[[quoteright:264:[[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/StrongBadDTV.jpg]]]]

->'' "Land Before Time VI Released Straight To Landfill"''
-->-- '''Website/TheOnion'''

[[WhatAreRecords New tropers are going to be really confused by this term in twenty years or so, huh?]] Well, anyway...

Simply put, this is the practice of skipping theaters/[[MadeForTVMovie television]] and just going straight to home video as the first release. This is generally not a good sign in terms of quality (especially if it ''was'' originally going to be released theatrically, but was consigned to video)--the term "direct-to-video" or "straight-to-video" often gets used as slang for "cheaply made, rushed, low quality", and in extreme cases, "complete bucket of crap."

In the United States, while there have been plenty of direct-to-video films and such since the advent of home video, they were usually things that were considered financially unsound to release in theaters, like instructional videos, specialized documentaries, foreign films, films with controversial or niche subject matter, and pornography. The practice of creating and releasing regular fiction specifically for video didn't really take off until 1994 with Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'' and Creator/{{Universal}}'s ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime II'', neither of which was intended to hit theaters at any point in its production.[[note]]The financial failure of ''Disney/TheRescuersDownUnder'' was what caused Disney to decide to do this with their sequels. Repeated itself when in the mid 2000s they tried again with sequels for ''Disney/PeterPan'' and ''Disney/TheJungleBook''. Once again, the failure of those films resumed their straight to DVD methods.[[/note]] Other studios started following suit, hardly limited to child-oriented animation. In particular, independent studios and filmmakers quickly picked up on this distribution model, due to its lower distribution costs and reduced censorship (video stores will often stock [[UnratedEdition unrated]] films that theaters won't touch).

Internationally, many films that had a theatrical release may be released Direct-to-Video in other countries [[note]]''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' movie for example, after its flop in the U.S., was converted to direct to video for the European market (although it did get a British cinema release).[[/note]]. This may be due to several factors: it might be a sign that the film was a complete failure in its home country, or it might be because [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the subject matter]] [[WidgetSeries or style]] limit its appeal in a particular foreign market. Other times, the opposite may happen with a project being released Direct-to-Video in its home market while given a theatrical release in foreign markets because international audiences are more readily accepting of films with minimal plot but plenty of action[=/=]sex[=/=]horror[=/=]etc.

There is a distinct business model that drives the direct-to-video industry, particularly when it involves lower-quality films. One might think that churning out mediocre-to-bad movies on purpose would be a dumb idea, until one looks at the sales and rental figures. A cheap 70- to 90-minute film can be produced for as little as a few thousand dollars if you hire obscure actors, crew and writers (often non-UsefulNotes/{{union|s in Hollywood}}, and barely getting minimum wage), [[CaliforniaDoubling everything gets shot around the studio]], and nothing is required that can't be obtained from the studio's stock wardrobe and props. Or, as has been trending since the mid-2000s, animation will now be done as [[SpecialEffectsFailure pretty cheap]] CGI movies. The studio then usually makes about $3-5 million off this, most of it from sales to rental chains. It floods the market with tripe into which nobody put any true effort, but it still makes money in the long run. It's the [[SpiritualSuccessor modern equivalent]] of the BMovie; in fact, many of these would be B movies if double features were still a regular thing. Some direct-to-video flicks will [[PolishTheTurd try to make lemonade of their lemons]] by claiming that their movie is "too intense", "too scary", "too well-written", "too sexy", or "too lavishly budgeted" for theaters; usually the viewers don't fall for it. It may be a sign that a series or franchise the movie is associated with has long since [[JumpTheShark jumped the shark]], or is about to ''very'' soon.

Sometimes, things that were originally intended to be Direct to Video end up getting retrofitted to show on television or in theaters. Usually, only some minimal editing is done to make it fit for theaters, but there have been cases where the project was intervened midway and beefed up to make it quite a bit better. An example of the former is ''WesternAnimation/Dougs1stMovie'', which was put into theaters after the success of ''WesternAnimation/TheRugratsMovie''. A famous example of the latter is ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'', on which Creator/{{Pixar}} expanded tremendously for its theatrical release, along with another Disney film, ''WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut''. More recently, ''Honey 2'' - intended as a DirectToVideo movie (which is still the case in North America) got a European theatrical release first

In Japan, {{OVA}}s follow the same model of distribution, but have the opposite expectations in terms of their quality. With larger budgets and without ExecutiveMeddling or the strict requirements of the {{Media Watchdog}}s, [=OVAs=] are expected to be significantly better than television-based anime. Live-action direct-to-video, known as "V-cinema" overseas (although this is [[BrandNameTakeover technically a trademark of Toei Company]]), also has a much better reputation in Japan. This is due mainly to the number of established filmmakers who use it for their more "experimental" or unusual work, enjoying the greater creative freedom and lack of censorship.

In short, while "direct-to-video" means "too bad for theaters" in the West, OVA means "too good for a TV series" in the East. This might be changing with the rise of {{Creator/Netflix}}'s original programming. Netflix originals are technically "direct-to-video" but have high production values and A-list talent on par with cable series, so the stigma against direct-to-video might fade. Indeed, some, like
''Series/StrangerThings'' have become quite popular and well-respected in their own right.

In a further expansion of the phenomenon, it has become increasingly common for {{Missing Episode}}s of shows that were [[ScrewedByTheNetwork canceled early]] to first see the light of day on the home video release.

While dvds may be replaced by WebVideo (free-to-view or digital download) [[TechnologyMarchesOn sometime in the future]], the same idea will still apply; likewise with streaming services [[note]]Although streaming platforms may develop into their own sub-folder considering how it's blurring the line between TV, video, and the web; making neat categorization difficult[[/note]].

See also ItsNotSupposedToWinOscars, the GhettoIndex, {{Sequelitis}}, ItWillNeverCatchOn, and AudienceAlienatingPremise.

!!Noteworthy direct-to-video releases (examples by source media)


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The American releases of the ''Film/{{Pokemon}}'' movies, beginning with the sixth one; the closest they get to a theatrical release now is a premiere on Creator/CartoonNetwork or Creator/DisneyXD.
** Since there were two versions of the 14th film (a "black" version and a "white" version), The Pokemon Company International used the opportunity to premiere one version in a limited theatrical run (the "white" version) while the other premiered on Cartoon Network (the "black" version). Both were released to DVD in a double-feature.
* Most theatrical anime movies are released direct-to-video in the US. Before digital cinemas, it was very expensive to put a movie in theaters since it meant spending thousands on just one 35mm film print, much less hundreds. Some anime films got a very limited run at art house or convention screenings if they were ''lucky''. Now with almost all cinemas in the US having digital projectors, it's much cheaper to release a film in theaters, and now most major anime movies get a limited release here before being released to DVD and Blu-ray, though quite a few still skip the theatrical run completely.
* ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'', being 110 episodes long (i.e. longer than most TV series) was -- to many viewers' surprise -- an OVA released straight-to-Laserdisc. The result is a tight script with virtually no PlotHole nor {{Filler}}. Limited animation budget somehow effectively avoided StockFootage usage throughout long-winded space battles... almost (StockFootage was used occasionally, but the interval between each usage can easily be wide up to tens of episodes that you won't notice it once it's in effect).
* ''Anime/TheAnimatrix'' is probably the second best thing that ever happened to Film/TheMatrix franchise (with the sequels rarely on fans' favorite list, the video game adaptations fall victim to the [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames typical syndrome]] and the graphic novels largely forgettable). Most of its success can be credited to bold exploration into the Matrix mythos, a return to the cyberpunk theme (that was never revisited by the sequels) and the excellent hand-drawn as well as CGI animation.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* There have recently been a series of Creator/MarvelComics direct-to-video animated adaptation such as ''WesternAnimation/UltimateAvengers'' and ''WesternAnimation/HulkVs'', which in practice are more like [=OVAs=]: both better animated and less-censored than their television counterparts.
* Creator/DCComics has a similar line of such productions, including ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday'' (adapted from ''ComicBook/TheDeathOfSuperman'') and ''WesternAnimation/WonderWoman''.
* ''ComicBook/TheBeano Video'' and its sequel were both Direct to video. These were a number of animated shorts featuring characters from The Beano.
* The ''WesternAnimation/HellboyAnimated'' series comprises two films: ''Sword of Storms'' and ''Blood and Iron''. (Both films did air on Creator/CartoonNetwork shortly ''after'' they were released on DVD.) In spite of having much of the voice work provided by the same actors from the ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'' live-action films, ''Animated'' is a distinct continuity. If anything, it's closer to [[Comicbook/{{Hellboy}} the original comics]].
* ''WesternAnimation/GoldDiggerTimeRaft'' was released directly to DVD. Being a home made project, it was initially released in parts. In 2010, the whole thing was complied into one full movie.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In the run of ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' animated specials:
** ''It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown'' (1996, made in 1992 for TV but unaired until after the video release)
** ''It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown!'' (1997)
** ''It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown'' (2000)
** ''WesternAnimation/HappinessIsAWarmBlanketCharlieBrown'' (2011). This is the first ''Peanuts'' special produced without the involvement of longtime producer Bill Melendez, who died in 2008. The artwork in the special is actually an ArtShift that reflects the classic early drawing style of the ''Peanuts'' specials of TheSixties.
* The CGI ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' movies ''Garfield Gets Real'', ''Garfield's Fun Fest'' and ''Garfield's Pet Force'' were all released this way. However, the Regal Free Family Film Festival did show the latter two films in the summer of 2009.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Most of the ''WesternAnimation/OpenSeason'' franchise, starting with ''Open Season 2'', and going from there.
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon
** Disney has released direct-to-video sequels to a significant portion of its animated canon, animated by the company's various television animation units. At first they were follow-ups to UsefulNotes/TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation titles, but they gradually shifted back to films from the [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation Golden]] and [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfAnimation Dark]] ages. There are also a few titles based on WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts characters and Winnie-the-Pooh, while at least one film was a CompilationMovie consisting of the completed episodes of an aborted [=TV=] spinoff. In TheNewTens, Disney's only efforts in this vein are the ''[[Franchise/DisneyFairies Tinkerbell]]'' CGI films.
** Ironically there are a couple Disney sequels that have gotten theatrical runs: ''Disney/TheRescuersDownUnder'', ''Disney/PeterPan: Disney/ReturnToNeverLand'', and ''Disney/JungleBook 2''. This was meant to continue with ''Disney/LiloAndStitch2StitchHasAGlitch'' and ''Disney/TheLionKingOneAndAHalf'' (hence why they have higher production values) but due to the disappointment of the previous two films, they followed the Direct-to-DVD tread. However, some others like ''Disney/BambiII'' (also higher production value) still got theatrical releases in regions such as Europe.
** And the Tinker Bell movies (with the exception of ''The Pirate Fairy'', thanks to ''Film/MuppetsMostWanted'' coming out at the same time) are shown at the El Capitan so they can be hypothetically nominated for an Oscar, thus padding the list of eligible animated films. [[note]] Academy rules state that in order for the Best Animated Feature category to have 5 nominated titles in a given year, 16 films must be made eligible.[[/note]]
* Creator/{{Pixar}} has so far averted this, however. Though ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'' was almost released this way, becoming a theatrical film when it was felt that it would be better suited as such.
* Also averted with the ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' SpinOff ''WesternAnimation/{{Planes}}''. It was originally going to be released direct-to-DVD but it later got released theatrically.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'' series, with [[{{Sequelitis}} 13 sequels]] that all went straight-to-video. And then finally, Creator/{{Universal}} decided to produce an animated series.
* The third and fourth ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' movies, which screwed with the canon by putting Fievel back in UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, making ''Fievel Goes West'' AllJustADream, and omitting characters from the first movie.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH2TimmyToTheRescue''.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/MagicAdventuresOfMumfie Mumfie's Quest]]'' had its movie-length epic "Mumfie's Quest'' was initally released this way after airing as a MadeForTVMovie on pay per view. Many people found it so great that it deserved to be released into theaters. Mumfie eventurally got released into theaters in 1997 as part of a summer movie program at Cinemark. The catch? At the time, only camps and daycare centers could attend the movie, and the theater chain in question was not in every state. It was also screened at libraries in California and Florida.
* The Weinstein Company was aiming to release the American dub of ''Metegol'' in 2015 as ''The Unbeatables''(the movie was issued in the UK with another dub featuring British voices), but it wound up going to Creator/{{Netflix}} and DVD instead in the summer of 2016.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/RatchetAndClank2016 Ratchet & Clank's]]'' extremely underwhelming performance in the US meant that it was pulled in most other countries to be released on DVD later.[[note]]with New Zealand not even getting it on Blu-Ray![[/note]] Notably, in Japan it was bundled with the game based on it as a [[LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition Limited Collectors Edition]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BartokTheMagnificent'', the technically-not-a-sequel to ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'', was released this way.
* ''WesternAnimation/NormOfTheNorth'' was originally intended to be this, but for unknown reasons, the film averted this and it was put into theaters. Most would agree that the final product still feels like it was ''supposed'' to be a direct-to-video film (mainly due to its ''very'' outdated animation). There were plans to release sequels in this manner, but [[StillbornFranchise nothing has been heard from them since the initial announcement]], likely due to the film [[BoxOfficeBomb bombing]].
* The Japanese dub of ''WesternAnimation/SausageParty'' was released straight to DVD, with the theatrical release being the original English version of the film with subtitles.
* The Halloween movie ''WesternAnimation/SpookleyTheSquarePumpkin'' was released direct-to-DVD.
* After ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'' flopped because it was released on the same weekend as the Tohoku disaster in 2011, Creator/{{Dreamworks}} decided to release their films in Japan in this matter.
* Films by Creator/BlueSkyStudios get this treatment in Japan (with [[WesternAnimation/IceAge two]] [[WesternAnimation/ThePeanutsMovie exceptions]]).

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/BloodCult'', a 1985 SlasherMovie, was the first DTV film ever made.
* Most of Franchise/NationalLampoon's later films have been released direct-to-video. Not surprisingly, this coincides with the steep fall in quality that their films have taken.
* ''Film/SlumdogMillionaire'' was almost released this way until Fox Searchlight signed on as distributor.
* Controversial Japanese director Creator/TakashiMiike loves using direct-to-video V-cinema for many of his more unusual movies, because of the creative freedom this provides him. Miike is often touted as part of the reason for V-cinema's good reputation overseas.
* All of the ''Film/PuppetMaster'' franchise was released straight to video. This was because producer Charles Band thought he would make more money going this route instead of taking it to theaters. In fact, most of Full Moon Entertainment's works are direct-to-video.
* ''Film/TheodoreRex'' was intended to be a theatrical release, but after some complications, including a few failed test screenings, it was released straight to video. Having a budget of $33.5 million, it was the most expensive direct-to-video release of its time.
* Most [[TheMockbuster mockbusters]] use the DTV market in order to dupe unsuspecting customers.
* All of Film/ErnestPWorrell's films after ''Ernest Rides Again''.
* The live-action ''Film/{{Casper}}'' film produced several. They could hardly even really be called "sequels" seeing how they disregarded the continuity of the original movie so completely that the [[InNameOnly presence of Casper and his uncles]] was literally the only similarity to the feature film. They haunted a different house in a different town and all movie-based characters were dropped, all without explanation. And, of course, there was also the expected downgrade in the quality of the CGI. (It should be noted that [[Creator/StevenSpielberg Amblin]], ILM and Creator/{{Universal}} were not involved with the sequels, though Universal and Amblin did produce the better-received animated series.) Incidentally, the ''Casper'' "sequels" gave a very young Music/HilaryDuff in her first acting role as Wendy in ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4DXSGhF-To Casper Meets Wendy]]''.
* All UsefulNotes/{{Nollywood}} movies are like this, although with the rising popularity of streaming many of them are now direct to YouTube or similar sites.
* The ''Film/UniversalSoldier'' franchise is an interesting case of this. A pair of DTV films (''Brothers In Arms'' and ''Unfinished Business'') were released in 1998 sans any of the original cast members, and focused on lead character Luc Deveraux's attempts to stop the [=UniSol=] program from smuggling diamonds while helping reporter Veronica Roberts clear her name after the events of the original film. The DTV sequels were subsequently retconned by 1998's theatrical ''Film/UniversalSoldierTheReturn''. That film, in turn, was retconned by 2010's DTV ''Film/UniversalSoldierRegeneration'', which disregards everything except the original.
* ''In the Electric Mist'', an acclaimed crime drama with Creator/TommyLeeJones and Creator/JohnGoodman and directed by Bertrand Tavernier, had the misfortune of going straight-to-DVD after failing to find a distributor. However, it did manage a brief theatrical run after the film rented well.
* You would think that a movie starring Music/MichaelJackson put out in 1988 would have no trouble getting a theatrical release -- and you would be right... except that ''Film/{{Moonwalker}}'' wound up going straight-to-video in the US after Jackson's then-manager Frank [=DiLeo=] asked for an exorbitant share of the box office takings.
* An interesting case is the 2006 thriller ''The Contract'', which starred Creator/JohnCusack as a school coach who unwittingly ends up having to escort an assassin (played by Creator/MorganFreeman, no less) during a camping trip and avoid a group of the assassin's cohorts while he tries to bring him back to police custody. Despite having several major film and television stars attached to the project, the production (which cost $25 million) was shut down after 50 days by Millennium Films, leaving the director to finish the project with money out of his own pocket. The resulting film was unceremoniously dumped on DVD stateside after a limited theatrical showing -- ''in France''.
* Millennium Films also produced the Morgan Freeman/Creator/AntonioBanderas heist film ''The Code'' (a.k.a. ''Thick As Thieves''), which revolved around a veteran thief recruiting a younger crook to help him pull off a final job to pay off the Russian mob. Despite attracting some top-tier talent -- Mimi Leder (''Film/DeepImpact'') directed and Creator/TomHardy co-starred -- the film was also dumped on DVD without a theatrical release (it was however the top-renting movie the week it was released on DVD, giving sort of a happy ending for the film).
* ''Film/TheMaidenHeist'' was released straight to DVD after the distributor Yari Film Group went bankrupt.
* The first film version of ''Film/ThePunisher1989'' was planned for a US theatrical release by its makers New World Pictures, but the new owners decided to focus more on television and elected to sit on this, ''Film/{{Warlock}}'' and ''Meet The Applegates'' (although all three did open as planned outside the US through other distributors). The other two did get American theatrical release eventually, but ''The Punisher'' spent two years on the shelf before going to video.
* As if being shelved by Creator/DreamWorks[=/=]Creator/{{Paramount}} for years before its 2012 theatrical release wasn't enough, Paramount cancelled the British release of ''A Thousand Words'' following its terrible American reception - and thus it went straight to DVD.
* The 2004 film ''Envy'', starring Creator/BenStiller and Creator/JackBlack, was released straight to DVD in all of Europe following its negative American reception.
* Creator/LiamNeeson signed up for ''Film/{{Taken}}'' thinking it was going to be released this way.
* The sixth and seventh installments of the ''Film/ChildsPlay'' franchise, "Curse of Chucky" and "Cult of Chucky".
* A lot of Creator/UweBoll 's films.
* ''Film/{{Soldier}}'' bombed so badly in the US, that it went for a straight to video release in other countries.
* Creator/RobertRodriguez originally intended to make ''Film/ElMariachi'' for Spanish home video.
* Two popular movies of the early-'90s -- ''Film/DennisTheMenace'' and ''Film/RichieRich'' -- were given direct-to-video sequels in 1998 from Warner Bros. Family Entertainment. The former received ''Dennis the Menace Strikes Again'', while the latter was saddled with ''Richie Rich's Christmas Wish''. Neither movie featured its predecessor's original cast, nor was either movie ''nearly'' as well-received.
* The same year, Warner Bros. Family Entertainment also put out ''Film/AddamsFamilyReunion'' in the same manner. It fared about as well as the prior mentioned movies, though unlike those, ''Reunion'' was not intended as a direct sequel to [[Film/TheAddamsFamily the first two films in its series]].
* 2013's ''Blood Ties'', despite its impressive cast (Clive Owen, Creator/MarionCotillard, Creator/MilaKunis, Creator/ZoeSaldana, James Caan), went straight to DVD in Britain.
* After it bombed at the U.S. box-office in February 2014, ''Film/VampireAcademy'''s British cinema release was cancelled and it went straight to DVD in early July.
* In 2008, ''Entertainment Weekly'' released an article entitled "Would You Dump this Woman?" (which you can read [[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20175469,00.html here]]) which detailed the tumultuous production of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Heckerling Amy Heckerling's]] ''[[Film/ICouldNeverBeYourWoman I Could Never Be Your Woman]]'' (starring [[Creator/MichellePfeiffer Michelle Pfeiffer]] and [[Creator/PaulRudd Paul Rudd]]) and how it went straight-to-video in the first place.
* ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'' did receive theatrical distribution in some foreign markets, but it went straight to VHS in the US due to financing problems.
* After Sony cancelled the wide theatrical release of ''Film/TheInterview'' in late 2014, it released the film to WebSite/YouTube at the same time as a limited release and then to Creator/{{Netflix}}.
* In 2006, Creator/WarnerBros made a brand specifically devoted to DirectToVideo films entitled Warner Premiere. These consisted of sequels to their live action output, animated films for ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'', ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'', and the WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies (mentioned below), and a few original titles here and there (like the [[TheShelfOfMovieLanguishment delayed]] ''Film/TrickRTreat''). Due to the growing decline of the DVD market and other economic setbacks, Warner Bros. pulled the plug on the label in 2013. The studio still makes direct to video films, but those are under the regular Warner Home Video banner.
** Fun fact, Warner Premiere had a sub-label named Raw Feed which made, you guessed it, horror films. [[ForegoneConclusion It didn't last very long]].
* The Australian releases of ''[[Series/BarneyAndFriends Barney's Great Adventure]]'' and ''Film/TheAdventuresOfElmoInGrouchland'' were this due to an Australian law that bans children under the age of four from visiting the cinema.

* A series of Creator/RichardScarry's animated [[EdutainmentShow educational]] videos that were produced between 1989 and 1994.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/LittleHardhats'' is a live action direct to video series on showing kids about what adult jobs are like.
* The pioneer of this for spin-offs of TV series was probably the ''Series/BabylonFive'' spin-off ''[[Recap/BabylonFiveTheLostTales01 The Lost Tales]]'', which was intended to be the first of a series of [=DVDs=] until Creator/JMichaelStraczynski decided that he couldn't tolerate the artistic limitations created by the low budget (which many cynical people translated as "not even enough [[CrackIsCheaper completist fans]] bought it for it to make any money").
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' has two direct-to-video sequel movies: ''Stargate: Film/TheArkOfTruth'' and ''Film/StargateContinuum''.
* Franchise/SuperSentai:
** The annual [[{{Crossover}} team-up films]] that started with ''[[Series/ChourikiSentaiOhranger Ohranger]] vs. [[Series/NinjaSentaiKakuranger Kakuranger]]'' were originally straight-to-video releases until ''[[Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger Go-onger]] vs. [[Series/JukenSentaiGekiranger Gekiranger]]'', in which they started getting theatrical premieres instead.
** ''[[Series/RescueSentaiGogoFive Gogo-V]]'' had a tie-in video titled ''Clash! The New Super Warrior'' (aka ''Gogo-V vs. Zeek''), which focused on a new hero created just for the movie in order to make up for the lack of a SixthRanger in the actual show.
** Every Sentai since ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' (with the exception of ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'') had a "Come Back!" special that were released on home video after their respective finales were aired.
** ''Series/NinpuSentaiHurricaneger'' and ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger'', two of the more popular seasons, have received "Ten Years After" DTV movies which reunite most of the primary cast.
** Its Western counterpart had an unintentional example: The finale for ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'' was first released on Netflix almost a week before it aired and as part of the DVD boxset days later. Saban had planned the DVD to release days after the finale aired, but Nickelodeon pushed the show back a week when it came back from hiatus so the DVD got out first.
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'':
** ''Film/ShinKamenRiderPrologue'' was a direct to video movie.
** Also, in the Heisei era, there are Hyper Battle Videos, which act as {{clip show}}s for the respective show and usually has an alternate form or piece of equipment that never appears anywhere else.
** Starting with ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'', several series have had direct-to-DVD movies that focus on a different character while the hero simply appears in reduced capacity. Double's movies focused on Accel and Eternal. ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' got four movies, focusing on Zangetsu, Baron, Knuckle and Duke. ''Series/KamenRiderDrive'' started with one for Chaser, then two more for Mach and Heart, the first time a non-Rider got his own movie[[note]]Though said movie gives Heart a Kamen Rider form[[/note]].
* Many BBC panel games in TheNineties made special episodes only released on VHS, including ''Series/HaveIGotNewsForYou'' and ''Series/NeverMindTheBuzzcocks''. The "will never be seen on TV" advertising was sometimes mocked by the later examples with jokes along the lines of "...except when you watch it by putting the tape into the VCR".
* As British fans of ''Series/BreakingBad'', ''Series/{{Damages}}'' and other American TV series have discovered, it is possible for them to go direct to DVD in the UK once their broadcasters ([[Creator/ChannelFive FiveUSA]] for the former, [[Creator/TheBBC BBC1]] for the latter, and FX for both) have dropped them and if no other channel picks them up (although Netflix has since come to the rescue for both of these shows, among others (''Series/DropDeadDiva'', ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'', ''Series/OnceUponATime'', ''Series/PrettyLittleLiars'' etc).
* Any [[EdutainmentVideo edutainment special]] about potty-training will be released straight to video. Some examples include the AnimatedAdaptation of ''Once Upon A Potty'', ''It's Potty Time!'' [[note]]A video about a little boy learning how to use the bathroom potty at his friend's birthday party[[/note]], "I Gotta Go!" [[note]] Not to be confused with the Creator/RobertMunsch book, this is a series of music videos about potty training.[[/note]] ''Potty Power''[[note]] A ''WesternAnimation/BluesClues''-esque video about toilet training[[/note]], ''No More Diapers'' [[note]] A video about a bear who learns to give up diapers done in a similar style to the ''WesternAnimation/KatieAndOrbie'' series[[/note]] and ''[[Series/SesameStreet Elmo's Potty Time]]''. However, this was averted for ''WesternAnimation/BearInTheBigBlueHouse'''s potty-training video, which was shown on TV as a special in March of 1999 as part of the regular episode line-up.

* The critically acclaimed ''Series/BabySongs'' MusicVideo series.
* Most concert videos. While films in the past like Music/LedZeppelin's ''The Song Remains the Same'', Music/TheBand's ''Film/TheLastWaltz'' and Music/TalkingHeads' ''Film/StopMakingSense'' have had theatrical releases, they haven't really been box-office blockbusters, but the artists have loyal audiences for live footage. Hence, direct-to-DVD makes a lot of financial sense for these live videos.
* Music/FrankZappa started doing this from the late 1980s on, with ''Music/DoesHumorBelongInMusic'' (1985) as his first release. In his case it made sense to directly bring it out on home video, because his music was only popular with a cult crowd and wouldn't sell much tickets in the theater.
* Rock band Music/MindlessSelfIndulgence have a song called "Straight to Video" which plays off of this trope.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* Franchise/TheMuppets have appeared in a number of direct-to-video productions:
** In 1985, Playhouse Video released ten compilations featuring the best clips from ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', with original linking footage.
** In the late-1980s there was ''A Muppet Babies Video Storybook'', with Kermit reading three existing ''Series/MuppetBabies'' storybooks (sometimes to Robin).
** 1988 brought ''Creator/JimHenson's Play-Along Video'', in which the Muppets encourage the viewers to do the activities featured in the videos.
** ''Muppet Sing-Alongs'' were made in the early 1990s, with Kermit hosting.
** ''Film/MuppetClassicTheater'' had the Muppets doing their own versions of six fairy tales.
** ''Film/KermitsSwampYears'' focused on 12-year-old Kermit.
* The cast of ''Series/SesameStreet'' have appeared in a number of direct-to-video productions:
** In 1986, Random House Home Video released ''Series/MySesameStreetHomeVideo''. It features best clips from the show itself. The release came with an activity book.
** In 1988, Random House Home Video released ''Series/SesameStreetSongsHomeVideo''. It features songs from the show itself. The release came with a song lyrics poster.
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfTimmyTheTooth'', a direct-to-video puppet series about the adventures of a tooth and his pet toothbrush as they went on adventures fighting villains based off things that are bad for your teeth starring Phil Baron as the titular tooth. It's well-known for being featured in one of the ''Film/AmericanPie'' movies and having some of its characters reused on ''Series/GregTheBunny''.

* In a rare example of a decent DTV, the ''WesternAnimation/{{Bionicle}}'' films.
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyG3 My Little Pony]]'' G3's "Core 7" shorts (except for Twinkle Wish Adventure and the movies) and SpinOffBabies G3.5 ''Once Upon a My Little Pony Time'' shorts.
* The ''Franchise/{{Barbie}}'' films. However, quite a few of them were shown as part of Kidtoons.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The majority of video game franchises from the 1980s and 1990s originally began as arcade games and are nowadays released directly to consoles. Even during the "Golden Age" of the arcades (the 80s and 90s), some of these franchises already had a few made-for-console sequels.
* ''Series/GamePlayerGameTape'' was a series of VHS tapes and Betamax tapes that helps gamers learn the tips and tricks on each video games.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' parodies this and TheMockbuster in the WebAnimation/StrongBadEmail "unlicensed", the source of the page pic.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/OnceUponAPotty'' potty training video was based on [[Litureture/OnceUponAPotty the book by the same name]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' feature ''Recap/StewieGriffinTheUntoldStory'' and the four ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' direct-to-DVD movies were made with intent of ultimately cutting the episodes up for airing on TV as three-parters and four-parters respectively. Though in the case of ''Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story'', the movie is considered the definitive cut and as such, the TV edit "episodes" are omitted from DVD releases. The DVD also has about 20 minutes of bonus footage (involving the "premiere" of the movie in theaters and a [[NoFourthWall fourth-wall breaking]] after party where the characters discuss the real-life cancellation of the series) that was not shown on TV. The four ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' movies sold so well and got such a positive reaction from fans that they continued the series.
** In-universe, the episodes ''[[Recap/FamilyGuyS6E4And5StewieKillsLoisAndLoisKillsStewie Lois Kills Stewie]]'' and ''Foreign Affairs'' parody Disney's infamous direct-to-video sequels with cutaway skits that poke fun at just how pointless the sequels stories are. In the former, Stewie invokes his presidential power to ban Disney from producing further sequels, including films like ''JustForFun/AladdinIVJafarMayNeedGlasses'' ([[OverlyLongGag which is just a 38 second clip of Jafar getting an eye exam]]). In the latter, Peter and co. are watching ''Aladdin V: Jafar Answers the Census'' on the Creator/DisneyChannel.
* Humorously, in ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventuresHowISpentMyVacation'', the credits claim it went straight to video because "it's that darn good" (which is probably more true than they're joking, since the movie is basically an OVA, as it was done by Creator/{{TMS|Entertainment}} in Japan).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' AlternateUniverse film, ''WesternAnimation/WakkosWish''.
* A few ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episodes were released on DVD before airing on TV.
** "One Good Scare Ought to Do It!" made its US debut on the DVD ''The Fast and the Phineas'', over two months before its US TV premiere on Creator/DisneyChannel.
** "Unfair Science Fair" and "Unfair Science Fair Redux" (Another Story) made their US debut on the DVD ''The Daze of Summer'', around a week before their US TV premieres on Creator/DisneyXD.
** "The Doof Side of the Moon" made its US debut on the DVD ''A Very Perry Christmas'', three days before its US TV premiere on Creator/DisneyChannel.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'':
** ''WesternAnimation/RecessTakingTheFifthGrade'' and ''Recess: All Growed Down'' were both DTV movies, consisting of unaired episodes and linking material.
** ''WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut'' was planned as this, but Disney wanted a theatrical release due to the show's popularity. With an expansion of the plot and an AnimationBump, it turned out to be a success. In a few foreign areas, it ''was'' released as this, though, particularly in areas where ''Recess'' wasn't much heard of or not as popular than in other countries.
* All of the ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' films except for [[WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryTheMovie the first one]]. One of the most recent ones [[{{Crossover}} crosses over]] with ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'' is a borderline case. Intended as DTV, it received a short theatrical run with no alterations.
* DC now has a whole series of direct-to-DVD animated films, from Warner Premiere. The fact that they are DirectToVideo has absolutely no bearing on their quality. Some are made for adults like ''WesternAnimation/AllStarSuperman'' , ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheKillingJoke'' , and ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueTheFlashpointParadox'' . Some are made for families like the ''WebAnimation/DCSuperHeroGirls'' movies, the Batman Unlimites movies, and any Lego projects.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' had a few, notably the hour-long special '' Vacation'' (later broadcast on TV), and the ''Tales From The Crib'' movies, made long after the series ended in a (failed) attempt to make it popular again.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirlsMovie'', while released in the U.S theatrical (and sadly bombing due to lousy marketing from Creator/WarnerBros) was released in foreign markets straight to DVD. Subsequently many of Creator/CartoonNetwork MadeForTV movies were also released this way as well.
* ''Franchise/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' has three: ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunksMeetFrankenstein'', ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunksMeetTheWolfman'' and ''Film/LittleAlvinAndTheMiniMunks''.
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' has a long-running series of Direct-to-Video features. It's the longest running part of the franchise, as far as time goes. At least one film has been made every year since 1998, seeing many changes to the character designs, animation style, story tone, and voice actors. The series currently has 24 entries and counting. Some of which have surprising quality (''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooOnZombieIsland'', ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooCampScare'', ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooLegendOfThePhantosaur''), others are just okay (''WesternAnimation/AlohaScoobyDoo'', ''WesternAnimation/ChillOutScoobyDoo''...). The very first entry, ''Zombie Island'' is considered a classic in its own right, and one of the most well-received entries in the entire ''Scooby-Doo'' franchise.
* Several ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' episodes were released on DVD before they aired on television.
** An extreme example would be the DVD ''Bikini Bottom Adventures'' -- at the time when the DVD was released, none of the episodes were on television.
** "[=SpongeBob=] Meets the Strangler" and "Pranks a Lot" were released on the VHS/DVD release ''The Seascape Capers'' before airing on TV.
** The Japanese dub of ''WesternAnimation/TheSpongeBobSquarePantsMovie'' was released this way, with the theatrical version being subtitled and shown as a limited release.
* Most seasons of ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' have some episodes released on video or DVD before they are broadcast on TV. Most notably, the third season had sixteen episodes (over half a season's worth) released on video the year before they were actually broadcast, and the fourth season had eight episodes released on tape the year before they were shown on TV. Notably, the music and sound effects present in these episodes were altered in the TV airings and all subsequent video releases, making the early season 3 and 4 videos more sought-after than most. The early Season 3 episodes even had their entire narration redone after the initial video release. The majority of the feature-length specials are given a limited release in select cinemas (mostly via Kidtoons Films and at the Theater at Mall Of America during Toddler Tuesdays, both of which are now defunct) before the DVD release, but ''Calling All Engines'' was released on DVD and VHS without a theatrical release.
* Unlike the previous two films in the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls'' series, ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames'' will be screened on television before going straight to video. This may have something to do with either the ''Creator/TheHub'' changing into Creator/DiscoveryFamily or due to Creator/{{Hasbro}} working on ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePony2017'', as the second EQG film didn't do poorly in the box office, since it actually grossed more money than the first one. However, in an interesting inversion of the "theatrical movie gets released straight-to-video in foreign territories", some countries (such as the United Kingdom) gave it a threatical release.
* Creator/WaltDisneyHomeVideo releases ''WesternAnimation/DisneySingAlongSongs'' as a direct-to-video series. The series has songs from various Disney films and television shows, and kids at home can sing-along by ''[[FollowTheBouncingBall following Mickey the Bouncing Ball]]'' as it bounces on the lyrics.
* A few other companies aside from Disney did sing-along videos based off their properties as well:
** Jim Henson had Muppet Sing Alongs, which had a spin-off of its' own called "Things That...", which was a series of sing-along videos featuring the Muppets singing about different kinds of vehicles.
** Warner Brothers had two of these videos: one was a ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' sing-along, and the other was a tie-in to ''WesternAnimation/QuestForCamelot'', which also included songs from ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' on it.
** Fox released two of these: one contained Creator/ShirleyTemple songs, and the other was themed around ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}''.
** AlvinAndTheChipmunks had two of these releases: Ragtime Cowboy Joe and Working On The Railroad.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheWackyAdventuresOfRonaldMcDonald'', an animated series based off the [[UsefulNotes/McDonalds McDonaldLand]] characters produced by Klasky-Csupo.
* Another series of long running direct-to-video releases is the Franchise/{{Barbie}} film series, beginning with ''WesternAnimation/BarbieInTheNutcracker'' in 2001. The most recent release is ''WesternAnimation/BarbieVideoGameHero'' in 2017.
* ''WesternAnimation/PostmanPat'' had several direct to video [[EdutainmentShow edutainment]] titles released this way.
* The North American release of the individual ''WesternAnimation/NoddysToylandAdventures'' episodes, which had VHS exclusive music videos play every few stories. This was different from how they were broadcast on TV in the country, where one ten minute segment was played as part of ''Series/TheNoddyShop''.
* Episodes of ''[[WesternAnimation/{{VeggieTales}} [=VeggieTales=]]]'' were originally released straight to VHS tapes and [=DVDs=] before it got [[WesternAnimation/JonahAVeggieTalesMovie a movie in theaters]] and TV airings courtesy of Creator/{{qubo}} and Creator/{{TBN}}. However, Creator/PBSKids aired "The Star Of Christmas" before it was released to DVD and video as a special event, and Creator/{{PAX}} ran a Christmas special based on the series before its' VHS release.