Sunday, April 25, 2004

DVD History, Mirrors Comic TPB History?

From TV Shows on DVD.

Recently Fox announced that the X-Files DVD sets will be marked down to $99. I found the history of the sets interesting:

May 11th is the street date for the final season of The X-Files, which was the first series to ever come out on DVD in season-length gift sets. Season 1 arrived back in May 2000, and ever since then, in six-month intervals, Fox has faithfully released a new season set. X-fans have been able to count on May and November as the months to get excited about for releases during the past four years.

Being a pioneer in the season set business, Fox didn't know what to charge at first for such an enormous 7-DVD set. A lot of factors must have been kicked around, including show costs, manufacturing costs for such a set (certainly higher at the time that this first was put together), any piece of the home video pie that cast may have had written into their contracts, distribution costs, marketing costs, etc. In the end, Fox worked up an SRP of $149.98 (US$)/$179.98 (CAN$) for these releases. And fans have happily purchased at these prices, putting the home video industry on the road to TV-on-DVD season sets as one of the biggest types of sellers in the market.

As the series wound down on DVD toward it's last few seasons, fans started voicing the opinion that the once-acceptable suggested retail price was now feeling a bit high. After all, fans said, the series wasn't quite as enjoyable at the end, especially with the coming-and-going of popular star David Duchovny. Moreover, as the TV-on-DVD category exploded, list prices on season sets scaled drastically downward, with SRPs in the $60-$80 range being quite common and under-$50 SRPs for season sets being findable on a regular basis.

Could this be an analogous situation to comics and trade paperbacks today? Mainly DC and in part Marvel were among the first to start collecting their stories in collected form. I wonder if they too didn't know what price to set or if there was a market for it?

Then as the numbers started to show that there was a market that desired this format, other companies started jumping into the field each offering different price points and opportunities.

Things seem to be settling in now, with certain formats or amount of content being priced at certain points. Could we soon be finding our median prices? Will we soon see price corrections that will mirror the above one with the X-Files sets?

We are also already starting to see a price reduction in some DC archives, Batman volume 1 was recently offered at $20, and Marvel has released some of their Masterworks in a cheaper format. Are these just flukes? Or could it be that we are starting to see the ever growing TPB market find its boundaries?

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