Studios dastardly plan to split TV season sets?

 
Old 07-13-04, 09:50 AM
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Studios dastardly plan to split TV season sets?

This guy claims they are going to do just that! Interesting read anyway.....

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=204359
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Old 07-13-04, 10:02 AM
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You know, it IS possible... but there'd be a lot of cheesed off people. Stuff like Transformers or GI Joe is split up because of the huge number of episodes in a season, where 'Sex And The City Season 6 Part 1' was in order to keep up with the release schedule for Sex And The City.... but the entire show had just barely ended on HBO.... so it had to accomodate for that.
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Old 07-13-04, 10:33 AM
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I stopped buying Sex in the City when they inflated the prices. Season 5 was a complete rip and so was the splitting of the final season.
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Old 07-13-04, 10:40 AM
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I'm glad the Buffy series will be finshed before this practice begins to take place. Stick with full season sets. If you want to sample a series, rent from Netflix first.
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Old 07-13-04, 10:46 AM
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I'll just post what I posted over at HTF on this topic:
------------------------------------------------------------

OK, well, what's wrong with wanting to make money? You see, in my opinion, these studios have zero and I do mean zero obligation to release this stuff at all. They only do so to make money. Period. The shows were only aired in the first place to make money. Period. It is a moot point here because the price of the 2 split sets is 1 cent less than season 1. So, what's the problem? And even if it were more expensive, it is their prerogative to do so. They want to make money. They certainly don't have any obligation to us to release the stuff. People often bitch and moan on here about X-Files being expensive...so what? Obviously they have sold well enough that Fox continued to release all the seasons at that point, so why wouldn't they sell them at that price. It's called capitalism. Shoot, if X-Files sets sold well at at $300 a season, then I would expect the studio to release it at that price. I wouldn't like it personally, but I wouldn't blame them for doing it. If I were in charge of the studio, I would do whatever necessary to maximize profits. Once the price got to a point that sales suffered to an extent that the profits were hurt, then I would cut back the price until maximum profit is received. Simple economics. Same thing with people whining about, "Well I bought all 40 volumes of Star Trek: TOS and now they come out in season sets and that's not fair to those of us who bought the originals." Well, so what? Paramount maximized sales to those willing to shell out the $$$ for the single discs and now they want to release season sets for those of us who didn't spring for the 40 discs before. Again, so what? Sounds like good marketing and a good financial move to me. Now all of those who didn't buy the single discs (like me) will buy the season sets. More money for Paramount. Good for them! Seriously, what's with all this "evil companies wanting to make more money" crap. Of course they want to make more money. That is why they exist!!! They don't release these shows out of kindness so you will enjoy them. They release these shows so they can make money. That is the whole point. I see absolutely zero problem with that idea. NONE WHATSOEVER. I don't go to work every day just because I an a nice guy or something. I go to work because I want to make money. If I were in their shoes, I would market the products to maximize profits. If they do not do that, then they aren't really doing their jobs. So, while I am not a Lost in Space fan, if I were, I certainly wouldn't be up in arms about splitting the sets...especially when the combined price is the same. My personal preference is full season sets, but if I have to choose between split sets or no further releases (such as Mary Tyler Moore), then I will happily take the split sets.
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Old 07-13-04, 02:26 PM
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Fox has already announced plans to split Lost in Space Season 2 into two releases.

Skip
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Old 07-13-04, 02:45 PM
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I hope they don't do this to Miami Vice.
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Old 07-13-04, 04:19 PM
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While I think what HBO has done with Sex and the City is pretty ridiculous, I'm willing to wait and see with Fox. They've been very good to DVD over the last several years.

Here are Peter Staddon's (Fox Studio Home Video exec) comments on this subject, which he posted in the thread linked above. Sounds reasonable enough to me.
As one of the Greedy Studio Execs reffered to indirectly by our "Whistle Blower" let me just make a couple of points.

1)We were very disaappointed in the sales of "Lost in Space Season 1". A big part of the reason we felt it was not as successful as it should have been was the pricepoint. It was just too expensive for an impulse purchase, or a purchase by anyone other than the really committed fan. No retailer would have said that this flew off the shelves, although just to give you a benefit of the doubt it may have flown off the shelf at an individual store, most would have said that it clogged up shelf space. I still have the inventory returned from retail stores in my warehouse to prove it!

2) When we looked at ways of reducing the price, the only way of effectively reducing the price enough so that it would impact the on shelf price was to split the set in half.

3)As far as "1+1=3+" I wish that were the case but even a rudimentary understanding of business would enable anyone to understand that there are greater economies to be had by producing one set than splitting them into two. You have nearly twice the packaging costs, twice the freight and handling costs, twice the merchandising costs, twice the inventory holding costs, etc.

4) I will admit that we are releasing "Lost in Space season 2" in two parts in order to increase the profitability of the release. That is my job! However, we will do this by selling more units, not by charging more or making a higher profit percentage on each unit sold.

5) If we are not successful with this strategy we will not go back to launching similar series as a single season because that did not work (see point 1), and one of the definitions of insanity that I agree with is to do exactly the same thing again and expect a different result.

Fox has been committed to releasing full season sets for TV product, however if that does not work what would you suggest we do? Would you prefer that we did not release the show at all? I read that some of you will not buy Lost in Space Season 2 as a two part release. Obviously that is your choice, but the point I would make is at least you have the choice.

I'm not going to reply to any further posts as I have laid out what I needed to say here. Other than to say to Mark that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Thanks
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Old 07-13-04, 05:07 PM
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I WILL NOT HAVE MY TV SERIES CENSORED INTO SPLIT SETS!!
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Old 07-13-04, 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by ZackR
I'll just post what I posted over at HTF on this topic:
------------------------------------------------------------

...
You're right, they DO have the right to do what they want with these TV sets. But we have an equal right to bitch about it all we want (or we have the right to not buy the sets when they come out). In turn, you have the right to bitch about us bitching about the sets. Then, I have the right to bitch about you bitching about us bitching about these split tv sets. It's the American Way.
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Old 07-13-04, 06:07 PM
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They need us allot more than we need them.
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Old 07-13-04, 10:27 PM
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A big part of the reason we felt it was not as successful as it should have been was the pricepoint.
So why not lower the price? Instead you raise the price (albeit a buck or two more, but that makes a big difference,) by splitting them into 2 sets.

Blah.
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Old 07-13-04, 10:46 PM
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Originally posted by chanster
So why not lower the price? Instead you raise the price (albeit a buck or two more, but that makes a big difference,) by splitting them into 2 sets.
...but the individual expenditure is lowered since, IIRC, Fox isn't releasing both parts simultaneously. A consumer who may have been hesitant about spending $50 on a set may be more willing to spend $25 now and $25 later, especially if it's a title the individual was on the fence about in the first place. Dropping the overall price may not have been a viable option, even if Fox's target price turned out to be more than the average consumer wanted to spend.
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Old 07-13-04, 11:30 PM
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Originally posted by chanster
So why not lower the price?
So obvious, yet nobody mentions that solution.

I see the post by Mr. Staddon as utter BS. Splitting the seasons is not the answer. They stand a good chance of ruining the TV/DVD boom (that has lined their pockets) with this strategy.

Before Season sets, they released "best of" collections that did not sell. When they went to full season sets, TV on DVD took off. That's what people obviously want. They don't want piece-parts.

So why did people not buy sets like Mary Tyler Moore and Lost in Space? Isn't it obvious? Price point! Mr. Staddon said it himself yet he doesn't get it. Both of these sets were overpriced for the amount of fan support they have. They are old shows. Take me for instance, I might have considered purchasing both of these shows but I was not enough of a fan to pay a premium price for them. Therefore, they are not in my collection. They still won't be with the same total price but split in two parts. TV sets are not Walmart bin impulse buys. If they want that, then they will have to do the Star Trek thing and go to 2 episodes releases. (That won't work either.)

These studio execs need to go retake Economics 101. If something doesn't sell at one price, duh, lower the price! They aren't going to lose money at a price point in the 20s (street) for seasons of these shows. They just won't make as much per set and that is what Mr. Staddon wants to avoid but I don't think splitting the seasons will achieve his desired result.

Lost in Space and MTM are not Star Trek. They should be priced accordingly or they won't sell. Splitting the Seasons is trying to put the genie back in the bottle. People are used to Season sets, they are not going to go back to partial seasons or "best ofs".
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Old 07-13-04, 11:50 PM
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Except for recent shows, I don't think older shows are selling as well as they expected. I have a very cynical view on splitting season sets... to decide whether or not to release the 2nd half of the season.

I see two scenarios.... The first, sell the first half, and if it doesn't sell well, cancel the 2nd half set. The second scenario is that if the first half sells well, jack up the price on the 2nd half.... going under the assumption that those who bought the 1st half will want the 2nd half.
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Old 07-13-04, 11:54 PM
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A consumer who may have been hesitant about spending $50 on a set may be more willing to spend $25 now and $25 later, especially if it's a title the individual was on the fence about in the first place. Dropping the overall price may not have been a viable option, even if Fox's target price turned out to be more than the average consumer wanted to spend.
True, but halving each season may not be a good idea either. Fans may be hesitant about purchasing half a season only for the second half not to be released because of poor sales of the first half. Which may have the effect of driving down sales of the first half.

If the idea is to try to reel in non-hardcore fans who've been on the fence, then isn't it a better idea to release a single disc "sampler" of sorts (minimal packaging, no extras, just a few choice episodes) at an even lower price point rather than half a season? Sure, if I'm on the fence, I'd probably be more willing to pay $25 for half a season to see if I like it than $50 for the entire season. But I'd prefer to pay $10 for a sampler (it could even simply be disc 1 to save on production costs) to test the series than $25 for half a season.

As a sweetener to consumers who buy the sampler disc, the studios could have a rebate program for those who choose to upgrade to the full season set (say half the price of the sampler).

Anyway, just a thought. I think that halving seasons would not reel in enough people and could risk alienating fans. But then again, what do I know?
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Old 07-14-04, 12:10 AM
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Split the seasons up if you have to but what I really want to see is full series coming out on DVD. Not season sets, but series sets in collector's box sets. Let the collector's be happy and those worried about price points be happy.
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Old 07-14-04, 12:16 AM
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I'll admit that I have no idea just what it costs to put out a TV series on DVD, and I'm sure the licensing fees etc vary greatly from show to show, but I can't help but think that the studios are making an obscene amount of money on most of these shows. After all, in the past, they could really only expect TV shows to make money during their initial run and in re-runs. I think lowering the prices of these sets would induce a lot more people to buy. I know I have a lot of shows (even Lost in Space, I suppose) which I would buy if they were cheaper.
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Old 07-14-04, 12:18 AM
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Originally posted by icruise
I'll admit that I have no idea just what it costs to put out a TV series on DVD, and I'm sure the licensing fees etc vary greatly from show to show, but I can't help but think that the studios are making an obscene amount of money on most of these shows. After all, in the past, they could really only expect TV shows to make money during their initial run and in re-runs. I think lowering the prices of these sets would induce a lot more people to buy. I know I have a lot of shows (even Lost in Space, I suppose) which I would buy if they were cheaper.
Good point. There are some sets I have in my collection because I got them at really good prices (usually through sales in store or online, which is lower than SRP) that I would not have purchased otherwise.
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Old 07-14-04, 12:41 AM
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They may have every right not to release these shows and instead let them moulder away in dusty vaults until the film stock is totally useless. But if they choose not to make them legitimately available to the paying public then they have no moral ground to stand on when the shows are bootlegged. Copyright is a two-way bargain designed to benefit the public by having material released (and ultimately into the public domain) under a short-term monopoly of distribution rights. When one party breaks the agreement by refusing to even distribute, then the other party (the public) is not morally bound to honor their half of the bargain either (monopoly distribution rights).
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Old 07-14-04, 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by Adam Tyner
...but the individual expenditure is lowered since, IIRC, Fox isn't releasing both parts simultaneously. A consumer who may have been hesitant about spending $50 on a set may be more willing to spend $25 now and $25 later, especially if it's a title the individual was on the fence about in the first place.
The trouble is that skeptics like me think the current $50 show split up is more likely to be $30 and $30 later = a nice price hike.
That won't fly with me. They better be damn careful what they do. Instead of raising profits they may kill the goose that laid the golden eggs.
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Old 07-14-04, 08:23 AM
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Originally posted by Easy
The trouble is that skeptics like me think the current $50 show split up is more likely to be $30 and $30 later = a nice price hike.
Staddon explains in his post why that is that's almost a certainty.

There's not an answer here that'll placate the people who are convinced they're being ripped off, but Peter Staddon is the only exec from any of the major studios who's kept in close contact with DVD enthusiasts on a major web forum, and he played a significant role in taking Fox Home Video away from the grossly overpriced, bare-bones, non-anamorphic Bill Mechanic days to the studio they are today. He's a bright guy who's done an incredible amount for the format -- while it might be easy to dismiss him and say "take Econ 101!"...well, just because a solution is obvious and isn't mentioned doesn't mean it hasn't been considered and dismissed. Is Staddon out there to make Fox money? Of course, and if dropping the list price of the set a few bucks were an option, I'm sure that's the course that would've been taken.

A few things to consider:

1) If the first season didn't sell well, the second season will sell even worse. The novelty of owning one season of Lost in Space is enough for a lot of people, I'd imagine. The glut of TV-on-DVD releases may keep away some other potential owners. I know I'm to the point where I watch almost nothing but TV-on-DVD, and there are still numerous series available now that I want to buy but have a hard time squeezing into my schedule.

2) Studios seem to like uniformity in their price points. Comparable seasons of a TV series tend to cost the same for the entire run. The second season of Buffy, released a little over two years ago, has an MSRP of $59.98. I expected season seven, when it's released later this year, to have the same price. I think there might be concern on the part of the studios about continually dropping a price throughout the run of the series. I think they'd like to maintain a steady price to build a specific sense of value in the mind of the consumer. While that's not as defensible a reason to stick with a price as the other points I'm mentioning, I do understand where they're coming from with that.

3) Yes, I took Econ 101 in college, and I know that lower price theoretically means more sales. But for a series with the limited appeal of Lost in Space, "more" doesn't necessarily mean enough to offset the revenue they would've brought in with fewer sales at a higher price point.
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Old 07-14-04, 08:56 AM
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Originally posted by kayelefkay
If the idea is to try to reel in non-hardcore fans who've been on the fence, then isn't it a better idea to release a single disc "sampler" of sorts (minimal packaging, no extras, just a few choice episodes) at an even lower price point rather than half a season? Sure, if I'm on the fence, I'd probably be more willing to pay $25 for half a season to see if I like it than $50 for the entire season. But I'd prefer to pay $10 for a sampler (it could even simply be disc 1 to save on production costs) to test the series than $25 for half a season.

As a sweetener to consumers who buy the sampler disc, the studios could have a rebate program for those who choose to upgrade to the full season set (say half the price of the sampler).
Why, oh why, couldn't a studio think of this? If they were to do this for example?
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Old 07-14-04, 09:40 AM
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Originally posted by Adam Tyner
Staddon explains in his post why that is that's almost a certainty.

There's not an answer here that'll placate the people who are convinced they're being ripped off, but Peter Staddon is the only exec from any of the major studios who's kept in close contact with DVD enthusiasts on a major web forum, and he played a significant role in taking Fox Home Video away from the grossly overpriced, bare-bones, non-anamorphic Bill Mechanic days to the studio they are today. He's a bright guy who's done an incredible amount for the format -- while it might be easy to dismiss him and say "take Econ 101!"...well, just because a solution is obvious and isn't mentioned doesn't mean it hasn't been considered and dismissed. Is Staddon out there to make Fox money? Of course, and if dropping the list price of the set a few bucks were an option, I'm sure that's the course that would've been taken.
Fair enough... but by the same token, since the guy is "bright" he's not going to come right out and say that this move is a way to bump up revenue a bit.

I can almost buy the whole "lower price point to entice consumer to buy" idea for first seasons of TV shows. But to do this on subsequent seasons doesn't make sense.

For example: I can't see people jumping on season 3 for a show (when they haven't bought 1 and 2) If a person wants to buy a show, they're gonna jump in and buy the first season and keep on buying. If someone was so "into" a show that they knew that season 3 and onward were the best and simply wanted those, then they want the show enough to buy the season set (split or not).

The basic premise behind the split-season concept is that it makes these sets attractive to people who would've purchased it if the price was lower.

If "Lost In Space" didn't sell well (or more accurately, actual sales were less than projected sales) it wasn't necessarily because of the price.

It's not even a cult classic, let alone a mainstream hit. It simply isn't going to sell as many copies as "The Twilight Zone". Add to the fact that LIS has been out of the public eye (not in syndication) for the past 5 years or so has hurt it tremendously.

I'd like to see how sales of LIS:Season 1 compared to other shows that haven't been in syndication for the last 5+ years.
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Old 07-14-04, 09:41 AM
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Originally posted by Adam Tyner
Yes, I took Econ 101 in college, and I know that lower price theoretically means more sales. But for a series with the limited appeal of Lost in Space, "more" doesn't necessarily mean enough to offset the revenue they would've brought in with fewer sales at a higher price point.
Yes, but since they were "disappointed" with the sales, they obviously don't know everything. I don't claim to know more than they do but when I saw the price, I knew that they blew it. With a show like Lost in Space, you have to look at the "cult" base and then the general audience. This set was priced for the cult base and many of them probably bought it but with so many other TV sets out there, the general audience just isn't going to bother with this show. They will wait for the price to drop or just move on to something else. What I find so odd is that they do not seem to reduce the price of TV sets. Look at MTM, I think its still at MSRP $50.

I think the economic solution for them is one that many here won't like one bit - but it's an obvious one. Release the set at a fairly high price and lower it substantially after 6-12 months. That way you get the die hards up front that simply have to have it the day of release and then market to the general audience a year later - perhaps when you are releasing Season 2. I wouldn't like it but it seems to make good business sense.

Once again, TV sets are not impulse buys for the general public. They may plunk down $5 for a movie but not $30 for a few TV episodes that they can watch on TBS if they want to "try it". Most people are familiar with Lost in Space and can try it for free on cable or cheap through Netflix, BBV, etc. J6P is not going to "try" something for $30.
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