DVD 2nd Season????
Happy Days - Happy Days Again? Maybe!
Posted by David Lambert
Six months ago saw the release of Happy Days - The Complete 1st Season on DVD, and fans loved it. So much that six months feels like a loooong time in the TV-on-DVD business to them, because we routinely get questions about the second season of it (and Laverne & Shirley as well). Nothing's been said by the folks at Paramount, though...until now!
Yesterday's edition of The Wall Street Journal (2/23/05, Section B) had a story by Merissa Marr and Joe Flint entitled "DVDs Are Finally Paramount". The article explains that previous management figures had a strategy of bringing titles - film and TV based - to DVD in a slow and steady fashion, and that new management in place now has a different plan of increasing the studio's revenue by way of cutting loose on the library.
Much of this has been reported already, at the time that the executives did their shuffle in recent months, and it wasn't exactly news we could use here at TVShowsOnDVD because no actual titles were brought up. But the Wall Street Journal story is naming names!
Among those names are "The Cunninghams" and "The Fonz". Mentioned in the story are a number of shows that Paramount intends to release in the near future, in order to drive their profits and therefore the stock value at parent Viacom. Happy Days is mentioned as being among the titles they are keeping in mind.
Howeve, the article continues with a lot more information. Here are some selected quotes from the story (we encourage you to pick up a copy of the paper, or purchase it through the WSJ online site, and read the article in its entirety):
Paramount estimates that...95% of its TV library (has) yet to be released on DVD. The studio is expected to deliver 25%-30% growth in movie and TV DVD sales this year, with margins reaching as high as 50%.
...growth in sales of TV DVDs are expected to outperform other DVDs...
...The biggest boost ahead is expected to come from TV DVDs. Viacom already has a thriving kids DVD business, thanks to Nickelodeon. While Paramount has released 35 TV DVDs in 2002, that will jump to 220 this year. As a general rule, TV DVDs are more profitable to a studio. However, the expense of renegotiating the actors and producers, and clearing the music rights, can sometimes cut into profits. On the first season of "Happy Days," for instance, it cost almost $1 million just to get the music clearance.
The last time we spoke with the studio about Happy Days, the clear indication was that it was the various licensing costs - music and otherwise - that was at issue on this release, and perhaps others like Laverne & Shirley. It sounds like they are working the numbers there at Paramount, and getting these releases worked out. The Wall Street Journal story doesn't say anything further about Happy Days other than what we've already mentioned, but stay tuned and we'll keep you updated if we hear anything further.
Frasier: "Don't stare at me Eddie. I'm a humane man, but right now I could kick a kitten through an electric fan!"