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TV Premiere DVDs

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Last year I saw something that I wish I would see more of. That thing is the TV premiere DVD, I saw them being sold at a couple of local retailers, primarily Wal-Mart and Target, and also online at Amazon.com. It is such a great idea in this age of DVD, and more specifically the incredible phenomenon that is television on DVD.

The discs themselves contain the first one or two episodes of a given television show. They sell them for less then $5 each and they each came with a $5 rebate if you buy the whole season. What is so great about them is that they offer a great opportunity to sample a television show that you may like, and want to try, but are wary of spending the $50 to buy the entire season.

Some of the shows that are/were available include Kung-Fu, Gilmore Girls, The Jetsons, and Gilligan’s Island. I picked up a bunch of them, and was very pleased with the purchase. I discovered that I liked Kung-Fu and Gilmore Girls, both of which I was completely unfamiliar with.

What I would like to see is more studios taking up this practice. There is so much product coming out, and there is a lot that I would like to sample to see if I would like it. The problem is that many of the shows are no longer on TV for me to try, my only option would be to buy the whole season to see it. And what if I don’t like it? It’s not like I could take it back, and trying to sell it is a hassle. With the Premiere DVD, I would have the opportunity to try it, and if I like it I could then go and get the set.

I’m not sure what is ahead for this type of marketing, but I would like to see it done on a larger scale. That said, I have not seen these discs for months now, and wonder if it has been chalked up as a failed experiment, or if there will be another wave somewhere down the line.

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About Draven99

  • For some shows, this seems like it would be a great idea. Lost, for example, is a show that seems to grab you from the first episode — or not.

    But Gilligan’s Island? I’m not sure a few episodes would convince me of anything.

  • They did this with Monk, didn’t they?

  • On SuperBowl Sunday, a Monk marathon on TBS played all the best episodes – if you watched any of them, you got a real sense of the show.

  • dietdoc


    I agree – this is a masterstroke for marketing TV collections on DVD. I loved “Kung Fu” – “Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand.” and the also classic:

    “What will you do, grasshopper? Answer: “Wander.”

    I would love to see some of the current shows on limited, affordable DVDs.

    HBO ruins their possible profits for this sort of DVD “try before you buy.” The wonderful, if extremely profane “Deadwood” Season One is rerunning now in lead up to Season 2. I would have jumped at the Season 1 DVD collection, but now I have almost seen all of Season 1 so why bother?



  • Lost would be ideal for this sort of thing, I believe that Best Buy did a freebie a while back for the first episode of 24 S2.

    USA did it for Monk and Dead Zone, but they weren’t the 5 dollar variety, they were asking 15 for the episode, which to me is a bit steep.

    I hope to see these cheapie previews again in the future.

  • I thought these were a terrible idea. I was going to write up something when I first found them, but I must have forgot. Look at it this way:

    1. You’re paying for a company to advertise to you. These discs cost too much. They should be no more than a $1.

    2. Wouldn’t it make sense for the studios to cram these things with trailers for related shows/movies? It seems like such a waste to only put one or two episodes on a disc.

    3. Who doesn’t know if they want the Flinstones on DVD? If you’ve never seen it, you really don’t watch enough TV to warrant the purchase of TV-DVD.

    Just my $.02.

  • Kung Fu. Best TV show ever. (well top 3.)

    Completely awesome.

    Let’s not get this confused with, what was it “Kung Fu Returns” in the late 1990s. Not the same thing at all, though it had a good undercurrent of the same feeling.

  • Matt,
    I stand by my liking of the concept, maybe they didn’t choose the best titles, but that’s besides the point.

    As to you’re points:
    1. I don’t think the cost was too much, I picked them up for about 4 bucks each and they came with a 5 dollar rebate if you buy the season, I think that’s a good deal, much better than those premiere disks for Monk and Dead Zone.

    2. I don’t think it was a waste, but I agree, they should have stuffed them with trailers and such.

    3. I feel this is just erroneous, there are a lot of people who watch their TV through TV on DVD, I have picked up series based on others recommendations that I chose not to watch on TV< others only buy the season sets so they can watch at their own pace. Either way I think this is a worthy attempt at testing the market. Maybe the structure will change if done again, maybe they marketer's are reading this and gaining ideas as to how to adjust the strategy, either way I like the concept.