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Dumb like a Fox

by Sandy McLendon

LOVE is not all around, not this time.
   We try to remember the TMTMS theme whenever possible. Love should be all around, and we do our best here to spread it. But this time, we�re flabbergasted and upset. In fact, to use a phrase Mary Richards used in one of her more exasperated moments, we�re, uh, �POed.�
   What�s going on? Fox Home Entertainment, producers of last year�s DVD edition of Season One of TMTMS, has decreed that there will not be a Season Two release, nor any other. In fact, the Season One DVD is going out of print.
   FOX Home Entertainment Senior Vice President Peter Staddon recently said in an internet chat that the Season One DVD �bombed�, and that poor sales were responsible for the decision to discontinue further TMTMS efforts on DVD. Staddon went on to say that Fox would be more careful in future about which shows would be released on DVD. An M&R Magazine reader reports that Staddon implied during the chat that selecting TMTMS for DVD release was a �colossal mistake�.
   We�d like for Mr Staddon, and everyone at Fox, to understand that we feel there were mistakes made on the TMTMS DVD release, but that they were Fox�s mistakes. First, the Season One DVD proved to have edits in it; it was not the complete, unedited material that viewers expected. Second, if there was any advertising of the DVD, it certainly didn�t come to our attention. This magazine, long the standard-bearer for TMTMS fans, did not receive so much as an emailed press release.
   It was clear from the outset that the Season One release did not carry the promise that future seasons would be put on DVD, dampening enthusiasm. And many of the older fans who love TMTMS don�t yet own DVD players; they�re waiting to see if a reasonable selection of programming of interest to them will become available. The Fox decision on TMTMS not only means that those viewers are disappointed with the immediate situation, it means that these viewers will have that much less reason to purchase players, impacting on other sales potential for Fox.
   DVD, with its impeccable sound and picture quality, should be a bonanza for lovers of every sort of entertainment. Unfortunately, shortsighted decisions like Fox�s have become the norm. Nothing that appeals to niche markets seems to remain in print very long, and many titles don�t even get consideration for release in the format. If it doesn�t sell like hotcakes, it�s not on DVD�or it gets discontinued.
   Fox, we realize you�re in business to make money. But one of the hard realities of making money is that sometimes you have to work at it. There�s a customer out there for all seven seasons of TMTMS on DVD. You folks have not put in the merchandising efforts, nor expended the necessary patience, to find that customer. You have thrown one DVD out into the market-place with no advertising, and without allowing time for your customer to find out the title is available (and, perhaps, to buy the necessary player). And now, instead of examining your own failure, you�re depriving hundreds of thousands of fans of a product they�d like to own.
   Anyone wishing to express their concerns about this situation can write to Peter Staddon, at this address:

Mr Peter Staddon
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Twentieth Century�Fox Home Entertainment, Inc.
PO Box 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90213-0900

   Since Mr Staddon�s decision impacts Fox earnings, and disappoints customers who would be interested in other Fox titles, it might also be a good idea to copy Twentieth Century�Fox CEO James Gianopulos, and Twentieth Century�Fox President Tom Rothman, at the same address, but directing it to Twentieth Century�Fox Film Corporation. Yes, it�s three letters, but you�ll be letting Staddon�s bosses know that his decision has cost the company some points with its customers, and impacts on future Fox sales potential.
   It may not do any good right away, but we hope that everyone who reads the Magazine will pitch in and do their share, by writing these three executives. Not only would it be great for fans to have the show available on DVD, it could be good for Fox. If anyone at Fox doubts that fans know what they want, or that they�re willing to pay for it, they should talk to the folks at Paramount. That studio had an old property fans wanted to see again. Despite fan pressure, Paramount ignored the requests for years. The fans kept writing and networking, the series got revived, and Paramount began making a fortune that continues to this day. The series was Star Trek�and it came that close to remaining a few mouldering cans of film in a vault somewhere.
   Just like Fox is trying to do with TMTMS. � Sandy McLendon

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  Article copyright ©2003 by Sandy McLendon. Site copyright ©1998–2003 by JY&A Media. All rights reserved. This site is not connected with ABC, News Corp., Twentieth Century-Fox and MTM Enterprises Inc. or their divisions. Site broadcast from San Antonio, Tx.