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Warner Archive Ramps Up

25 Sep, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey, Stephanie Prange

Patrick Duffy

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Patrick Duffy, the TV star best known for “Dallas,” was at the Paley Center for Media Sept. 21 to celebrate his lesser-known “The Man from Atlantis,” a show that wouldn’t see the light of day on disc if it weren’t for the Warner Archive Collection.

It was part of a two-day celebration of retro TV titles available exclusively through the manufacture on demand (MOD) program that started in 2009 and will have more than 1,500 titles available by this November. Panels for Ray Bradbury’s “Halloween Tree,” “The Herculoids,” “Tarzan,” “Superboy,” “Cheyenne” and “Shazam!” were held during the event.

“Warner Archive is wonderful, because ‘Man from Atlantis’ never saw reruns, and nobody has seen it since it aired,” said Duffy, 63. “I think it’s brilliant to do it on-demand like this, and look at everything they’re resurrecting now, breathing new life into titles that shouldn’t be shelved away.”

Ron Ely, who played Tarzan in the series that debuted in 1966, echoed Duffy’s thoughts, saying Warner Archive has been a godsend for older TV series.

“I am very, very pleased that Warner Archives has come along and they’ve remastered all these shows in high-definition because these shows deserve it,” he said.

George Feltenstein, Warner Home Video’s SVP of theatrical catalog marketing, said the Paley Center events were a reflection of “how our Warner Archive television business is vital and growing,” while the feature film side of it “is as robust and vital as ever.”

Feltenstein called MOD a “more efficient system” of releasing discs without the inconvenience and cost of returns.

“The benefit of [Warner Archive] is inventory control,” he said. “Every disc manufactured is a disc sold.”

It’s an especially useful release plan because so many retailers have disappeared or shrunk shelf space.

“Forget the long tail. This is the middle tail,” Feltenstein said. “This is where the [mid-catalog] business has gone.”

What’s made Warner Archive’s TV business grow is the ability for Warner to put TV series on dual-sided discs, and DVD 9s since 2010, allowing them to pack more TV shows on a disc.

Other studios are catching on to MOD, and Feltenstein says he tries to advocate that they do.

“We are the boutique operation” compared to the wide release retail business, Feltenstein said.

“It’s a lower risk, higher opportunity” release system, he added.

Click here to view photos from the Paley Center's Warner Archives event.

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