Paris By Night + Struggling To Survive?

Monday, July 27, 2015

If you're Viet, at some point in your life, you've been indoctrinated to Paris by Night - maybe you were young and the bright and shiny covers pulled you in, maybe you were a little older because you didn't want to be associated with that old school country stuff (whenever that may have been for you), or maybe PBN has always just been in your blood - either way, most likely you know PBN (even if you're not Viet).

But that doesn't mean it'll be around forever:

DVD sales plummeted from 85,000 for a 2005 recording to 30,000 for a release today. They are no longer able to cover the million-dollar cost of Paris by Night extravaganzas, which feature flashy costumes, elaborate dance routines, sophisticated sets and lighting, live bands and cinematic backdrops of Vietnamese landscapes. Thúy Nga’s full-time staff is bare-bones — about a dozen. But mounting the lavish spectacles requires some 150 freelancers, from Hollywood-based directors, lighting designers and recording engineers to singers, dancers, makeup artists and wardrobe assistants.

“Profit? We are barely making it,” To said.

As a privately-held company, Thúy Nga doesn’t reveal its financials, but To estimates that revenue has dropped by 40 percent in the last decade, even as production costs have risen.

Vietnam is the only country where Thúy Nga is barred from selling its DVDs or CDs. That’s partly because To refuses to submit them to government censors. Another factor: one of the show’s long-time co-hosts, a former political prisoner, has written books criticizing the regime.

However, most of the piracy sites appear to be based in Vietnam, and bootleg copies of Paris by Night are widely available there. Thúy Nga tried filing lawsuits, To said, but gave up after realizing there were hundreds of illegal websites.

Read more down at the OC Register.