Fixing The Glut of DVDs
If you’re like me, you like TV and movies. And when you find a movie franchise or a TV show you really like, buying the DVDs so you can re-watch a favorite whenever you want makes a ton of sense.
Unfortunately, in this Golden Age of Television, premium and basic cable networks alike are exploding with original content. There are dozens of new shows every year on dozens of channels, and they are premiering randomly across the schedule all week and all year long. Adding to the problem, is this newer age of streaming (Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu being the juggernauts in that space), that have begun acting like premium cable networks in their own right with their own large slates of original content. It’s like each TV viewer is a thimble and Hollywood is directing an ever-growing fire hose at us. Is it any wonder that overall TV viewership and targeted demo ratings in particular are plummeting?
Now, this bounty of options is severely impacting DVD sales. Too many choices are out there, many of which are readily available on streaming, often before the DVD itself is released. We are beyond saturated with options. So what do we do with the DVDs we already have, and how do we decide which ones to keep buying?
Purging your house of DVDs. Much like you would purse a closet during Spring Cleaning, you might want to purge your bookshelves and storage space of your DVDs. Are there any you haven’t seen in a while? Would you want to? Do they have an emotional touchstone or memory for you? Is the movie/show readily available on TV or streaming? Take a moment to look at a TV show as a whole, as well as the one-off movies or regrettable comedy specials. Once you’ve created a trash pile, do it again. And again.
Be more selective when buying. Ask yourself, am I getting this one sale or paying full price? Does this continue a TV show or movie franchise collection I actually want to keep? Will I watch this movie more than once? Will this just end up in my annual DVD purge pile?
What can Hollywood do to encourage more sales? The “Best Of” or “Fan Favorite” option. If Friends or Criminal Minds or Big Bang Theory has too many seasons and people can’t keep up, rewatch, or even just buy every one of the DVDs, the studio may want to do a themed compilation. The Star Trek franchise did this as a “Fan Collective” across their multiple TV shows, putting together DVD sets for everyone’s favorite Klingon episodes, Borg battles, and time-traveling escapades, among others. Criminal Minds has at least 2 favorite cast members, and a history of giving each cast member episodes in which to shine, which is just begging for this kind of treatment. Castle could have done this with the long story arc involving Kate’s mother’s murder. How I Met Your Mother could have done one with just the big Mother moments. It gives the fans some of their favorite episodes, giving them an incentive to buy 1 DVD boxset rather than skipping all 12 completely. It also gives new viewers a chance to explore a show. And it reduces chances of a DVD ending up in the Purge pile. These shows can continue to mass-produce (at lower rates) the season-long sets, and maybe update their Best Of with a second or third volume later.
What Hollywood can’t do? Cheapen the DVD experience and expect everyone to migrate over to Blu-Ray in similar volume at the higher price point. It’s just not going to happen. Blu-Rays are worth splurging on once in a while, but not in the high-volume buying that season-long DVDs for each show requires.
That is just my 2 cents. Maybe it will revive DVD sales, maybe not. But it’s certainly better than the status quo.