In an effort to drive sales and fight piracy, Fox will release the full seventh season of 24 on DVD and Blu-ray as soon as the season finale airs tonight, reports the New York Times. The unprecedented timeline is a bit of an experiment.
Given the fast-paced linear nature of the series, 24 DVDs are a very important part of its business. The show has sold 7.5 million DVD seasons over the years. Pre-orders of the season seven DVD set have already made it No. 5 in the movies and TV section on Amazon today.
While 24 is available for free online streaming, both Fox.com and Hulu only offer the latest five episodes, so viewers can’t truly binge on the season. Today Fox is (smartly) advertising the DVD release on Hulu clips of the show like the one embedded above.
The quick DVD release was only made possible because 24‘s season has been in the can for a while now, owing to the show being delayed by the writers’ strike. But fans had best not get used to this release schedule, because according to Fox DVDs take 8-12 weeks to manufacture (c’mon really, in this day and age?), and episodes are often in production right up until they air.
This isn’t the first time 24 has shaken up the DVD-release paradigm. Back in 2007, Fox released the first four episodes of the season right after they aired, so people who missed them on TV could jump into the rest of the season. Fox also sold DVDs of 24‘s TV movie Redemption shortly after it aired last year. The show released its first DVD set back in 2002, right before the start of its second season.