Why don't some TV shows get released completely re-mastered?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Carlos Garcia, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    I've read all about how some TV shows on DVD don't get digitally re-mastered because it costs too much, and releasing a regular old 1" video master onto DVD would make the sets much cheaper for, the consumer. Well, this is fine, however, why was a show like the Dick Van Dyke Show completely re-mastered, with tons of extras, and they released the entire 5 seasons over the course of several months regardless of whether these sets sold well or not? I mean, look at the Mary Tyler Moore Show...They release 1 season completely re-mastered, with lots of extras, and because the set had disappointing sales numbers, the completely scrapped the rest of the series! I'm sorry, but I'm not blind. Any Company that doesn't release a TV show by giving it the full re-mastering DVD treatment is simply trying to make an extra buck off the consumer, not save them money. You can't tell me that when they released the Dick Van Dyke Show they knew it would be such a hit that they decided to release all 5 seasons regardless of whether it sold well or not. If that was the case, they would've also release the Mary Tyler Moore show for the same reasons. No, the bottom line is, some companies are out to make a buck off consumers, and if the consumers don't make them a profit, they will punish them by not releasing anymore season sets. Then other companies really care about the consumers, and they have faith in their own products, so they not only give the product the full DVD treatment, but they also release the show's entire run, regardless of sales numbers, knowing eventually they will be profitable.
     
  2. Michael St. Clair

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    Some reasons, I'm sure more will follow:

    1) Some shows have better elements available for remastering. Expense will vary greatly from show to show. Also, shows shot on video instead of film (admittedly a minority) often have little that can be done to improve the picture.

    2) Same thing for extras, some shows have better/more material available.

    3) Some shows have more parties (investors, rightsholders) involved. The more 'hands in the pie', the more you will pay due to more parties wanting to make money off the discs. In some cases, the publisher/studio might cut costs (restoration, extras) in order to still got the product to you for a reasonable price.

    I'm just happy to get my favorite shows when I can. Extras and 'remastering' quality are nice bonuses, but hey, they virtually always look better than VHS and will last longer.
     
  3. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    In the case of Dick Van Dyke Show, part of it may be from the smaller studio's desire to go to the expense and draw attention their way, knowing they have to battle the bigger budget studios who will outspend them on the marketing quite easily, and will get their product into every store with less effort. For Image, Shout, etc., they realize they have an uphill battle compared to Columbia and Universal and their ilk, so they have to do a better job and turn heads their way.
     
  4. KerryK

    KerryK Stunt Coordinator

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    As opposed to the non-profit organizations that release TV sets on DVD.
     
  5. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    These companies are trying to "brand" themselves, much like Criterion. At some point, I think that they hope that the name Image or Shout on the box will persuade the "on-the-fence" buyer to make the purchase.
     
  6. Brandon Gantt

    Brandon Gantt Second Unit

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    Most importantly some shows just won't sell enough copies to warrant the expense of restoration.
     
  7. paul_austin

    paul_austin Second Unit

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    Yes but isn't this a self fulfilling prophecy or perhaps a vicious cycle? If they arent remastered some people will pass on them unless they are super fans.
     
  8. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Nah, it's just economics. Rights-holders have to weigh the cost of restoration against the number of sales restoration will likely add. Different people will also arrive at different estimates for the same material.
     
  9. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    Look up capitalism in the dictionary.[​IMG]
     
  10. Michael St. Clair

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    I honestly don't know anybody In Real Life that would pass on a TV set due to remastering or extras. High price is the only thing that seems to deter the mainstream public.

    While I'm sure a few HTF members might pass on a set due to 'remastering' or extras, I think we are a tiny, fringe niche and don't really count much for sales.
     
  11. paul_austin

    paul_austin Second Unit

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    "Lost in Space" season one not being remastered made me think really really hard before buying it since I owned the columbia house VHS tapes. The major factors were them taking up much less space, and the idea that if season 1 sold there would be a season 2 and hopefully 3. But it was still a hard choice since my budget is so limited since the arrival of twins!!!! I really miss the days of "oh just throw it on the credit card, and worry about it later" I'm a stay at home dad now with only one income (and its not mine!!).
     
  12. DougFND

    DougFND Second Unit

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    Unfortunately, no studio exists simply to help you complete your personal collection. They are all out to make money off of us, as they should be.

    Not releasing additional season sets isn't about punishing customers. It's a simple business decision. If season 1 doesn't sell very well, it's probably a good indicator that the remaining seasons won't sell very well. So, they take the smaller loss on one season and move on to something else instead of multiplying that loss by several more times.
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Punish? Who's being punished? I doubt they are doing it on purpose. A studio doesn't stop the production of a title (i.e. the chance to make money) just to punish you. They do it because they can't make money off of it.

    If you can find a way to guarantee maximized profits, you'd be a billionaire and I'm sure the studios would love to hire you, but I serious doubt you'd be employed long if you suggested them running their business in such a way that benefits the consumer 100%, because it's virtualy impossible. Unfortunately that's how business works.

    The only way you can please everyone is to provide an impossible product at a price that will not make you any money. And even if it got to the point where the studio was losing money with every purchase, I guarantee you that someone would STILL be pissed off.
     
  14. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    I don't work in that end of the business but here is how I would think it works. The independents, like Image, Shout Factory, etc., this is their business. They aren't multi-billion dollar. I don't know what the sales numbers are for TV shows but I would imagine they are relatively small compared to current features. So lets say one of these smaller companies puts out a show that sells 25,000 copies. That may be a major sale for an independent company but for a major studio its a fringe release. Everything is relative. Joe Average would be thrilled to make $50,000 selling something but Donald Trump wouldn't waste 5 minutes for such an amount. Likewise these studios. A small company doesn't need to make millions on everything they sell to be happy but I'm sure Fox, Paramount, Universal and Warners do. There are many other factors as well, not the least of which is how these comodities are viewed. The smaller the company, the more pride and care goes into each product, the bigger the company, the less they give a shit about anything besides the bottom line. Pride of putting something out properly I'm sure plays no role. Fox didn't put the work into 1st season MTM because it was the proper way to release the show, they did it because they felt the extra care would result in extra sales. It didn't and now the studios have made an assessment:
    The extra cost involved will be x number of dollars. The extra sales will not be commiserate with the extra cost. So therefore its not worth our time and trouble to go through the time, manpower and expense necessary to make the release look as good as possible. So, lets say it costs $25,000 to prepare a season of a show for release, using already transfered to tape copies. To go back to the original 35mm fine grains might cost another $50,000, or lets say the release would cost 3 times as much. They don't feel that by making it look better it will sell twice as many or 3 times as many copies. Lets be honest, the majority of the buying public hasn't a clue. Look at the Lost in Space release with the interference on the first episode and the line down the side on the second. How that got by QC at Fox is amazing but what's more amazing is that they wouldn't recall the sets and fix the problem. That tells you all you need to know about how much the studios give a shit about the quality of their product.
     
  15. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    That's probably the biggest reason for a lot of the compromises they do.

    "Cost of production" vs. "How many people will notice" must be a BIG deciding factor as to how far they go with a release.
     
  16. MaraKM

    MaraKM Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't think that it's as simple as big companies=uncaring money-grubbers vs. small companies=dedicated consumer-lovers. Small companies can screw things up just as royally as the big guys, and be just as mercenary. As far as small companies being happy with lower sales figures, well, they've got less overhead. A big corporation has a lot more employees to pay, and stockholders to satisfy.

    I think that the main advantage that a smaller company has over a larger is that there is probably less compartmentalization and politics. In a smaller company, where everyone is in the same office, when problems/questions arise, it's no biggie to walk over to another cubicle and say "what's the deal with this?" But when everything gets split up and spread out, geographically and functionally, everyone's just doing their little piece of the puzzle and nobody's seeing the big picture.

    At least, that's been my experience so far.
     
  17. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    Well, alot of shows are being re-released as "season sets", without being re-mastered, or actually having any new extras. I already own the original Star Trek, so I don't need to spend anymore money on its new season set releases. Especially since nothing new will really be added to the episodes, they were re-mastered to begin with. I also already own the original Twilight Zone when they were released a few years ago. What incentive do I have to buy them in season sets when they get re-released, especially since they still haven't re-mastered the picture. My point is that alot of studios are choosing to re-release old titles they have already sold under previous packaging, only now they release them as season sets. Big deal. I'm sure most people who bought these sets originally will also pass on them...Nothing new added, so who cares? Just releasing them in their properly aired order isn't enough reason for me to plunk down hundreds of dollars more. That's what the shows' TV companion books are for, to save me the money of having to re-purchase these sets. Studios should concentrate on releasing shows they have yet to put out on DVD. There are enough fans of the classics to justify releasing them. I have never understood when they say they never made enough money on the first season to justify releasing any future seasons. I mean, if you release a million DVDs and either put them on shelves, or have them available for purchase over the internet, eventually they will all sell. However, in today's world, there is no patience, studios want their money NOW, if they don't get it, we don't get anymore releases. I don't get it. I think their thinking used to be different in the days of VHS.
     
  18. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    But I don't think they're too worried about that. The market isn't the few people who already own every episode of "The Twilight Zone" on DVD, it is people who don't. (People who double-dip on this one are just gravy.)
     
  19. Michael St. Clair

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    TV on DVD is booming, growing at a near exponential rate.

    Yet we still complain?

    Things are getting better all the time.
     
  20. KerryK

    KerryK Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I've worked for a major and now I work for an indie (albeit in Canada).



    The market is completely different now, and so is the video industry. Everyone's thinking is completely different, and that includes consumers. Ten years ago we were all renting videotapes and buying laserdisks and were happy to do it. There have been a lot of changes since then.

    Sorry for the rant, but I sometimes wonder how you guys would feel if your company decided to release a potentially risky product that would still cause you a lot of work just because a bunch of people on a website thought it was cool.
     

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