Why would a streaming format have different budgetary issues than direct-to-DVD?
Direct to DVD is a dying format for one thing, so why invest in it? Also, you have the issues of creating physical media and the costs associated with that. And then where do you sell it? Wal-Mart? Blockbuster is gone. But Netflix is going gangbusters. Why not just sell your product where the customers are?
Netflix doesn't have to convince Wal-Mart to stock its product - it has an in-house database of people who watch Star Trek
that it can market to, at minimal cost - just send an email or whatever. Convincing retailers to stock a product is a very pricey proposition compared with what Netflix is doing. Having direct access to customers is a huge benefit vs. having to partner with a brick & mortar store for customers.
I'm discounting the notion of selling DVDs online because if you have the option of streaming, that's obviously superior vs having to press DVDs, pay postage and pay minimum wage (but American
minimum wage) workers to ship the stuff out.
If DVD were not a dying format with marketing/distribution drawbacks compared with Netflix, then I wouldn't object to that idea, but its time is past. It's not the budget really so much as, Star Trek
needs to be associated with the future, not the past. And from Netflix or Amazon's perspective, Star Trek
should be intensely attractive - it's just the brand they need right now, to make a splash and position themselves as king of the hill vs the other guy.
And on top of that, there's no law that says Netflix can't burn some DVDs and send them out to people who insist. It's more expensive for them than streaming, but it's not a deal-breaker. House of Cards
might end up on DVD someday- it's a dying format, but not dead yet.
House of Cards
is $100M for two 13-episode seasons, not at all a cheap series just because it is set in modern-day. That budget could cover a Star Trek
series, especially if someone were thinking about clever ways to keep the budget down, such as setting the action on an Earth colony under attack by mysterious and largely unseen aliens.
Just having heroes in Starfleet uniforms, battling impossible odds and making flowery speeches, goes a long way towards being Trekkish. Doesn't sound pricey to me.