ANN wrote:The following releases have been cancelled:
Anime DVD/Blu-ray Disc
"The pricing range for our products kept dropping in Western countries, and people tended only to buy sets with very reasonable prices, which we understand is what fans want, but it lead us to a different strategy than what Japanese licensors wanted," he remarked. "So we always had a problem [with licensors wanting something different than what consumers wanted]."
But at this point, little is set in stone. Only one thing is clear: the role of a distributor for anime in North America is changing, and some well-equipped licensors can now cut them out of the process entirely, if they choose. Japanese publishers can now create Blu-rays with English subtitles, ready to import to English speakers worldwide. While those won't sell as many copies as American-produced discs, the higher price point and lack of middleman can still result in a decent amount of revenue with little additional cost. Bandai Visual Japan recently discovered this for themselves with their release of Gundam Unicorn. "They found the results pretty good, and that's how I think they would like to move forwards," Iyadomi says.
blkmage wrote:And this corroborates with what I was suspecting.
With the margins that they get on domestic releases, I can believe that the Japanese are willing to toss the broader North American market aside and cater to the hardcore people who are willing to import Japanese BDs at Japanese prices (also note that these people are not exclusively North Americans).
blkmage (post: 1525257) wrote:There's definitely a large chunk of people who are willing to import things from Amazon.co.jp that didn't exist back in 2006. As small as it is relative to the broader North American fanbase, I think this chunk will continue to grow as foreign fans increase their engagement with the Japanese base through things like 2ch or Nico Nico Douga or pixiv.
While this is factually correct, it is fallacious to draw the conclusion that no one ever will "figure it out" simply because no one has up until this point. Regardless, I want to be clear that I don't expect another bubble a la 2000-2004. This would be unrealistic. What I am thinking about is growth potential (of casual fans) on a smaller scale, but still growth potential. Of course, as I mentioned, this potential could be much less than it was in the earlier part of the last decade due to evolving media consumption habits.blkmage (post: 1525324) wrote:The problem with the idea of the potential large market is that it's never been properly harnessed and no one knows how to do it. That's been the great promise pretty much for the entirety of anime licensing in North America. After a decade or two, it still hasn't happened.
To answer the first question: yes, but their opportunities are limited. I don't think anyone can afford what is being asked for the proven model: a run every weekday afternoon, but, as your second question suggests, there is a real question as to whether that model will still work today.Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing, and Trigun are all great examples, but they were also all on TV. One question is whether licensors are doing anything similar to get their stuff out. The other question is whether there's as easy a way to reach these people, because as a media consumption option, anime has a lot more competition.
This is all well and good, but I am a tad confused on its relevance. Perhaps I'm a bit dense =). If you're saying that Japan isn't/shouldn't have special concern with the North American market, then I mad because I part of that market.Lastly, remember that North America is not the sole consumer of English subbed anime. There's a lot of room for growth in places closer to Japan, where the fanbase there is much, much more similar to Japan's than ours. The proximity to Japan definitely helps with stuff like shipping costs. And look go through the guest list for AFA, which is held in Singapore. It blows pretty much every North American con out of the water.
If you look at non-Japan Asian anime markets, you'll find one that's really similar to Japan's, which focuses on goods rather than discs. In fact I'd guess that there's way more of an actual piracy problem (as in counterfeit discs and goods) there than here. Also, dubbing is a lot less prevalent. So everyone still watches fansubs. In fact, the Chinese scanlation ring is way bigger and faster than the English one is.
I'm curious what you think of Funimation having success with this model. Summer Wars and both Eva Rebuild Blurays are under $16 and Eden of the East is less than $25 on Bluray. I'm sure the number of people buying are somewhere between bubble boom and a small group, though I'd guess closer to the latter than the former. According to their reps, though, these titles and others (Hetalia springs to mind) have been really successful this past year. I'm sure they've had a miss or two (and they also have certain premium priced titles), but Funi seems to do alright for itself selling reasonably priced discs.blkmage (post: 1525506) wrote:If we want to continue the cheap disc model, then growth potential can't be small, it has to be huge, otherwise you'll be selling reasonably priced items to a small group of people.
I would actually argue that it was on the verge of happening, but then it was close to killed solely by the release of the show as singles. In 2000-2004, TV on DVD wasn't really that established of a thing, so buying 3-5 episodes for $25 didn't seem as ridiculous as it does now. Madoka Magica is the best selling TV anime, with about 50k per BD, right? Cowboy Bebop, with its original run of singles(before the release of any boxset or the singles with remastered sound), sold approx. 150k, though I am not sure if that's total discs or per singles.blkmage (post: 1525324) wrote:The problem with the idea of the potential large market is that it's never been properly harnessed and no one knows how to do it. That's been the great promise pretty much for the entirety of anime licensing in North America. After a decade or two, it still hasn't happened.
I'd think Netflix is probably the best solution for this, as I would assume it's much easier to come across something there by chance, as opposed to, say, Hulu, where you probably have a set goal in mind. Apparently High School of the Dead and Persona 4 are both bringing in (and keeping) a fair number of people who have a different interest in zombies/vidja games, who then proceed to see other stuff, possibly through Hulu or Netflix.Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing, and Trigun are all great examples, but they were also all on TV. One question is whether licensors are doing anything similar to get their stuff out. The other question is whether there's as easy a way to reach these people, because as a media consumption option, anime has a lot more competition.
TheSubtleDoctor (post: 1525286) wrote:...however, if eventually no domestic distributors are left and no dubs get made and no new stuff gets put on TV, then the potential for the growth of anime fandom is limited...
Indeed. Note that I do point out as much in caveats to my initial worries:Mithrandir (post: 1525892) wrote:I disagree with the implicit assumption that how we used to be exposed to media will dictate how future generations will. There are several million Americans who don't watch TV at all anymore. We are the Cable Cutters and we get our media online and via netflix, etc. In my geographic area, virtually NONE of the college age and younger crowd watched traditional TV. They learn about stuff from their peers, etc. In the same way we get our news via twitter, FB, etc way before the news reports, we'll get tipped off to the coolest new stuff by our peers. It's all about the social now.
Of course so much of fandom exists on the internet, and anime on TV may not be as important in 2012 as it was in 2006,
You're very much correct about the changes you mention; however, I do think my core point about the no-middleman business model raising the barrier of access is a cogent one. Regardless of the platform people consume their media on, I think it is pretty clear that fewer people will consume it if it is not in their native tongue. It is harder to get non-fans or casual fans to read subtitles (re: some won't do it); ergo, fandom has a limiter placed upon it.Of course, as I mentioned, this potential could be much less than it was in the earlier part of the last decade due to evolving media consumption habits.
Yamamaya (post: 1526139) wrote:I'm not sure if Netflix will have the same effect as TV did. With TV, all you could do was record a show. With Netflix, people may not feel the need to buy the DVD for the shows they watch. After all, why would you want to pay for the DVD when you can just rewatch it on Netflix?
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