Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Waiting For a Bare-Bones DVD Is the Hardest Part

A delay of several months for the single-disc Bugs and Daffy cartoon collections. And as we've noted before, the collections -- with no extras and a list of cartoons that's not as good as the one initially posted on WB's website -- aren't such hot stuff to begin with, so the waiting is an additional, if minor, annoyance. I'll buy them, and I think anyone who wants one or more of the cartoons included should buy them. But unless the delay will make the product better (which I suppose could happen), I take this as another sign that we may not get as much of the remaining WB cartoon catalogue as we were hoping.

I should add that I'm not really against the bare-bones single-disc strategy. As the DVD market continues to decline, the only retailers left are the Wal-Mart and Best Buy behemoths, and the cheap, family-oriented cartoon DVDs are the ones they're most likely to stock. But even that market for standard-definition discs might not hold out long enough for them to release a lot of these things. And while I would probably bite the bullet and re-buy the previously-released cartoons if they came out on blu-ray (even though my ability to tell the difference is limited at the moment), that format doesn't look like it's ever going to have a lot of classics released by the major studios. So if the standard-def DVD releases dry up, I wouldn't count on blu-ray kick-starting things again, at least for now.

The real challenge in the coming years will be for WB to figure out some way to keep its cartoons in circulation. Unfortunately the company has made very little content and no cartoons available on Hulu, even though that would be just about the ideal format for the cartoons: with some legal, good-quality postings of cartoons that can be consumed in seven-minute bites, they'd stand a chance of getting some eyeballs. I would think that someday they're going to have to figure out how to make cartoons available online, or video-on-demand (which companies may consider the latest "coming thing" in terms of video distribution), or release the "restored" versions to television to recoup more of the money they spent on restoring them. But I haven't seen many signs of it happening, and that means more and more time spent without building brand awareness of these characters.

The link notes that Jerry Beck may have something to say about the DVD plans a week from now on Stu's Show, and that he's already confirmed that there are still (for now) plans to release two more discs this year.


Ricardo Cantoral said...

I don't see why Warners is so slow to adopt online circulation of the cartoons; especially on Crackle. I think we are seeing the end of the home video market faster than we expected.

Ricardo Cantoral said...

Or at least the current generation.

Kasey said...

Four discs this year...Given that's how many discs on each LTGC, that makes little sense.
Though, they might not be putting them under the GC banner anymore just due to the lack of special features.

Doug Gray said...

I can't understand why they have released 6 Golden Collections, and now two upcoming single discs, and still haven't included the first Daffy Duck cartoon (Porky's Duck Hunt) or the first "real" Bugs cartoon (A Wild Hare). The old laserdisc "Golden Age of Looney Tunes" collections had Wild Hare (2 versions!), but I don't think Porky's Duck Hunt has been released to home video since the "Golden Jubilee" VHS tapes from around 1985. I don't get it!

J Lee said...

Warners did release the restored version of "A Wild Hare" two years ago, on the Academy Awards DVD (a copy of which is online).