Wednesday, May 05, 2004

So much for that idea...

Scott Nance, "TV Execs? Who Needs ‘Em: Put New Shows on DVD," MediaSharX, May 3, 2004.
[Gord Lacey, owner of] wrote back, saying, “Wow, funny that you should bring this up now. I was contacted by someone just the other day proposing a direct-to-DVD sci-fi series. He was estimating that he would have to sell 300,000 copies of a 2-episode disc to pay for the episodes.”

Lacey, however, was fairly skeptical and told me he promptly threw cold water on our budding producer’s idea. “I explained to him that there’s no way that would be possible, especially given that his universe wasn’t known and didn’t have fans behind it already,” he said. “Successful shows sell 100,000-200,000 copies on DVD.”

"I’m just not ready to give up on this admittedly half-cocked idea quite yet..."

Lacey came up with a lot of good reasons why direct-to-DVD won’t work, mostly that studios rely on advertising and syndication as the prime revenue streams. Selling existing (i.e. already paid-for) content on DVD is just gravy. There’s not much risk if the DVD flops since the production costs have already been paid for.

Investing in a production of a new series, on the other hand, that would be expensive -- and a big gamble, he said.

Lacey also mentioned one other (somewhat more well-known) TV producer who has mentioned his interest in releasing direct-to-DVD series. Joel Surnow, executive producer of just a little show called 24, proposed doing direct-to-DVD releases at the TV DVD conference last October.

“He had a vision of 24 stories going directly to DVD based around a situation, with different characters from the show,” Lacey said. “He said they would have to look into the viability of the project. I think a show like that would be much cheaper since it has fewer sets, special effects and costumes than a sci-fi show would have. It’ll be interesting to see what happens and if they can make it work.”
...or maybe not.