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May 08 2006

Firefly TV DVD set soaring for Fox. Two and a half years since the release of the DVD set, Firefly is the 5th highest selling TV-DVD from Jan to April 23rd 2006, according to the New York Times - ahead of Lost, The Simpsons, The Office and 24.

When are TPTB going to realize that TV is where the 'verse belongs? I cannot imagine a FF comeback would be anything but a huge cashcow for Fox; even if we just got one more season out of it, the DVD's would make its budget back ten times over.
I ought to be happy, but I can't help but be resentful that the idiots who cancelled Firefly are still making money out of it.

But I'll try to convince myself that Universal are taking note and phoning Joss about a sequel right now.
Well, there's the business side of things to consider, with the network and the studio being seperate, with the network potentially loosing out, but the studio gaining, but being (technically) different companies. In other words, unless FOX Broadcasting Corp thinks a series could be huge, they won't greenlight it. Uhm, in theory.

And I got bored typing that.

I strongly believe there's a big gap between the genre hardcore fan community and the casual viewer TV network community.

When a show hits big on DVD, it makes truck loads of money. The market, at the moment, doesn't exploit that. That will change over time.
the idiots who cancelled Firefly are still making money out of it.


20th Century Fox didn't cancel Firefly, the network did.

And Firefly must have sold a heck of a lot of DVDs in January as it doesn't feature in Video Business' Top TV Sellers Chart from mid February onwards. So I can't help but wonder if these "quoted figures" are slightly inaccurate.

And why isn't it online at the New York Times site?
It's the same corporation though... would certainly benefit from better cross-sectional co-ordinated accounting. As would us Browncoats!

[ edited by daylight on 2006-05-08 18:12 ]
Simon - good spot. Whilst many of the DVDs mentions are listed, there's no sign of Firefly. Which I don't understand at all. Edit: can anybody who has the NYT confirm this article actually exists, before I look like a bigger fool than I already am?

[ edited by gossi on 2006-05-08 18:14 ]
I have found the link. Hooray!!!!! No wonder it couldn't be found, it was a gif. Still not sure about it being on the top five though but who I am to argue with the New York Times.

Anyhow the link is changed.
Can anyone give me any sort of idea what this means in actual numbers of FF sets sold? I'm just curious. Market shares and percentage points mean nothing to me. I want the hard cold facts (which I know I am very unlikely to get.)
The only comparable DVD set on that list is 24 season 1 which came out awhile back. Everything else is a recent release.

Go Firefly!
The DVD sales data the New York Times is using is from Nielsen, for information. For about $300 they will provide their data on how much it's sold in $$ amount, if anybody wants to pony the cash.
Simon - I went to the Video Business link and took a look at the Firefly stats. I think one of the most important stats is how long the DVDs have been on the charts. It looks like that statistic means that every time it is in the top 10 it counts as a week. So, as of Feb. 12 it had been on the chart for a total of 17 weeks. As someone mentioned above, only a few other series have been in the top 10 that many times.

What I do see a lot of is DVDs charting the top 10 one week then disappearing - or dropping, then disappearing. Firefly however, just keeps rolling along.
Daylight, I am sure Fox (as a whole) does see what kind of money Firefly is making. Entertainment companies have a whole team of people who constantly calculate the "ultimate" for a TV show or Film, meaning how much money it is worth in perpetuity. I'm sure FF is on their radar. Whether on not they find it a coup or an embarrassment is totally a different matter.
gossi beat me to it. I was going to say those look like the Nielsen numbers, which would make sense for the New York Times to get them from them.

Quoting gossi;
"When a show hits big on DVD, it makes truck loads of money. The market, at the moment, doesn't exploit that. That will change over time."

FoxHE is already exploiting it, Family Guy is back on TV and had a DVD movie release that is selling well. Futurama is coming back in 4 straight to DVD movies releases based largely on the sales of the DVD box sets of that show. The fact that both shows have been airing as part of the adult swim block on cartoon network has not hurt either. Perhaps if sci-fi keeps showing Firefly and DVD sales stay strong, FoxHE will see the potential for straight to DVD release. However, there is alot hanging on the deal that was made with Universal, as well as other mitgating factors to concider - like everyone's involvement. FoxHE more than anyone has been looking for more frachises to exploit.
Yeah, as Tamara says, Fox will know exactly how much Firefly cost, broken down to the smallest detail, together with how much it's made them, in terms of licensing, DVD sales blah blah.

RavenU, Fox certainly has made the effort with Family Guy, but I think there's a long way to go until they get it right. Really, there needs to be a way to look at these things from the start with a show -- in my opinion. If Fox (cross divisionally) had sat down over Firefly, and said "Will this have a cult following? How can we exploit that?", the outcome might have been different. Did they do that? I've no idea, but I suspect not. Or at least not very well. The fact they -- apparently -- didn't even want to release Firefly on DVD speaks volumes.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-05-08 18:54 ]
Still on Amazon's top 10 DVDs list (currently #8). That can't all be browncoats buying extra copies.
And that #8 is for all the DVD's. It bumps us to #2 just looking at TV seasons.

I'm curious about what percentage of all DVD sales in the US come from Amazon. I mean personally, I've never needed a DVD (or a book for that matter) so urgently that I couldn't wait a week to get it on Amazon for a much cheaper price with free shipping...so who still goes to buy them at Best Buy or Walmart? Are these Amazon number significant? Do they represent a large portion of the population or have people not caught on yet?
Dec 2004 - From The Hollywood Reporter: A Roundtable Discussion...

THR: Is online generating significant sales?
Dunn (FOXHE): Online is important. Amazon.com is a significant customer, but in relation to WalMart and Best Buy and Target they're very small. The core demo, those 15 million early adopters, are clearly online. Our TV product does extremely well online.

THR: And now with TV DVD coming on so strong, there are even more titles to get in front of people.
Beeks: I think what's really amazing is something like what happened at Mike's company with (Fox's) "Family Guy," which only aired for one season but went on to become this phenomenal DVD success ...
Dunn: And we're going to go back into production on "Family Guy" specifically for the DVD market, as a result of the DVD success. I think this 34-year-old male, who is a very avid purchaser, fits right into the demo of our TV DVD business. The things that really work, like (Fox's) "The Simpsons" -- which will do 1.6 million units on Season One alone, over the period of a year and a half -- are in that sweet spot, and it's created a revenue source that didn't exist during the VHS days. It's that male consumer that has a high-end home entertainment system and is a collector.


gossi - So it would seem FOXHE has been working taoward this for a few years. Now that series season DVD sets are coming out after the season ends, I think the PTB are realizing the potential to exploit frachises is there. However the question comes down to how the contracts are worded. FOXHE may have initially balked at the DVD release of Firefly because TV on DVD was a new market and why put out a failed series on DVD for a 1-shot when you have years of series you can put out and gain revenue from. If anything I think Firefly more than any other series on DVD paved the way for the release of series like Wonderfalls, Profit, and Brisco County Jr. to be released on DVD even though they were on for a season or less. I think the reason they do not want to acknowledge Firefly as much for it's contribution to their pocketbook is because they would have to admit that they were wrong about it's potential and profitablity. Also, I do not know how the contract with Universal was written in regards to doing anykind of release to DVD.
On a similar line from EradicateReality question, I wonder how worth is internet shopping compared to regular shopping.

Locally we don't have an Amazon in Brazil, but I can't really remember the last time I bought a book, a cd or a DVD, that wasn't online, or at least without a pre-online-reservation.
Amazon does very significant numbers - it's probably the #1 internet retailer - but in terms over the overall DVD market it only represents a traction of it. The real money is made in over-the-counter DVD sales.

Because of 'Serenity', Firefly reappeared on the shelves of Walmart and such in prominent placing. I certainly know in the UK, in stores like HMV, I saw Firefly proudly placed on it's own shelving many times, in many stores.

RavenU - Firefly definitely helped pave the way for less successful TV shows to hit big on DVD. It's pretty much one of the first DVDs to do this. Shows which target a demographic seem to fly in this field, whereas more generically aimed shows (eg The Inside) tend to struggle still (hence why I think Fox HE aren't rushing to put The Inside out).

I don't know how licensing would work for a Serenity DVD - but I really think Universal should be asking that question at some point.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-05-08 19:47 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2006-05-08 19:47 ]
gossi, would the report from nielsen videoscan provide actual sales figures for Firefly and/or Serenity?

I'll bet we could raise $300 from browncoats who are alwful curious. I'd chip in.
Just Firefly. Although they could pull up Serenity for extra.

Somebody on the old US Browncoat site posted the contact details for the person at Nielsen, and even had a quote from them. However, I don't have the post. They would only be estimates, but they'd be as official numbers outside the studio accountants you'd ever get - New York Times use them, etc.
Everytime I start to give up hope in our 'verse, something comes around to resurrect that hope. I mean, this is just madness. Has any single DVD release ever been as succesful over such a long period of time as Firefly? Seems kinda unlikely to me... It hardly even shows any real signs of going down.
Funny that this phenomenon--even from the narrow "Amazon US early adopters" point of view--hasn't applied to Serenity to nearly the same degree. Why aren't those Amazon folks also buying the movie? The movie must have helped Firefly sales, as they definitely spiked on Amazon US around the time of the movie. But they keep spiking again, so I'm not sure.

Regardless, Firefly has shown amazing DVD longevity. (It still comes out regularly in my house, but that is largely due to my personal fanaticism...)

I'll chip in for the Nielsen numbers.
OK, I would just like to add a cute little story. This is not about capturing sales or about any of the important posts above. It's a little off topic.

My brother is a huge Science Fiction fan. He loves it all, but was a litle cautious of Firefly because he never got in to Buffy and Angel. I gave him the series for Christmas, hoping he would watch it and like it. He finally got around to watching it not to long ago. I talked to him yesterday, and he asked me when we were getting a Serenity II. I explained to him that it really doesn't work that way. I went into all the detail I know (which I guess is a lot to the normal person) about the possibilities. He stops me in the middle of my schpiel, and he says and I quote "Firefly was one of the most magnificient things I have ever seen. The world he (Joss) created was so unique.". Coming from my very picky brother, that says it all!

OK, back to your current topic :)
Wal-Mart is the single largest retailer of dvds, deoderant and toys in the US (at least, I think that is what I remember hearing on NPR). So even though I have not stepped foot in a Wal-Mart in ages, apprently they sell alot of dvds.

Yay for Firefly!
I heard on the radio this morning about how Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" as been on the charts for something like 30 years solid. I'd love to see a day where the DVD boxed set was just as ubiquitious.
I think the news that it is outselling such hot properties as Lost and 24 is very good news. And it also stands to reason that the Serenity DVD will be selling pretty well too. And that can only be good news. I think the more the fan base is building up and more people are appreciating that Jossy goodness, the more likely it is that we will eventually see a return to Firefly or movie sequels. And I think that at least one of those formats will be viable. I think if the series were to return on a different network (possibly the new CW?) in an appropriate timeslot with less network interference and promoted properly, it could be very successful.
Yay Firefly!! I'm sure this is also helping the sales of 'Serenity' as well. How can you buy the dvd set and have it end like it does without wanting to know how it all ends up?!! Firefly is at #8 on Amazon and Serenity is at #40. I know it's not as good as Firefly but it's still in the top 100.
Just an observation: we are all asking why the DVD popularity of Firefly has not had an effect on TPTB, but I would say that the fact that just about all of the BDHs had pilots this year, and Joss and Nathan are now making movies, does show that somebody, somewhere at those studios and networks is noticing that these people are great and deserve to make a lot more wonderful television and movies! ;-)
I think people who didn't see Serenity in the theatre but rented or bought the DVD are now interested in Firefly.

Great news about the sales.
Another movie is one thing, but due to the cast members' rising profiles I doubt all could be reassembled for another television series a year or two from now, which is the soonest a new series could be readied, even if the right behind-the-scenes talent could be acquired.

My question is: How many, or which, Big Damn Heroes could be recast with new actors and it still be the beloved Firefly 'verse? Or would you be prefer no recasting, instead adding additional regular or semi-regular characters?
I would feel betrayed if anyone was recast. I would rather they find a way to cut the character out of the series and/or movie or, as horrible as this sounds, just not make anything in the 'verse at all rather than recast anyone.

I don't think I could see Serenity's crew played by anyone else but this group and not just feel horrible about the whole thing.
Re: Online sales vs. over the counter

I wouldn't be surprised if genre titles like Firefly and Serenity don't do better than average online. Still, places like Wal-Mart are the 600 pound gorillas. (Wal-Mart alone can sell a million copies of a popular title in 2-3 weeks from what I've seen. They're supposedly about 1/3 of the market all by themselves, at least for the best-selling titles.)
I'm still holding out for an animated Serenity. Getting all the actors to do voicework is a lot easier than getting all of them back on a live action show, and most of them have done voicework anyway...
If Joss is to be believed (and I understand he thinks that this is a forum rather than a blog, so you could be forgiven for not buying into everything the man says - so joking, big purple!), the 'verse would return not as a continuation of Firefly whole, but rather a return to the universe possibly with some of the same characters and some new, possibly with all new characters.
Wow! That's so cool. The Firefly DVD set has 'legs'. To be selling this well, this long after release. Serenity obviously gave it a bit of a boost, but that's been awhile now too.

I hope that there are some executives looking at those numbers and wondering what they can do to make more money. Even if they don't put on another 'verse series, perhaps a mini-series or tv movie? (Or big damn movie sequel?) I'll take anything!
Numfar PTB: Locally we don't have an Amazon in Brazil


I just thought that statement was kind of ironic...
I loved Serenity but I have yet to see Firefly. It's not available on DVD in my country. :(

I'm glad that the DVD sales figures are so good, though.
"Numfar PTB: Locally we don't have an Amazon in Brazil

I just thought that statement was kind of ironic...
AnotherFireflyfan | May 09, 07:22 CET "


Maybe it is a copywrite thing. Maybe they are afraid of getting sued by the actual Amazon.

I wonder if there is an Amazon in Greece. Could have a similar problem. ;-)

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