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July 05 2005

Firefly Hits number 2 on Amazon Daily Sales Rankings. According to Hakenís wonderful FireflyFans.net Firefly DVD page, Firefly has reached #2 today. Can #1 be far behind?

Okay, while I think that this is great, is there a number of units sold that attaches to this ranking? I mean, does everyone who is anyone buy all thier DVDs from amazon.com? Or is it more like they sold twenty units so far today, and that makes them number 2? (Don't flame me, I'm Canadian and therefore cannot/do not purchase from amazon.com)
Genia, I suspect, given the large number of boxed sets on the daily sales ranking, that it's calculated by dollars and not units. Just my theory.
That's a question I've asked myself many times, Genia. I personally have no idea how they calculate the ranking, but assume at least that it's a relative measure i.e. Firefly has sold at least one more DVD in the last 24-hour period than the #3 seller, which is good news whichever way you look at it, but may not mean a great deal at the bottom line.

I read a great little newspaper article some time ago (may have been the L.A. Times or S.F. Chron) that picked up on the fact that many writers check their Amazon.com sales ranking obsessively and worry about it inordinately - even though ignorant of what it actually means. Another popularity poll in a culture ever-more infatuated with such things.
SoddingNancyTribe - "but may not mean a great deal at the bottom line."

To me the bottom line is not that big of a deal. I am just happy that the masses of people who logon to Amazon are seeing Firefly up at the top of the list and wondering what it is. This in turn might get them to buy the DVD and/or browse the internet to find out what it's all about. This in turn is good for "Serenity". It's all about exposure! :)
I have no "hard data" either but from personal experiences, I suspect the numbers are substantial. I purchased all but one of my boxed sets from Amazon (I did get "Highlander, The Raven" directly from the Highlander site prior to it's general release). All my friends order from Amazon and when you go to various "official" websites, they link you to Amazon to purchase (ie: La Femme Nikita site links directly to Amazon)...so again, I suspect the numbers are large!
Though it's no Amazon, Scarecrow Video in Seattle (www.scarecrow.com) has had Firefly on it's top 20 list for what seems like months now. Scarecrow is a single video store (some say the best of it's kind) that caters to film experts, collectors AND mainstream fans and has one of the largest in-print/out-of-print dvd/vhs/laserdisc collections for rent in the U.S.

If you are familiar with Scarecrow's near "alternative" (for lack of a better word) and knowledgable customer base, then you realize Firefly being on that store's top 20 list for so long is extremetly significant! :) -Mattro
Heres a link to what else is in the top 25 right now click here. Its pretty amazing that this show is still selling and Fox has definitely made back any loss profits on Firefly by now.
Canadians can buy from Amazon.com. I've bought things from Amazon.uk even though I live in the states. I've also ordered from Amazon.com and had items I ordered shipped to Canada. As long as you're willing to pay the extra cost of shipping I'm pretty sure anyone can order from any Amazon they want.

I'm pretty sure the number relates to units sold. Amazon used to list the number of units sold along with other data, but they don't anymore.
Just to back up what killinj said, Canadians can (and do!) buy from Amazon.com often. I'm Canadian too and I regularly order from Amazon.com rather than Amazon.ca, mostly because the former's shipping dates are faster and sometimes the prices, conversion & occasional duty fees included, are cheaper too. I also ordered from Amazon.co.uk an import copy of "Radio Sunnydale" because the packaging and content are, IMHO, superior to the North American release - and that arrived in less than two weeks (I think it must have come from a Seattle-area warehouse considering the forwarding info on the package label).
Many of my friends also prefer Amazon.com for their online purchasing needs...well, some of those needs anyway ;-)

Having said all that, I did buy my copies of the Firefly box set right on the release date from my neighbourhood video store rather than online, mainly because I wanted them in my hands right away and because my friend working at that video store was (and still is) a successful convert to the series. I actually bought two copies, the other for my Dad's upcoming birthday - he and my Mom were very happy Browncoats!
I just bought a copy on Amazon as a gift. The reason I went to Amazon is because every single DVD store in my area (Best Buy, Tower, Barnes & Noble, Border's, Blockbuster) were sold out of "Firefly" DVDs. The guy at Tower even told me they had problems getting them in. Not sure why and I don't know if it's a problem specific to Northern California or if other areas have experienced this "shortage." I certainly did not have any problems finding it at the store when it first came out. I don't know if it's the renewed popularity that caught the stores (or whoever they buy the DVDs from) by surprise or something else. I don't know if we should be worried that Universal is not flooding stores with copies of the DVD, what with the movie coming out and everything...

So anyway, thank God for Amazon (or other on-line retailers--I don't own shares in Amazon!!). I received the box set in time to give it as a housewarming gift (Firefly has been my favorite thing to give for birthdays and the like since it came out. And I find that people really enjoy it --at least after the initial reaction: "ummmm.... Thank you?"--) ;-)
Alanna_Wolff - "ummmm.... Thank you?"--) ;-)

I've gotten that too. :) But they end up telling me it was the best gift the got! :)
Regardless of what these numbers actually mean, it has to be a good omen; Amazon is not small and if you follow the daily numbers back to earlier in the year it was in the hundreds (three figures), then tens (two figures), and just went to strictly the top 10 since 6/25 (coincidentally right after the last preview?). IMO this is an indication to me that the previews have definitely gotten people interested in the box set to prepare for the movie.
I don't know if we should be worried that Universal is not flooding stores with copies of the DVD, what with the movie coming out and everything...

Universal isn't in charge of the DVD - that's Fox and they at least put the DVD on sale.
, and just went to strictly the top 10 since 6/25 (coincidentally right after the last preview?). IMO this is an indication to me that the previews have definitely gotten people interested in the box set to prepare for the movie.

it being on sale might be a factor on that one too, Fox Sci-Fi tv and movie dvds are on sale. I just bought one for my friend. I also bought Firefly for the first time because it was on sale. Amazon always have Fox TV DVD sales and i love it... :)
This is a bit nutty. A DVD release isn't supposed to reach 2nd place on the sales charts 20 months after it's relaese, it's not the way it happends. I guess it's true what Mal says "We've done the impossible and that makes us mighty". :)
"Universal isn't in charge of the DVD - that's Fox and they at least put the DVD on sale,"

Oh that's right! Thanks for the correction.
Either way, I'm not sure Fox is seeing the potential for sales and making any effort to market the DVDs to the new "movie crowd" (ie, not just old fans of the series but new fans or just curious movie goers... people who have been to the pre-screening, seen the previews, read the article in EW or the San Francisco Chronicle, etc., etc. and want to know more about the series before September 30). The release date of the movie is getting closer and I'm not really seeing more Firefly DVDs in the stores--actually even less (see my post above)... unless of course the shortage of Firefly DVDs in San Francisco Bay Area stores is only a "freak" thing and is not representative of what's going on everywhere else... Also a possibility! ;-)
It might just be a Bay Area thing Alanna. All of my friends has a boxset, but that may not mean much, since I don't have that many and they're all geeks anyway.

I got my first boxset in Daly City. A borders or something and had to go back like 3 times before I got because the y kept getting sold out.
Whoo hoo! Daly City! =) Sorry, that's my hometown and I'm missing it right now. Anyway, I recently bought 3 more "Firefly" box sets to give as gifts while Deep Discount DVD was having a sale. "Firefly" is #2 on that website too. #1 is the Uncut Edition of American Psycho.
I suspect, given the large number of boxed sets on the daily sales ranking, that it's calculated by dollars and not units. Just my theory.

You might be right, but it might also be due to boxed sets being generally more expensive, meaning more people take the time to order them from places like Amazon, rather than buying them in the local store (where they're also less likely to be available than the typical latest movie releases). Hence, Amazon would be selling more such units than the standard fare.

But yay for all the buzz Firefly/Serenity can get =)

On a side note, while the visibility of Firefly is always a great thing, am I the only one that finds another bit of that list... disturbing? Seeing "What the Bleep Do We Know?" being ranked at number 8. Very very disturbing and depressing. =P

[ edited by Serge on 2005-07-05 23:31 ]
It's weird that whilst Firefly is so high on Amazon.com, on Amazon.co.uk it is around 900 in the DVD rankings.

I buy basically almost all of my CDs, DVDs and books online, about 95% I would say. It's just so much cheaper the majority of the time, and more convenient. With clothes there is a chance it might not fit etc. so it's usually safer to shop in actual shops, but the Internet is much better for entertainment.
Universal isn't in charge of the DVD - that's Fox and they at least put the DVD on sale.


I'll take that a step further. Its Fox DVD and not Fox the network that is in charge of the DVD. Confused yet? Well hang around a spell, we'll fix that :))
Best Buy in the SF east bay hasn't had the FIREFLY box set the last three times I've been in there (most recently, just a couple weeks ago). I considered writing a letter to Universal to urge them to get the set in stores where people will see them and buy them. But then I got lazy and didn't. :)
It's weird that whilst Firefly is so high on Amazon.com, on Amazon.co.uk it is around 900 in the DVD rankings.

It's not weird when you consider the fact that there's been 3 round of advanced screenings of Serenity in the US, but none so far in the UK. Likewise there's only been one round of advanced screenings in Canada and only in two cities and as a result the Firefly boxset is jumping around Amazon.ca's top 100 DVD's (earlier today it was at #25, but is currently at #93).
Interestingly, while it's really hot on Amazon.com (20 months after release, as Djungleurban points out), it's still not in the Netflix top 100 (or the Sci-Fi & Fantasy top 25). I put Firefly in my queue even though I own it, just to move it up the list a bit (not sure if the top 100 is based on how many have it in their queue, or how many actually get it, but it's worth a try); I would recommend that other Netflix subscribers do the same. Visibility on Netflix is a good thing because it can catch the folks who might want to try it, but aren't willing to shell out for the box set.
I tend to buy locally to support the small independent stores. But if I am in a big store, I always go looking for Firefly and then, when it isn't there, I track down a sales rep and ask why it isn't in. Every little bit of push helps, I think
An easy explanation for it not being high up on the Netflix list is that Firefly is the type of dvd set that you want to own. A lot of people who already were fans have let friends borrow it and they in turn are most likely buying it themselves. I'm not concerned about the UK Amazon ranking because I'm betting Firefly did well when it first released because Joss Whedon is more well known on that side of the pond than over here. I'm betting the sales will go up once the screenings start there as well.

I am finding it thrilling that in the US anyway it seems like it is a top seller at a bunch of dvd stores and not just Amazon. I think this is a great indication that Serenity could be a very big surprise hit when it hits the big screen.

And am I the only one who is excited about all this news about the box office not doing so well this year? I'm thinking that can only be good for Serenity because Serenity has a guaranteed audience with just us original Browncoats and it's fan base seems to be growing and growing. Let's hope this box office drought ends in a downpour when Serenity premieres!

[ edited by Firefly Flanatic on 2005-07-06 00:12 ]
An easy explanation for it not being high up on the Netflix list is that Firefly is the type of dvd set that you want to own.

I think you're absolutely right about that. Still, I would like it to be more visible on Netflix in order to bring in casual viewers who wouldn't be inclined to gamble on the box set. It can't hurt for us to put it in our queues, on the off chance it makes a difference in the rankings.
I noticed this morning that Firefly is the featured DVD on Amazon's "Top Sellers" page. I wonder if that has anything to do with today's jump to #2?
I bought my first Firefly DVD set from amazon.ca, pre-ordered before it was released. After I hooked one of my friends on it, he ended up waiting six months before the local Future Shop could get it in stock.

Just recently, I have purchased 5 more sets from Barnes & Noble in the States on their Buy 2, Get 1 Free sale last month - two as gifts and three for lending copies. So that should raise their numbers :)
Well, all the Fox DVDs are 40% right now, so Firefly's mega-cheap. There also aren't any blockbuster DVD releases this week--no big movie finally hitting the shelves. But #2 is nothing to scoff at. Such success clears out a bit of my skepticism about the movie's chances at being a hit.
Anyone else concerned we are rewarding FOX for bad behavior?
Universal will only make money off the (eventual) Serenity DVD.
Tara, I think we're really rewarding Fox for making some Firefly episodes, and putting them out on DVD when they weren't sure they would sell. But the real purpose is to get more sets into the hands of people who will get jazzed about the BDM.

Not that I like Fox's frequent "make an interesting series then cancel it ASAP" behavior, but the suits that count will never know or care we organized a mini boycott anyway.
'The Simpsons' shouldn't even count on that list since it's not out yet. So, technically Firefly is #1.
We are rewarding 20th Century Fox for making a fabulous TV show. Fox broadcasting most likely doesn't get a dime.
Apart from the fact that the Amazon sales ranking must be the best marketing ploy of the century, to me, with an eye on the future, each Firefly boxset sold simply means one more potential Serenity cinema ticket sold and (later) one more potential Serenity DVD sold.

With each ticket sold we are closer to sequels. As we donít need hundreds of millions of tickets (although it would be nice), even a small number added must be good news.
The Fox Network may not make a dime but both 20th Century Fox and the FOX Network are owned by Rupert Murdoch. So he gets dimes either way. But so what? More people are seeing FIREFLY and that's what really counts. Someday Murdoch will die and FIREFLY will live on.

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