have and at 17.99 was the right price to have a number of enjoyable late evenings. For that type of showing more episodes on the disk is nice since you do not have to get up to change them on a cold evening. Bedroom's player is an old single disk one and will be until it packs it in and dies.

    This is not to argue quality, we all use the product differently, it will take some time for the vendors to figure out what works best for sales volume. Unfortunately the answer may be different for movies vs TV. On movies no stretch, no P&S, shown OAR best picture possible I can get for the money I have. So that is where I want the vendors. TV shows will have to shake out
     
  7. Mark Hanson

    Mark Hanson Agent

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    Before anyone replys in review I meant to say Mad about you would not look great on our Theater setup by comparison. But that is not where it is played.
     
  8. Mark Hanson

    Mark Hanson Agent

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    Duplicate
     
  9. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    I think two discs is TOO little. The point has been raised that # of discs and SRP are not that closely connected, since the cost of reproducing a disc and disc art is not very expensive.

    Three discs for a 22-episode set seems okay, and I'd be totally happy if that's how Columbia/TriStar released NewsRadio to DVD, if they decided to release NewsRadio to DVD.
     
  10. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I think the good standard has been set

    8 eps/disc 30min show
    4 eps/disc 60min show

    Usually that leaves you with some breathing room for extras on the last disc.
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    TV doesn't really need a lot of room due to most being pretty clean and low-bitrate.

    6 episodes per disc for a 30 min show is pretty good and 3 episodes per disc for an hour long show is just as good. However, putting 12 episodes of a 30 min. show on a DVD-9 would cause serious quality problems.
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    What about DVD-18s?
     
  13. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  14. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    DVD-18 has been virtually entirely phased out. It costs almost twice as much to replicate a DVD-18 as 2 DVD 9s AND you have the additional 25%+ bad disc rate. It's under 5% for DVD-9
     
  15. Ron Kaye

    Ron Kaye Agent

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    For TV shows to be succesful on DVD, I think we need to be more realistic ...

    OK, so limiting 24 shows (30 min each) to 2 discs isnt really necessary considering the low cost of manufacturing discs ...

    But, we cant treat older TV shows and theatrical movies the same way on DVD.

    If most TV shows on dvd continue to cost upwards of $40 per season (especially older tv shows with limited extras & limited video/audio quality), its going to reach a point where studios stop releasing them because sales are so low and expenses are high.

    Keep those prices low and the non-obsessive DVD collector will be more inclined to buy it.

    You see, when dvd players started to cost $75 or less, its sales went thru the roof. Granted, quality control suffered, but it brought the format to the masses.

    Keeping the cost of (older) TV Show dvds low, sales should improve, and would more likely guarantee future season sets.
     
  16. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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  17. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I think it is simpler than all of this. Certain TV shows just don't sell because there isn't a great enough demand for the show. Putting tons of extras, good quality, and reasonable price isn't enough sometimes. Many people just aren't interested in Mary Tyler Moore. I am not judging the quality of the show, but just stating what seems to be the reality. I know there are probably shows I want on DVD that many never happen because enough people aren't interested (Giligan's Island, for example). Adding tons of features and remastering isn't necessarily going to sell it.

    As far as Simpsons, they would have sold well no matter what you threw on those discs. Look what a popular show it is and has been the last several years.

    All of this kind of reminds me of the movie E.T. They package it up as a "special edition," "remastered sound and video," "deleted scenes," and "new CGI." Yet, it did poorly in its re-release at the theater. It just doesn't appeal to as many people anymore. Same goes for some older TV shows that may have been popular a long time ago.
     
  18. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Dave H, there is truth in what you say. Some shows just aren't as popular today as they used to be, or maybe were ever perceived to be.
    But it may not BE as simple as that. Sure, it's possible that Fox and everyone else saw a market for MTM that really wasn't there. But is that the likely reason? Is that likely to be the only reason?
    I don't think anything of this nature ("why didn't this product sell so well") is rarely that simple. There are many factors to consider. In the other thread where this came up (why are there two threads on this, anyway?), I just posted about the difference in SRP price points between MASH and MTM, where MTM basically is $10 higher for the same 24 half-hour episodes, seemingly to pay for a 4th disc full of extras (that perhaps were considered inadequate by fans due to "not enough Mary involvement").
    • Lower demand level IS a factor.
    • A higher price IS a factor.
    • Lack of marketing (including lack of reviews, something widely discussed here at HTF at the time of release) IS a factor.
    • Short periods of time on the shelves of some retailers IS a factor.
    Don't make an issue like this TOO simple. Peter surely won't. I hope not, anyway! [​IMG]
     
  19. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    Well, you know a great way to save money on TV shows is to replace the original music where rights are an issue. And they could be released with advert breaks to subsidize the cost?
    Do those idea's appeal to you? Of course not (I hope [​IMG]) so why should compromising the quality appeal?
    I think cost is an issue, but so is releasing complete sets in one go. I'm not advocating 'best of' releases, but why not release a 24 episode season is 2 sets of 12 for half the cost. Spread them out over the year more evenly so you get the same product over a year as you do now and what's the problem?
    This is a strategy employed by a number of studios in the UK (where cost is even more of an issue - we're not called 'rip-off Britain' for nothing you know) and has been successful.
    So do you think FOX should follow this pattern for season 2 of Mary Taylor Moore? Do you think 2 lower priced sets would increase sales? Or would you still rather buy in a complete season set?
    Addition of course this has been done in R1 as well on the 'Transformers Season 2 Part 1' release!
     
  20. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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