Universal sold the license to Davis Anderson (legendary heroes, whatever you want to call them... crooks sounds about right in my book). Just like they did for the VHS sets ten years ago. This gave them the exclusivity. Universal doesn't care as long as Davis Anderson has the license. Even if Universal had the license back, they would have to redo the entire series on DVD unless they obtain the rights to use the sets already 'patented.'
This would most suredly piss fans off if Universal comes in and sweeps up the license only to re-issue the series with a whole new release. That's unlikely to happen.
In November 2002, Davis Anderson released the first season onto DVD.
To get a better market for it, Davis Anderson entered into an agreement with Anchor Bay to distribute the DVDs to retailers. The sets were marketed in magazines, TV, Internet, grassroots marketing online and radio.
In January 2003, at the urging of Anchor Bay, Davis-Anderson filmed the "What you didn't know about Xena" for inclusion to the Best Buy sets for season 1.
Josh Becker was not pleased with the way these guys were filming. He actually directed his bit and then told Rob. According to Josh, Rob was livid that they didn't think of asking him, Lucy, Renee etc to do features.
The season two features were done hurry hurry.
For season three, things were running more smoothly at the urging of everyone involved to get more features--more of what the fans want. This included the involvement of Whoosh and the involvement of Sharon Delaney (more than likely at the request of Rob and company).
How much did they sell?
Rob elluded to an amount he was given by Davis Anderson during a Q & A on Talking Xena. In this, he states that only 225,000 units were sold and never available in retailers. Correction, the sets were available in retailers nationwide. From Best Buy to KMart to Costco to Wal*Mart, the sets were available during the intial month of release and in cases of Best Buy, for some time afterwards. So his statement is inaccurate in that they were never available at retailers.
Now, he could be referring to "not currently." As someone who works in retail, more specifically a videorentailer, I can tell you that for movies to go completely out of print is standard practice (in the previous post I referred to it as what Disney does). The problem here, is that Anchor Bay (Starz Home Entertainment) no longer is distributing the DVD. This closes the outlet for retailers such as Best Buy to sell the DVDs. For the record, the sets have been out of stores for well over a year now.
It is also common practice for stores to send back excess or stock that is no longer selling to their distributor (could be directly from Anchor Bar, Ingram, VPD or a number of second party distributors that retailers use) for credit.
Back to the 225,000 units sold. Counting the 10th Anniversary set, that's roughly 32,000 sets per season release. For a television released at the time, it was below the average (which was around 50,000 units for a TV show, if I recall). Some shows, such as Buffy and Family Guy generated millions of units sold during initial release.
Still, if you were to take the average retail value ($54.99 at the time) times the numbers sold totally it's a just tad under $12 million dollars.
Now, it could be that DA is lying and is fidging on the numbers. The fact is, Anchor Bay has a record of the number of units shipped and the number of units returned to them and subsequently sent back Davis Anderson.
Not getting their money
I say: sue 'em Rob. If anything, it'll expose what myself and others have said along about Davis-Anderson. I still laugh at the "we must sell our stock of swords because of the Xena movie..."