An online article
posted the other day by trade magazine Home Media Retailing
is called "Unfinished Business," and writer Jessica Wolf explains exactly why certain TV shows are not continuing to have subsequent DVD season sets released.
The verdict: poor sales have kept studios from investing time, money and resources in DVD sets that they don't see a huge demand for. Despite a very vocal group of folks on the internet who stand by their favorite shows, studios see the vast mass market ignoring the availability on DVD of certain programs (compared to previous season sets, or else a very small volume of sales compared to the most successful TV-DVD releases), so the studio execs make the difficult decision to move on to other series to see if they will sell better.
Quoting from the story (which we encourage you to read in full at the link above), here are some examples of sales dropoffs that kept more season sets from being released on DVD:
- Buena Vista Home Entertainment released three seasons of “Boy Meets World,” which was on the air from 1993 through 2000. Season Two sales were off from the first set by just 12%. But Season Three sales were down 39% from Season Two, and plans for a season-four release were scrapped.
- ...Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s “Who’s the Boss?” Season one came out in June 2004 and sold just 1.5% of the units of the studio’s No. 1 TV DVD seller of all time — Seinfeld: Seasons 1 & 2, according to Nielsen VideoScan data.
- Warner Home Video’s season-one sets of “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Murphy Brown” and “Night Court,” all released in 2005, sold 6% or less units compared to Warner’s top seller for 2005 — Friends: The Complete Ninth Season.
- Others fared a little better, but were still left by the wayside. Universal Studios Home Entertainment last year released Airwolf: Season One, and it sold nearly 20% of the units of Universal’s top TV DVD release for the year, Miami Vice: Season One.
TVShowsOnDVD's Gord Lacey is quoted as saying that Everwood
is "one of the most- lamented languishing series, based on fan comments
," but the story goes on to state that Warner has no more sets in the pipeline at this time.
is also mentioned as a show that is "Unfinished Business" on DVD, and the story indicates poor sales as a reason for that. That's actually contrary to industry rumors we've heard all along that the DVD release of the second season was stalled after NBA Star Chris Webber objected to the show's portrayal of his purported withdrawal as emcee of a charity event in the final task
. We ourselves don't know the truth of that either way in regard to the DVD release of The Apprentice 2
(and we certainly wouldn't want to get on the bad side of either Webber OR Trump!), but we've joined fans in wishing we'd see more of The Donald and his reality show on home video.
And, whether or not Gord and I like a TV show ourselves, we always want to help fans of a given series get their favorite programs on DVD. Ultimately, though, the studio is a business. And all businesses have a single goal: to make money. That's just a fact of life. They won't be able to release a show on DVD (or any other format) just for the sake of history, or art, or any other altruistic reasons: they have stockholders to answer to, and if the management team doesn't invest time and resources in the most profitable projects, they will plainly and simply lose their jobs. So support your favorite shows on DVD, and encourage other fans to support it as well. Don't forget that retailers also need to know you want to own these DVDs: if a studio produces a release, but retailers don't want to stock it on their shelves because they don't think it will sell, then the end result is the same!
One other editorial comment from us to the fans of ANY television show: Gord and I get e-mails or see online posts all the time where somebody states that they won't buy a Season 1 set until the studio announces subsequent season sets, or even until the final season has been given a street date. The reason is that these fans don't want to be stuck with one or two season sets, only to have the series abandoned by the studio (as with the examples above) prior to being able to buy the entire run of the show.
There are also many folks who refuse to buy any form of "best-of" release, because they don't want to "waste money" - even ten bucks or less - on a release that has episodes they want to get in season sets later. That remains their attitude even when it is made clear by the studio that the early best-of release is meant to "test the waters" to see if a season set will fly later on. Gord and I agree that those of you who make these decisions have the right to do this: it's your money after all. But it sounds a lot like cutting off your nose to spite your face, doesn't it? After all, if you're truly a fan of the show, then proving your support is the key to achieving your goal of getting all the episodes on down the line. And if you're a fan of a given series, it seems better to have some of it on DVD then nothing at all, doesn't it? If you're waiting for some sort of "studio commitment" to releasing the entire run of a multi-season show, well, you probably won't get it except in very rare cases. Nothing's guaranteed in life, after all!
Please don't bother to e-mail us with rebuttals to these comments; we really HAVE heard the opposing viewpoint before...many times over the years. We would really prefer to save our e-mail inboxes for messages about TV-DVD news or website issues we need to resolve, and that sort of thing. But in case you really feel that you MUST provide your opinion on these editorial comments, then please feel free to post them at our blog entry
set up for feedback on this story.
Here is the box art for the cancelled Boy Meets World - The Complete 4th Season
DVD package, which sounds like it will never see release through Disney/Buena Vista. We hope that the guys at Disney, and at the other studios who don't have policies that prevent licensing their properties, consider the idea of farming out these titles to smaller publishing studios who can scale a release properly for the lower volume expectations and so find a way to get these properties out there for fans to enjoy!