I don’t follow the show, about the lives and loves of two plastic surgeons, but I found this studio decision particularly interesting.
In February, Warner Bros. announced that Season 5 of Nip/Tuck would be released on May 20. Later that month, a correction stated that the announcement was “premature”, and no release date was set.
(In that promo image, Julian McMahon (on the right) reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of a 70s-era Stan Lee, with the glasses and leather blazer. You may also know him as Dr. Doom.)
Now, the company has released the season digitally. Seasons 1 and 2 are also available. (No word on whether the DVD set is still coming or plans for Seasons 3 or 4.) “Get it digitally before you can get it anywhere else.” says the press release. The 14 episodes can be bought as a set for $27.86 (iTunes) or $22.29 (Amazon, Windows only) or for $1.99 each (either site). For comparison, at the time of writing, Amazon has the four previous seasons at $20.99, a substantial discount from the list price of $59.98.
I don’t personally care for this approach, because I like my DVDs. I can watch and rewatch them easily on any TV in my house, instead of worrying about computer connections and hard-drive storage space. Paying for online content doesn’t make me feel like I “own” anything. (And that’s the way the studio wants it, I think.) I also can’t resell it if I want to clean house or make a little extra money. (A growing concern in today’s economy.) It probably saves the studio a good amount, though, what with not having the costs of physical production. On their investors conference call, the figures discussed were that WB gets a 60-70% margin on digital instead of 20-30% on physical media.