Fox Makes 24 DVDs Available As Soon As The Season Ends

from the about-time... dept

I have to admit that, for all the insistence from movie industry folks about the importance of "windows" between releases in different formats, it's never made any sense to me that movies aren't released in multiple formats at the same time. In fact, I still can't figure out why the movie studios don't have DVDs of the movie you just saw for sale as you walk out of the theater. Offer up the DVDs with a discount if you have a ticket from the showing, and if the movie was really good, the DVD has lots of extras, and the price is reasonable, plenty of people would buy it right up -- rather than needing to remember months later. So consider me surprised and impressed that Fox made sure that the DVD for the latest season of the show 24 was available the day after the season ended. It's not quite the same as having DVDs of movies available, but it's close. Of course, the studio also decided not to do much marketing for the DVD release, fearing that people wouldn't watch the finale if they knew they could buy it on DVD the next day. Of course, they could also just record it with their DVR, but who's counting?
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Filed Under: 24, dvds, tv shows


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2009 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, all nice answers, but again, you are making what I consider a classical marketing mistake: Bending over a dollar to pick up a dime. It's what makes the whole Web 2.0 revolution such a laugh at times.

    "Again, you're assuming that the theatrical audience and home audience are the same, and they're often not. Those "pirates"? Merely potential customers whose needs are not being met in the hopes that their peers can be leeched several times for the same movie. Why not expand the potential initial customer base by including those who don't go to the cinema?"

    People who are going to leech a copy from the internet isn't a buyer anyway. If running a P2P program for 2 days to watch a shaky, hand held camera copy of a movie is all that these people need, they certainly aren't buying. Handing a copy of the DVD to movie goers as they leave would just mean that there would be digitally perfect copies of the current movies online getting leeched perfectly, leading to even more people NOT paying for a movie ticket, and NOT buying a DVD. So in order to pick up the dime (selling a DVD at the movie house) you bend over the dollar (selling movie tickets and DVDs over time).

    Yes, it would satisfy some paying customers, but it would likely do an even better job of satisfying a group of potential paying customers who would quickly become non-paying customers. Even in simple terms, why go see a movie at $10 a head when you can get the DVD for $20 right now and watch it with 10 friends at your house? Heck, if you can leech it off the net for free, why bother even paying the $20 for the DVD?

    "I'm sure that many millions of copies of The Dark Knight, for example, would have shifted in theaters if they had been available. More than have shifted now? I don't know, but I'd say it's unlikely to have been less"

    But here is the key: How many fewer people would have seen the movie in Theaters (which is the big end of the income stream)?

    Think about it this way: A movie ticket is $10, and a DVD is $20. A movie ticket is good for one person, a DVD can be played over and over. Say on average 5 people watch a DVD (household plus 1 friend). Your per head income is now $4. Every DVD sold would be like killing 5 ticket sales. So you go from $50 income (5 heads) to $20 income (one DVD, 5 heads watching). You have to sell 2.5 times more DVDs to make up for what is lost. It's downcoverting a sale from a higher value and higher profit point to a lower profit point, which is horrible marketing, no matter how much it makes some people happy.

    By selling DVDs after the movie is no longer in the theaters means that not only can you sell it to those people who didn't pay a ticket, but there is potential that those who paid for a ticket will also buy it. You have increased you potential DVD income, and you haven't harmed your theater sales.

    "Just as Netflix, cable and iTunes don't necessarily steal sales revenue from the DVD market, there should be nothing wrong with allowing the customer to choose what's right for them"

    Within reason. It's just normal marketing, you offer your products up at a time and place where the price point and public demand meet. You don't want to go into the marketplace with a lower price point than needed to make the sale, and you don't want to cannibalize high profit sales by pushing those customers onto a lower profit option if you don't need to. Why shoot yourself in the foot?

    Again, are there significantly less DVD sales as a result of not offering the DVD right away while the movie is still in theaters? Probably a few, but the potential costs to the theater boxoffice take isn't worth the risk, now is it?

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