Trend Of TV Shows On DVD

What's the best way to watch an entire day of "Friends"? Or the first season of "Magnum P.I."? How about hours upon hours of "Knight Rider," "24" and "The Sopranos"?

From swish soirees to simply rotting away on the sofa, time suckage is at a maximum these days, thanks to the plethora of TV-to-DVD products, and they're spawning new ways to fill your weekends.

TV programs, no doubt, have become the fastest growing segment of the DVD business, according to industry experts. Three years ago, fewer than a hundred shows were available on disc. Now, there are more than 800 on the market, with dozens more coming out each week.

According to Video Store Magazine research, U.S. sales of TV shows on DVD nearly tripled from $300 million in 2001 to $870 million in 2002. TV shows make up an estimated 10 per cent of the DVD market, which last year tallied more than $1 billion in sales.

While TV shows on DVD are nothing new - it's arguably the biggest-growth genre in the digital format - today's baby-boomer bounty demonstrates that classic series are coming out with increasing frequency. Call it a trend within a trend, one fueled by more older viewers tuning in to DVD as it continues to gain mass appeal and by studios digging deeper into their catalogs as they exhaust newer fare. Undeniably, there is a great sense of rediscovery as fans chase the titles they remember most fondly from their younger years - not just classic movies, but classic TV shows like: "I Love Lucy" and "Star Trek" besides "Have Gun, Will Travel". This occurs in the music business, but it's now redefining the home-video business.

The demand is certainly there, and so is the supply. Premium pricing and escalating demand translate into an increasingly lucrative profit channel for suppliers. According to the DVD Release Report, a weekly tip sheet, suppliers last year released 264 titles based on TV programs, more than 100 of them multidisc sets. The trend is toward complete-season sets, in which the difference in capacity and shelf space is most pronounced.

Everyone is getting into the act

Everyone, it seems, is getting in on the game. Paramount Home Entertainment is capturing demographic segments with such diverse fare as "I Love Lucy" and "Star Trek."

Universal will release "Battlestar Galactica," "Sliders," "Quantum Leap," "Dragnet," "Emergency," "Magnum P.I." and "The Rockford Files."

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which began the drive to market TV shows on DVD with "The X-Files," is enjoying success with everything from "The Simpsons" to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Warner Home Video has released two best-selling complete-season packages of "Friends," while HBO Home Video continues to score big with seasonal installments of "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City."

With the wealth of newer TV shows bowing on DVD, it appears both baby boomers and new buyers are ready to follow their TV favorites to DVD.

Outlook 2004

With the explosive popularity of TV shows on DVD, consumers are in for a big reality check. Sales of TV series on DVD are expected to top $2 billion this year, and reality TV is a niche studios are mining in hopes of continuing the profitable run. Once viewed as the ultimate in disposable programming, reality TV shows new and old are popping up on DVD, with enough buyers to sustain an even greater flow in coming months.

About the Author

Jeff Hodges is the owner of Order DVD TV Shows (http://www.orderdvdtvshows.com), which is a web site that focuses on community for TV shows on DVD. You can also purchase TV shows on DVD through Order DVD TV Shows too.

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