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Made on Demand

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Made on demand? What does that mean? What does it do to affect what we buy? Why change it?

In order to rationalize this, let's take a step back. Hey look, your favorite movie/TV show is out on DVD. Alright, you can buy it. Cool, right? But in order to put that disc on a shelf, do you realize how many the studios had to make? They obviously had to stock up them in their own stores/warehouses, in all those retail stores, all those media specialty stores, and all those online retailers (not counting if they order more if the first sells out). That is naturally a lot of discs. When it comes to the top selling properties, this doesn't really matter, but what about all those smaller fish?

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Selling two million copies of some cheap, obscure movie seems like a sweet accomplishment, right? Not if you had to make five million to ship them all out to stores. All of a sudden that really high number looks pretty sad. This is basically the reason why you see so many discs end up liquidated in cheap bins. And after all some of which probably did sell well way back when, but they simply made far too many of them than they ever could sell, and for studios this is just a waste of time and money.

So what problems did this have? Lots of titles going out of production, TV shows being stalled with no new season announcements, some internet crying? All of the above, but wait a minute here, surely there is a way to fix this right? Yes: made on demand.

Simply put, instead the studio ONLY makes as many as customers actually order: for each order the studio gets, they simply burn a DVD-R or BD-R, stick it in some nice little packaging, and ship it out to the eager buyer. Meaning no more extra inventory, no more "did we make too many" or "did we not make enough". You want it, you pay us. The result a bunch of titles returning to print with more new ones, TV shows being un-stalled, and the latter... well, tropers can't have everything.

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But about that, as you can imagine some stores and customers aren't pleased about the retailer being walked around here, but on the other hand, some would argue the stores created the problem in the first place. Like in the earlier example, 2 million on its own is a good sales number for something not cream of the crop. MOD that's a good number. But with a store production figure, it's a bad number. And after all, you eliminate the store and the bad number becomes a good number. So isn't it obvious what seems like the better one if you want to make money on your DVDs?

It should be noted that there are other arguments over this home video trend on formats, but this article is on the concept of MOD for business models.

Somewhat related to Keep Circulating the Tapes; though MOD releases have made several rare shows legally available, such disks will not play on all DVD players, which may still lead to this trope anyway if a fan can't get a copy of their favorite show to work on their player.

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List of Studios with Made on Demand Programs

  • Fotomat Video provided the Ur-Example with their Drive-Thru Movies program for the Betamax and VHS formats.
  • Warner Bros. has led the major model of this with their Warner Archive Collection as an extension of Warner Home Video.
  • Sony launched their own in response to Warner's, but at a much slower progress.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer also formed one. Then stopped. Then started it back up again.
    • Both of the previous ones are sold on Warner Brothers site as well.
  • 20th Century Fox's MOD discs have come under considerable criticism for their frequent use of Pan and Scan transfers.
  • Amazon's CreateSpace, many releases through which come from Viacom channels and programming such as MTV and Nickelodeon.
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