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View Full Version : Would you watch a T.V. show that's only available on DVD?



Nonnie
09-12-2006, 05:09 PM
With the success of DVD sets for shows that didn't last very long-- "Undeclared," "Wonderfalls," "Freaks and Geeks," "Firelfy"-- it makes me wonder if people would support a show that's ONLY on DVD.

There's already a market for films that go straight to DVD, so why not T.V. shows? And if it's got quality creators behind it, why wouldn't it be just as popular as any show on television.

And let's just look past the fact that people would have to spend money to watch these shows, instead of getting them for free on network T.V. Yes, it plays into this arguement, but when some of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows of the past few years have been on pay cable --"Sopranos," "Deadwood," and so-- it just makes sense that people would be willing to pay for a quality show on DVD.

What do you folks think?

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 05:13 PM
Uh, most TV shows cost $1-3 million per episode to make. Who is going to gamble on those upfront costs hoping they become popular. Many of the shows you named are popular on DVD but still weren't profitable.

Nonnie
09-12-2006, 05:16 PM
Uh, most TV shows cost $1-3 million per episode to make. Who is going to gamble on those upfront costs hoping they become popular.

People with some balls and vision, that's who.

MrClown
09-12-2006, 05:17 PM
I dunno. The landscape of entertainment seems to be changing, especially with this new thing that Apple's about to start up. I'll be interested to see where all this leads and how the big companies can exploit the popularity of DVD, viral video, and shit like that....

bartleby
09-12-2006, 05:18 PM
People with some balls and vision, that's who.


Balls, vision, and stupidity. If the show was good enough to sell that well on DVD, there's more money to be made through television broadcast ad rates and syndication rights.

Michael John Wheeler
09-12-2006, 05:18 PM
Although I doubt many quality shows would be produced for direct to DVD (if it can be profitable on DVD, there is no way HBO or someone would pass on it) I would buy it. I am starting to watch Firefly, and soon Lost, which are both, for me, effectively straight-to-DVD TV shows for me.

AAlgar
09-12-2006, 05:19 PM
Absolutely. And I think it could work with creative marketing.

Thudpucker
09-12-2006, 05:19 PM
Yes but it would need to be a new show by a trusted creative team. Like if Whedon did one his fans would support it and spread the word. Or a continuation of a cancelled show.

An unknown property from an unknown creator would probably flop though.

Icaruss
09-12-2006, 05:20 PM
Isn't the new Spiderman show, direct to DVD, or something?

Natty P, Scientific Adventurer
09-12-2006, 05:21 PM
I probably wouldn't spend 40 bucks on a dvd set sight unseen.

Kensington
09-12-2006, 05:22 PM
There's definitely potential, but it would have to be carefully marketed. By default, I think any such endeavour would carry the stigma of being subpar, at least initially. The average potential customer is going to think "if it's so good, why isn't it on TV?" That may be an out-of-date attitude, but it's still prevalent with direct-to-DVD movies.

Maybe if the pilot or an initial episode or two were made available for free download, and the press was really, really good, there would be a chance, but some good stuff will definitely crash and burn in this format, just as good TV shows often crash and burn on free TV.

Patton
09-12-2006, 05:23 PM
Uh, most TV shows cost $1-3 million per episode to make. Who is going to gamble on those upfront costs hoping they become popular. Many of the shows you named are popular on DVD but still weren't profitable.
I think you're vastly underestimating the financial gain of DVDs.

I was just thinking about this today and I think it's in the future somewhere. I think they'll try to get the show on air first of course, but if no one picks it up, they might move to internet and DVD. I can see that being very profitable.

Movie Maker
09-12-2006, 05:32 PM
i have a myspace tv show...if that counts.

bartleby
09-12-2006, 05:33 PM
I think you're vastly underestimating the financial gain of DVDs.

I was just thinking about this today and I think it's in the future somewhere. I think they'll try to get the show on air first of course, but if no one picks it up, they might move to internet and DVD. I can see that being very profitable.


And you're overestimating the financial gain of DVDs and the cost of producing a television series.

Who has the money to produce an entire television series without some indication that it'll get picked up by a network? Anybody that could get that thing made would likely have enough clout that some network would want it just based on their involvement.

Thudpucker
09-12-2006, 05:36 PM
Didn't the new Battlestar Galactica start as a pay to download internet only show before Sci-fi picked it up?

That seems like a great idea. Put the episodes out on the internet for subscribers, then release seasons on DVD.

Natty P, Scientific Adventurer
09-12-2006, 05:39 PM
Didn't the new Battlestar Galactica start as a pay to download internet only show before Sci-fi picked it up?



Not that I recall.

Kensington
09-12-2006, 05:40 PM
Maybe it will work in a scenario like this. Some TV guru like Joss Whedon has a show like Firefly which is being cancelled after one season. Based on the Firefly/Family Guy/Futurama experience, it's now recognized that a failing TV show can experience a significant DVD sales success.

Before the crew is dismissed, before the actors are released from the contracts, a deal is put in place to go ahead and produce season 2 and release it direct to DVD. In a scenario like this, not only are the risks much more minimal than they might be if the show were completely new or the creator untested, but the show might well find itself back on the broadcast airwaves after the DVDs sell well.

I'd love to see this happen. If Freaks and Geeks were tried now, we might easily have gotten a DVD season 2.

Kensington
09-12-2006, 05:41 PM
Didn't the new Battlestar Galactica start as a pay to download internet only show before Sci-fi picked it up?No. Stop being crazy.

bartleby
09-12-2006, 05:41 PM
Didn't the new Battlestar Galactica start as a pay to download internet only show before Sci-fi picked it up?

That seems like a great idea. Put the episodes out on the internet for subscribers, then release seasons on DVD.


Nope, SciFi Channel produced the show with British network Sky. It aired overseas several months before SciFi Channel, so episodes found their way to the Internet before people in the US could see it on television.

Thudpucker
09-12-2006, 05:41 PM
Not that I recall.

It premired on Sky One a full year before Sci-fi aired it. I'm just not sure what Sky One is.

http://www.skyone.co.uk/programme/pgeProgramme.aspx?pid=3

It might be a UK network but I think it's an internet only channel.

Natty P, Scientific Adventurer
09-12-2006, 05:43 PM
Maybe it will work in a scenario like this. Some TV guru like Joss Whedon has a show like Firefly which is being cancelled after one season. Based on the Firefly/Family Guy/Futurama experience, it's now recognized that a failing TV show can experience a significant DVD sales success.

Before the crew is dismissed, before the actors are released from the contracts, a deal is put in place to go ahead and produce season 2 and release it direct to DVD. In a scenario like this, not only are the risks much more minimal than they might be if the show were completely new or the creator untested, but the show might well find itself back on the broadcast airwaves after the DVDs sell well.

I'd love to see this happen. If Freaks and Geeks were tried now, we might easily have gotten a DVD season 2.


It would be great, but it would be tough for people to finance something that couldn't hack it on television ratings-wise. There's no such thing as a sure thing, especially when millions of dollars on the line.


Just playing devil's advocate.

Thudpucker
09-12-2006, 05:44 PM
Nope, SciFi Channel produced the show with British network Sky. It aired overseas several months before SciFi Channel, so episodes found their way to the Internet before people in the US could see it on television.

Ah, just looked it up. Sky One is thier first Satellite channel. The 'non-terrestrial entertainment TV channel' slogans were confusing me.

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 05:44 PM
It premired on Sky One a full year before Sci-fi aired it. I'm just not sure what Sky One is.

http://www.skyone.co.uk/programme/pgeProgramme.aspx?pid=3

It might be a UK network but I think it's an internet only channel.

Sky One is a satellite TV company.

ClintP
09-12-2006, 05:46 PM
I would give it a try if it was good. Though I would be behind the bandwagon I am sure. I would want lots of good reviews before I tried it.

Patton
09-12-2006, 05:46 PM
And you're overestimating the financial gain of DVDs and the cost of producing a television series.

Who has the money to produce an entire television series without some indication that it'll get picked up by a network? Anybody that could get that thing made would likely have enough clout that some network would want it just based on their involvement.
I'd say I'm estimating them quite well since I'm basing my estimations on facts. DVD sales have proven to be very profitable.

I never said anything about making an entire season did I? But by your standard, they wouldn't make direct to video movies...but they continually do so don't they? They could spend the same amount and it would have many more options as to where to put it.

Oh you mean like Joss Whedon? Huh...I could've sword he had a show cancelled. Clout don't get you everywhere.

Kensington
09-12-2006, 05:46 PM
It would be great, but it would be tough for people to finance something that couldn't hack it on television ratings-wise. There's no such thing as a sure thing, especially when millions of dollars on the line.


Just playing devil's advocate.Satan begone! :twisted:

I think it would be less tough now for a saavy investor because he can point to the DVD successes of Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, Futurama and Family Guy, all of which failed on broadcast TV but sold huge amounts of DVDs. When you consider the difference between relying on advertising revenue and being able to collect $2-$3 per episode from an audience, someone with some vision going to see the potential for a huge profit.

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 05:47 PM
Yes but it would need to be a new show by a trusted creative team. Like if Whedon did one his fans would support it and spread the word. Or a continuation of a cancelled show.

An unknown property from an unknown creator would probably flop though.

Whedon couldn't turn a profit on a $40 million dollar movie. Trying to get people to buy something on word-of-mouth doesn't work that well. Are we already forgetting Snakes On A Plane?

Kensington
09-12-2006, 05:47 PM
I would give it a try if it was good. Though I would be behind the bandwagon I am sure. I would want lots of good reviews before I tried it.At $2 a pop on iTunes or whatnot, it would be pretty easy to take a chance on something like this.

Kensington
09-12-2006, 05:51 PM
Whedon couldn't turn a profit on a $40 million dollar movie. Trying to get people to buy something on word-of-mouth doesn't work that well. Are we already forgetting Snakes On A Plane?Snakes on a Plane would have likely done much better if the studios and producers had followed their initial instincts and released a PG or PG-13 film rather than one that was R-rated. They shot themselves in the foot that way far more than by trying to rely on word-of-mouth, I think.

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 05:51 PM
I'd say I'm estimating them quite well since I'm basing my estimations on facts. DVD sales have proven to be very profitable.

I never said anything about making an entire season did I? But by your standard, they wouldn't make direct to video movies...but they continually do so don't they? They could spend the same amount and it would have many more options as to where to put it.

The premise of this thread was releasing a full season of a show with the same standard as TV onto DVD. Spending $1-5 million on a direct to DVD movie is a far cry from spending $52 million on a TV season.

The DVD market is viewed as profitable because there is no real cost. The movies have already been paid for and making the DVDs themselves is cheap. At a rough profit of $13 per DVD a studio would have to sell over 3 million of them to break even.

bartleby
09-12-2006, 05:51 PM
I'd say I'm estimating them quite well since I'm basing my estimations on facts. DVD sales have proven to be very profitable.

The DVD sales marketing is heading for a slump as more consumers are transitioning to the traditional rental system. DVD has been a boom to Hollywood as an ancillary source of income, but it's still just supplementing the primary market.




I never said anything about making an entire season did I? But by your standard, they wouldn't make direct to video movies...but they continually do so don't they? They could spend the same amount and it would have many more options as to where to put it.

So if it's not an entire season, what exactly makes it a television series? Wouldn't it just be a direct-to-video movie at that point?

Thudpucker
09-12-2006, 05:52 PM
Whedon couldn't turn a profit on a $40 million dollar movie. Trying to get people to buy something on word-of-mouth doesn't work that well. Are we already forgetting Snakes On A Plane?

Movies are not the same. And not all TV shows are either. Sci-fi like Firefly is very expensive but something like Angel could be done cheaply (relatively speaking) I bet. Unknown actors, set mostly in schools, houses ect. Not much need for special effects.

Just using him as an example because I hate his Vampire stuff, but if Whedon announced an original vampire show (even just 13 episodes) low budget on DVD it would be a hit.

Haborym
09-12-2006, 05:52 PM
Just a few weeks ago I heard that JMS was going to bring back B5 direct to DVD. I guess it was announced at DragonCon.

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=23963)

Patton
09-12-2006, 05:54 PM
The premise of this thread was releasing a full season of a show with the same standard as TV onto DVD. Spending $1-5 million on a direct to DVD movie is a far cry from spending $52 million on a TV season.

The DVD market is viewed as profitable because there is no real cost. The movies have already been paid for and making the DVDs themselves is cheap. At a rough profit of $13 per DVD a studio would have to sell over 3 million of them to break even.
You do understand that DVD sets cost 3-6 times as much as a regular DVD?

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 05:55 PM
Snakes on a Plane would have likely done much better if the studios and producers had followed their initial instincts and released a PG or PG-13 film rather than one that was R-rated. They shot themselves in the foot that way far more than by trying to rely on word-of-mouth, I think.

It was because of the internet 'buzz' that they decided to make it an R-rated movie. But this is getting away from the point of the thread. Making a season of TV is extremely expensive and that's what prohibits people from trying to do a D2DVD show. Not a lack of balls or creativity as some claim.

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 05:55 PM
You do understand that DVD sets cost 3-6 times as much as a regular DVD?

Who's going to pay $70-100 for a DVD set of a show they have never seen?

The Roman Candle
09-12-2006, 05:58 PM
I imagine it would cause quite a change in the format. I imagine serials made straight for DVD would start becoming more and more like 24 (in style, I mean. Fast-moving, continuity heavy, ect) as they went along. They already have shows made straight to internet, DVD makes about as much sense.

bartleby
09-12-2006, 06:00 PM
Movies are not the same. And not all TV shows are either. Sci-fi like Firefly is very expensive but something like Angel could be done cheaply (relatively speaking) I bet. Unknown actors, set mostly in schools, houses ect. Not much need for special effects.

Just using him as an example because I hate his Vampire stuff, but if Whedon announced an original vampire show (even just 13 episodes) low budget on DVD it would be a hit.


Low budget for television is still in the neighborhood of $500,000. And we're not talking high-quality here. More along the type of programming that the new MyNetworkTV is going to be airing.

Thirteen episodes of something like ANGEL would probably cost you at least $13 million. There's not enough upside with DVD sales alone to take that kind of risk.

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 06:00 PM
Movies are not the same. And not all TV shows are either. Sci-fi like Firefly is very expensive but something like Angel could be done cheaply (relatively speaking) I bet. Unknown actors, set mostly in schools, houses ect. Not much need for special effects.

Just using him as an example because I hate his Vampire stuff, but if Whedon announced an original vampire show (even just 13 episodes) low budget on DVD it would be a hit.

Angel and Firefly were cancelled because they had too small of an audience. Where are all these extra fans going to come from?

Kensington
09-12-2006, 06:02 PM
Angel and Firefly were cancelled because they had too small of an audience. Where are all these extra fans going to come from?But the DVDs have been huge successes.

bartleby
09-12-2006, 06:06 PM
But the DVDs have been huge successes.


Mostly with the same audience that watched the show when it was originally broadcast. For the most part, you're not going to get more people to pay to watch something that they didn't want to watch for free.

Natty P, Scientific Adventurer
09-12-2006, 06:06 PM
Angel and Firefly were cancelled because they had too small of an audience. Where are all these extra fans going to come from?

Angel had the highest ratings of any show on the WB.

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 06:10 PM
Angel had the highest ratings of any show on the WB.

Which means what? Angel had 5 million viewers at it's height. That still wasn't enough to pay the bills.

bartleby
09-12-2006, 06:11 PM
Angel had the highest ratings of any show on the WB.


Having higher ratings doesn't automatically make a show more profitable though. The ratings of ANGEL and BUFFY may be higher than that of other shows, but the production cost was also higher -- not to mention that the shows were produced by a different studio, so the network wasn't making money off of ancillary revenue.

WillieLee
09-12-2006, 06:12 PM
But the DVDs have been huge successes.

Relative to what?

Kensington
09-12-2006, 06:34 PM
Relative to what?I don't know, but successful enough to get Serenity produced.

chess
09-12-2006, 07:35 PM
With the success of DVD sets for shows that didn't last very long-- "Undeclared," "Wonderfalls," "Freaks and Geeks," "Firelfy"-- it makes me wonder if people would support a show that's ONLY on DVD.

There's already a market for films that go straight to DVD, so why not T.V. shows? And if it's got quality creators behind it, why wouldn't it be just as popular as any show on television.

And let's just look past the fact that people would have to spend money to watch these shows, instead of getting them for free on network T.V. Yes, it plays into this arguement, but when some of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows of the past few years have been on pay cable --"Sopranos," "Deadwood," and so-- it just makes sense that people would be willing to pay for a quality show on DVD.

What do you folks think?


Once again, the porn industry leads the wave for the future of entertainment.

The answer is yes. "Girls Gone Wild" is incredibly successful.