Why are some titles not available on DVD?

All new Duke programmes are released on DVD. We have also already re-released around 100 of our back catalogue on to DVD, and more are coming every month. In a perfect world, we would like all the older Duke programmes to be available on DVD, but there are many reasons why this is not the case.

The three most significant reasons are time, money and rights. Producing a DVD of a programme is not simply a question of pressing a button and duplicating 1,000 discs. The programme has to be completely re-formatted and encoded into DVD digital format. It also has to have a menu structure designed and inserted into the DVD master programme. At the same time, we tend where possible to add features or update such programmes since, if we are going to so much trouble to produce even a basic DVD version of a programme, involving a lot of time and expense, we might as well spend a little bit extra to give our customers added value.

The time it takes us to produce a DVD is reducing steadily as techniques and methods improve. Whilst costs are also coming down slightly, it nevertheless takes weeks rather than days to produce a DVD master of an existing programme and inevitably costs thousands rather than hundreds of pounds to implement. As a result of these obstacles, not all of our 1,700 title back-catalogue will find its way on to DVD within the next few years. As technology improves, however, there may come a time when all our products are available on DVD, but as far as our slowest selling back-catalogue lines are concerned that day is a long way off.

In some cases rights are also a problem as far as DVD is concerned. The great majority of our programmes are either owned totally by Duke or are licensed for sale on any format of tape or disc. However, with certain titles, for e.g. F1 Review 2001 and World Rally Review 2001, we only have the rights to sell VHS cassettes. We are dependent on the rights owner selling the DVD rights to us (or another party) in order to make it available to our customers. If the ultimate rights owners do not want to sell the rights, there is nothing we can do about it.