when first seasons don't sell as well

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Chris Wall, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Chris Wall

    Chris Wall Agent

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    I was thinking how lots of studios will hold off on later seasons if the early ones don't sell well, yet how much do studios think about whether a first season may not be as popular as later seasons. For example, lots of shows first seasons aren't considered as good as the charachters and stories may not have really come into their own or hit their stride until the second or third season, such as if they ever released season 1 of Facts of Life. Many people don't like this season and at only 13 episodes probably wouldn't sell as well on its own.
     
  2. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    Key word in that sentence is "think". They don't think. They don't know the product that they are involved with. If you are talking about shows that are 20, 30, 40, 50 years old, unless you have someone like myself who has intricate knowledge of television history, these people don't have the slightest clue about these things. Examples abound. Michael Sloan produced a Man From UNCLE reunion movie, having never even seen the show. To get an idea for it, he screened an episode from the 3rd (and absolutely worst) season. James Komack did the same with Dobie Gillis, proudly stating how well he knew the characters, having never seen the original show. He even fired the show's creator, saying he didn't understand the characters. You think the people in the DVD marketing departments are any better? You think they take truly knowledgeable people who really know television and put them in charge? Hate to burst your bubble but that isn't the case. If an expert slips through the cracks and gets a job at one of these places it's more of a fluke than by design. Try it some time. Call up a studio's DVD department and see how much they know.
     
  3. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Of course, the other side is that sales of one season are one of the more tangible indications of how well other seasons will sell. Yes, that one season may be the least popular, but those numbers at least have the usefullness of representing actual consumer spending.

    It's easy to say that later seasons are more popular and, honest, they'd sell twice as much, but sales data tends to show that the entry in a catalog series with the "1" on its spine moves more than the one with the "2", and so on down the line. Why should this series be any different?
     
  4. Eddy-C

    Eddy-C Supporting Actor

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    I know fans of Buffy who only bought the later seasons and not the first season so its not exclusive to older shows. Not every season of a TV show is good to its fans so you shouldn't judge it based on only one set.
     
  5. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    This is one of those situations where theory conflicts with the hard cold realities of practice.

    In theory, the first season of a show, where the fans think the characters aren't fully developed and the show hasn't "hit its stride" (sometimes unfairly -- I'd take the first season of Buffy over almost any episodes from seasons 6 or 7), shouldn't sell as well as the later, stride-hitting seasons.

    But in practice, studios have found that all the seasons of a show sell about the same; there is no evidence that a "rough" first season really hurts sales at all. I remember being told, years ago, that some people at Fox were hesitant about releasing the first season of The Simpsons because of the perception that the show didn't hit its stride until later (and the fact that the look of the show, and the character designs and some voices, were different in the first season). But in fact the first season sold great and the later seasons sold about as well as the first season, not better.

    I think the thing to remember is that most people who buy a show are not nit-picky fans; they want to see their favorite characters, not watch the show after it "hits its stride." The only case I can see for a first season hurting sales is where, like Law and Order, the first season doesn't have most of the familiar characters. Otherwise, it is cold hard reality that all seasons of a show will sell at more or less the same level.
     
  6. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Jaime is correct. That theory of a weaker first season hurting sales goes right out the window especially when you're looking at sites like this one and here people say they have a collector's mindset like its a phrase going out of style...meaning that if someone has a collector's mindset the quality of season 1 won't stop them from buying it. I prefer later seasons of M*A*S*H to seasons 1-3 but I own them all.
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    A Season 1 set means (obviously) this is the "first" time this TV series has been put to DVD (in it's entirety), thus it's a good indication of the fan base since most of the fans will definitely buy it.

    True, there are the fans that may hold off for a later season, but the small % of people who do this, are offset by those out there who will purchase the first season (perhaps out of excitment of a new TV set out) and then pass on future sets.

    So the numbers really do even themselves out no matter what and the $$ for the first season are usually a good indication of future sales.
     
  8. Bonnie*F

    Bonnie*F Stunt Coordinator

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    The cost of the season sets - I believe - also have alot of impact on possible future sales. If the studio is selling each season (whatever number) for $30, more people would be willing to pick up the "mediocre" seasons to complete their set. There may only be one or two episodes you liked that season but the 30 bucks isn't that big of a hit.
    On the other hand, if each season is $80, the buyers are going to be hard-core fans and weigh how "good" a season was before purchasing.
    So the studios are influencing their own future sales.
    I know, they are trying to recoup costs since only so many shows can be in syndication, but DVD sales are extra money in their pockets.
     
  9. Adam*M

    Adam*M Stunt Coordinator

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    Yep. I bought seasons 3-5 of TNG, because those were my favorite seasons of that show. If the sets had been $50 instead of $100+ then I would own all 7 seasons of the show, and they would have actually made more money from me.
     
  10. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    I suppose this all means that die-hard fans of a show should always purchase season one upon its release, to boost the numbers and improve chances that the entire run will eventually come out on DVD, even if you feel that season one "isn't worth it".
     
  11. Paul Sandhu

    Paul Sandhu Supporting Actor

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    I wonder how many casual fans of Star Trek buy the season sets.
     
  12. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    Not me! I've seen all of the episodes of the various Star Trek series and all of the movies once each and portions of a small number of them a second time. I treated them all like any other shows that I don't want on video. Not even interested in any memorabalia either. [​IMG]
     
  13. Derek_J

    Derek_J Stunt Coordinator

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    TNG is one of my favourite shows, especially the first several seasons, but I still won't buy them for the price that Paramount wants.
     
  14. Alex-A

    Alex-A Stunt Coordinator

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    Funny how Star Trek always creeps into a thread where season set prices has become the subject of discussion.

    I consider myself a pretty big Star Trek fan. I have all the films on DVD, 1 thru the recently released 8, in their CE incarnations. The others are the original releases, waiting for the CE treatment. I bought these for two reasons. One, I love the films, simple as that. Two, they're CHEAP. Now on the other hand, I absolutely love the TV shows, however, at the asking price for each season, I'd sooner go broke trying to own them all. They are not at the top of my "must have list". Should they ever drop in price, I will give them another look.

    As for other shows, for those I'm interested in, I buy the first seasons, even if they're considered "mediocre" by most people. I may not end up watching the first season's episodes as much as later seasons, but I have two reasons for this purchasing habit as well. One, it helps the first season sell well enough to warrant more seasons. Two, when/if the full series is out, I won't have any missing sets.

    A lot of the TV product I own can theoretically fall into the "obscure" category, meaning that not many people will end up buying them. I consider the Garfield & Friends volumes as part of this, as I have bought all Garfield releases on their release date, but very few people that I know are even aware they they exist, or just don't want them.

    In the end, I guess it falls on the studios themselves and whether or not they are releasing sets in order to have the complete series out, or releasing sets to make a huge profit on them.
     

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