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Later Season Sets Often Require Bigger Push

30 Nov, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Now that TV DVD is an established business, studios are tackling a new challenge: how to maintain sales throughout a series' DVD life.

Season one sets typically sell best, with a gradual decline for each successive season, according to Home Media Research. Sometimes the dropoff is so pronounced that the studios pull the plug; but more often they ratchet up the marketing.

To promote the Dec. 5 release of 24 Season 5 ($59.98), 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has created an exclusive Web site that will screen new footage about the show for 24 consecutive weeks — but only for buyers of the DVD.

The Web site can only be accessed by inserting a DVD-ROM, which comes with the 24: Season 5 DVD, into a computer. Each week, the site will screen new three- to five-minute segments that range from behind-the-scenes interviews and mini-documentaries on the day-to-day workings of the various “24” production departments to making-of clips from the show's sixth season, which is scheduled for a two-part premiere Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, 2007.

The site launches the day the DVD streets with a special introduction from director Jon Cassar plus a tour of the “24” studios and the Counter Terrorist Unit set.

“We know that viewers look forward to each new installment of the show, and now they can delve deeper into the world of ‘24' with an exclusive insider's experience,” said Todd Rowan, Fox's SVP of marketing.

Last year, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment also upped the marketing ante for seasons five and six of “Seinfeld,” bundling the two season sets into a special gift set that came with a copy of the handwritten script and a collectible miniature replica of the famed “puffy shirt.”

For season seven, which just came out, Sony got a big boost in awareness from Michael Richards' racist rant and subsequent apology during Seinfeld's appearance on “Late Show With David Letterman” to promote the DVD. This week, the Rev. Jesse Jackson urged the public to boycott the DVD.

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