Back from the dead


I’m no expert on the TV business. But when I see a series getting cancelled after the first season, I would guess it’s because the show didn’t generate adequate ratings or ad sales. With this in mind, it’s surprising that the DVD sets for these orphaned series often sell for premium prices. For instance, HBO’s short-lived “John from Cincinatti” (awesome series, by the way) was $50 on Amazon. With many popular series selling in the $30 range, that’s way too much.

This reflects a fundamental problem with how the DVD sets for a cancelled series are being priced. Once a series is no longer in production, the main revenue sources for the network are DVD sales and rentals, iTunes downloads, and maybe some syndication. But for any of these to pan out, the show has to get exposure to a larger audience that actually wants to see it. Of course, the lack of a sizable audience is usually why shows are cancelled in the first place.

In many ways, using a standard pricing model for a show that only lasted a single season cripples any chances the show has of living on through greater distribution. Whether it’s a DVD set or iTunes version, these ill-fated series should be priced on the cheap, or at least no higher than the average for all shows. Even better, sell them as a two-for-one deal where buyers can send a free copy to a friend. By building interest this way and eliminating the high price barrier that scares curious buyers away, the show may finally get the exposure it needs to generate decent revenues in the afterlife.