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Just a Taste of TV DVD

23 Mar, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment hopes its new TV DVD “starter sets,” streeting March 22, will open up a new buying audience for the studio's TV programming, said Todd Rowan, VP of marketing for Fox.

Single-DVD releases of “24,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “The Pretender” and “Mary Tyler Moore” arrive as “starter packs” with a couple of episodes from each show. The dramas include the first two first-season episodes of each show, he said. The “Mary Tyler Moore” disc includes four non-serialized episodes.

“The idea is to create a low price point single-disc trial mechanism for fans of the show who maybe haven't stepped up to purchase a full-season set yet,” Rowan said.

A $10 coupon included with each disc, good toward the purchase of a full-season set, should be plenty of incentive for new buyers, Rowan said, especially since the single-discs will likely retail for around $5 to $7.

Fox has received positive feedback from retail accounts about the starter DVDs, he said.

“Fans [can] experience a show or relive some of the memories of it without having the expense [of a full-season set],” Rowan said.

Though Fox was among the first studios to furiously release complete-season sets to the TV DVD market, with early hits like “The X Files,” lasting sales successes like “The Simpsons” and surprise hits like “The Family Guy,” the studio lost a bit of market share from 2003 to 2004 as more suppliers got into the TV DVD groove, according to VideoScan data.

Fox boasted nearly 15 percent of sales in the 2003 TV DVD market, slipping to about 12 percent last year, according to VideoScan data. The No. 1 TV DVD seller for the studio last year was still The Family Guy Seasons 1 & 2.

Putting out a few episodes is not a new tactic from the studio for TV programming. In the past, Fox released VHS titles with selected episodes from shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Simpsons.”

“Those were very successful in their day,” he said.

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