Beauty and the Beast Videotape Pledge

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Event
Event: Beauty and the Beast Videotape Pledge (also known as "The Pledge Drive" or "Beauty and the Beast Video Campaign")
Participants: Nan Dibble, Kimberly Harman and Mark Hartman
Date(s): 1990
Type: fundraising
Fandom: Beauty and the Beast
URL:
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Contents

The Beauty and the Beast Videotape Pledge was a fan-led effort to raise funds in support for new episodes of the TV show after it was canceled.

The campaign was organized by Nan Dibble and Kimberly and Mark Hartman with flyers were distributed among the international fan community (see flyer below).

From the Los Angeles Times:
"And one devotee hopes that VCRs will offer another kind of "network" for three unaired episodes. Nancy Dibble from Albany has started a "Beauty and the Beast Videotape Pledge" in which fans are promising to pay $20 initially for the exclusive tapes, and sending their pledges (not their money) to the producers of the show, Witt Thomas Productions. Dribble, a book editor, said she based the idea on the success of book clubs. She needs about 100,000 pledges for it to work. "So far there's been great reaction," she said. "People who love the show must know it need not die." Cable outlets A&E, TNT have inquired about picking up "Beast," but the leading contender is Lifetime, which appeals to female audiences and matches the show's demographics, according to a spokesman from Republic Pictures, which will distribute the show. No new episodes are planned."[1]
campaign flyer, click twice to read

It was estimated the petition needed 100,000 by mid-February 1990 in order for Witt Thomas to find the project feasible.

The campaign did not succeed, even after reaching 200,000 signatures from fans across the world promising to pay $4 million dollars for the episodes, sight unseen.[2]

In retrospect the campaign faced significant technical hurdles, most of which are not present today. In his March 2013 article Kickstarting Veronica Mars, Henry Jenkins notes that:
"The fans rightly recognized that the Nielsen Ratings measured the scope of viewership but not its intensity, and that the scale of success demanded to stay on network television was considerably lower than what would be required to cover the costs of production. At the time, such plans were unlikely to succeed, given the nature of the media environment: they really did not have a robust method for collecting funds from dedicated fans, the producers would not have had a viable business model for proceeding under this unstable system, and the distribution of episodes via VHS was going to be clunky at best."[3]

References

  1. "Los Angeles Times Arts & Entertainment". 
  2. Nan Dibble recounting the campaign in her March 8, 1998 Helpers' Network Hotline online newsletter posted to alt.tv.beauty+beast
  3. Henry Jenkins. "Kickstarting Veronica Mars". Retrieved March 26, 2013.