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Hey, Answerman! - Mo' Money Mo' Problems


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Sam-I-Am



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 121
Location: Midwest US

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:58 pm Reply with quote
The $400 for a series price sounds steep at first, but I do remember paying $30ish per disc for the original release of FLCL - at two episodes per disc, that's $15/episode. If it had been a full 26 episodes, that works out to $390, so a precedent is there, albeit one from a different era of business models.

The 'commit to buy' idea wouldn't work in terms of deciding to license a title, not just from the complexity of a licensing deal, but from the fact that there is still some competition in making offers for series, and saying in public that you need X commitments at $Y would give other companies an indication of your offer. The idea does have some merit in helping a company decide to do extras or a dub or not, once they have a license confirmed.
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batou37
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Joined: 26 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 8:16 pm Reply with quote
Well of course they wouldn't release how much they had to pay for the license. That would just be internal knowledge. That's just used as a baseline to figure profit margin vs units moved when computing committed units in the stated scenario. This all does depend though on how licenses are sold. Is it "ok this series is $100,000 an episode", or "drop on by the studio and make us an offer and maybe we'll deal"...
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bemused Bohemian
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Joined: 09 Jun 2009
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Location: central Mizzou (Moral Oralville)

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 8:49 pm Reply with quote
I don't know how reliable anime production would fare using a fishing expedition (Garden of Sinners being the exception) to determine buyer popularity. My objection to this type of marketing is the time element involved. I doubt the 6 months' time period proposed is enough time and with today's economy I suspect the yen to dollar ratio regarding ultimate selling price would probably deem many projects as simply too expensive for prospective foreign buyers who reside across the big pond.

I'm not familiar with anime production lead times from inception to dvd release date but my experiences with other overseas items I used to purchase 10-20 years ago (model railroader: HO-gauge brass steam engines made in either Japan or So. Korea) using this technique made me feel, 70% of the time, as though I was falling victim to schemers or scammers. The norm of year-long lead times would turn into short life spans. Worst case I endured: Original product A promised at $250 USD released 7 years later modeled after a Rebuilt different product and offered for $600. I had placed a deposit of $150 in good faith on promise release date was 9 months out. Whatever the anomalies that plaqued production were months became year, then years. Deposit was non-refundable. My cost was the latter price and not the former....if I still wanted it.

If the buyer is dedicated and young possibly lead times are not an issue; the older you become, however (and I am an old dude, not 16), it almost becomes a life or death issue when product release postponements become the norm rather than an exception.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 1445

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 8:53 pm Reply with quote
batou37 wrote:
It seems I'm reading a disconnect between the first question and the answer. It looks like to me that the question was more putting forward a situation where funimation knows that the license for a new series will cost them $60,000 an episode....So Funi puts up on their website that they are considering licensing it, depending on how many customers commit to buy it. ...This whole time they still have not licensed it, are not selling the DVDs, but merely selling futures. ... So am I missing something?

[quote cut for length]
I don't think so, or else we both are. What you said was more or less how I was seeing the proposal, except I don't know if a company could know what a license would cost beforehand, unless they were already in negotiations. I think their risk would essentially be only in deciding where to set the commitment price, but their industry experience would go a long way to inform that decision.

I can see a number of obstacles to making this work, but it really does seem like an idea that the anime licensors should look into to see if they can make it work for them.
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SaharaFrost



Joined: 13 Jul 2009
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 9:20 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
batou37 wrote:
It seems I'm reading a disconnect between the first question and the answer. It looks like to me that the question was more putting forward a situation where funimation knows that the license for a new series will cost them $60,000 an episode....So Funi puts up on their website that they are considering licensing it, depending on how many customers commit to buy it. ...This whole time they still have not licensed it, are not selling the DVDs, but merely selling futures. ... So am I missing something?

[quote cut for length]
I don't think so, or else we both are. What you said was more or less how I was seeing the proposal, except I don't know if a company could know what a license would cost beforehand, unless they were already in negotiations. I think their risk would essentially be only in deciding where to set the commitment price, but their industry experience would go a long way to inform that decision.

I can see a number of obstacles to making this work, but it really does seem like an idea that the anime licensors should look into to see if they can make it work for them.


You both hit it on the dime...there was a bit of a disconnect. (No offense to you, Answerman...I really do appreciate you answering my question.) But yes...I think the situation I proposed was a little bit different than the one to which the answer he gave would actually fit.

But yes, I do realize there would be lots of issues with this. And as has been stated, the competition for licensing a title can be fierce. I suppose I was thinking this might be more feasible with older titles...the ones that, with each passing year, have a higher chance of being forgotten and, thus, a lower chance of being licensed.

One thing that would be really interesting to look into is the criteria that American companies look for when trying to decide whether or not to license a title. That might actually shed a lot more light on the matter.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 9:30 pm Reply with quote
Answerman wrote, "Once the title is licensed, they're stuck with it until their contract expires. So at that point, even if they didn't get enough pre-orders, they might as well release something if they have the license to it."

That seems like a no-brainer to me too, and yet one well-known anime company which shall remain nameless has not only licensed, but entirely dubbed more than half a dozen series which they have then abandoned midstream without a complete release on dvd.

How can it cost them less to kill a title in which they have already invested significant money, than to press a small production run to satisfy the fans who want a given series, recoup some of their investment, and, no small consideration, to show the rest of the anime buying public that it's not a risk to buy the first volumes of this licenser's series that aren't about teen ninjas or soul reapers? How much more can it cost just to release a title once the dubbing and editing are already done??
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ralphmerridew



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 9:36 pm Reply with quote
Maybe the right question would be "Would the Japanese companies be willing to work with a system like that (small price to option a series)?"

Animeigo had a preorder system to choose which series they'd license (You're Under Arrest TV, Yu Yu Hakusho, Fancy Lala, Yawara).

Right Stuf did a preorder for about doing DVDs for Irresponsible Captain Tylor.
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kakoishii



Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 641

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 12:48 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Answerman wrote, "Once the title is licensed, they're stuck with it until their contract expires. So at that point, even if they didn't get enough pre-orders, they might as well release something if they have the license to it."

That seems like a no-brainer to me too, and yet one well-known anime company which shall remain nameless has not only licensed, but entirely dubbed more than half a dozen series which they have then abandoned midstream without a complete release on dvd.

How can it cost them less to kill a title in which they have already invested significant money, than to press a small production run to satisfy the fans who want a given series, recoup some of their investment, and, no small consideration, to show the rest of the anime buying public that it's not a risk to buy the first volumes of this licenser's series that aren't about teen ninjas or soul reapers? How much more can it cost just to release a title once the dubbing and editing are already done??

me thinks you're talking about viz Wink
also that you're probably still waiting on the rest of full moon. I don't think that one will ever come back. You have to wonder why though, viz just didn't just release the rest of the series sub only if they knew it wasn't turning the profit they wanted. Somehow I don't see it making sense that they didn't license the entire series and it isn't as if it was several hundred episodes or it least longer than 52 episodes like when funi dropped case closed and kodocha. But then again viz's business practices have always perplexed me. They can bang out something decent like inuyasha and then turn around and pull out something shitty like Blue Dragon.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 1:45 am Reply with quote
Viz? Never heard of 'em. Rolling Eyes

Actually it's Monster I'll die of old age waiting for (and Hikaru no Go).

That's why I was asking how much more could it possibly cost at this point to release the dvds? The blank disks don't cost much of anything, probably less than 25 cents each for the cases, the artwork is essentially done, cardboard boxes can't be that expensive...how much can the pressing and labor costs be? If distribution is a problem, they can sell them on their own site.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 10227

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 3:43 am Reply with quote
What the user is calling "Commit to Pay" system, my friends and I have actually been discussing over the years, but not just for anime and not for acquisitions, rather for any original production. Because an original production gives you a better idea how much it would cost (or should cost - if you're running out of money by the end, you could always do an Evangelion Laughing ). If the investment goal is not reached, everybody gets their money back; otherwise, the production goes ahead. Anybody could invest as much money they want and as often as they want (so more ardent fans could put in more and more), while the guaranteed money goes on escrow till the deadline. And since everything is already paid for upfront, the studio already got your money and thus wouldn't care if it's pirated afterwards.

The rewards system for the investors work kinda like PBS rewards: there's a minimum donation (say, $100) to get a disc copy; higher donations get more extras; but even if some donators don't reach the minimum donation cut-off to get the disc copy, every investor gets their name credited (like RightStuf did with Emma) and paid a dividend (if there's ever a profit) in proportion to how much they invested. That way, there's incentive for the investors not to pirate their own disc copy and to discourage their peers from pirating their copies - because they stand to monetarily benefit (and what better incentive than money). Simple fact is that fans are more mindful about the economic health of a project when they're invested in it.

So like we said, it's for any project, not just anime. You want that favorite manga animated? Encourage enough people to invest in the project! Yes, it's an expensive investment for fans, but the best reward for it even more than the monetary benefit is that the anime gets made. What better reward than that?! Laughing

**********************************************

Anyways, on another note, there aren't as many male mangaka of shoujo because shoujo magazines just don't usually hire male mangaka. That's it. Confused

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And more fans should really pay attention to Cartoon Brew. Laughing

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As for Sailor Moon, as Sahara Frost says, "Thus if Sailor Moon is going to do more than just be revived, this shows needs to undergo a serious transformation... the entire series needs to be completely reworked for its audience:" re-animate Sailor Moon in loli-moe style. Simple yet genius! Laughing


But let's face it, Sailor Moon came during the avant-garde wave of grrrrrrrrl power in the 90's, before the Spice Girls, before the Titanic, way before Twilight and Beiber, before girls were taken seriously as a powerful economic oil well. Now all's that changed; grrrrrrl power is alive and well. They don't need Sailor Moon anymore.

But BTW, some of the silly plot devices are gold, like the pure heart gems. It shows how much of a nutball Minako really is! Laughing
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DuelLadyS



Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 1705
Location: WA state

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 11:50 am Reply with quote
Firstly- thanks to Brian and Lapin Noir for the links to the classic anime collections. I lost those years ago, now I can finally get those sets on the ol' to-buy list. Very Happy

Secondly- if you're after the old and obscure stuff, always keep your eyes open. It can turn up in weird places. I actually have a copy of the Tale of the White Serpent (in its US 'Panda and the Magic Serpent' edit) I found in the dollar DVD bin at Wal-Mart. Actually, I've got about a dozen or so random anime pulled from dollar DVD bins. If you're not already, you should be reading Mike Toole's column here on ANN... you'll be hard pressed to find someone more knowledgeable about the 'old school' side of things. At least, you'll know what's out there that's worth finding.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 408

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 1:41 pm Reply with quote
I don't think the 'dated' aspect will affect any "Sailor Moon" comeback - the show was already dated when it first aired in the US in 1994.

I remember watching the first run of the series in the US in 1994 and wondering who, in their right mind, would give Usagi a green knit vest and a purple jacket to wear.





See? Really bad.

But, fashion sense aside, I still loved the show. At the time in the US, it was the first show, in years that featured several female heroines. And despite the "lather-rinse-repeat" formulaic episodes, there was a solid, complex plot that many older fans appreciated. And, a lot of girls liked the fact that, minus the transformations/attacks, the characters were believable and faced problems similar to those in their own lives.

Seeing how the target audience would once again be young girls, I don't think the animation aspect would be a problem. Nor do I think that most five year olds would roll their eyes and wonder why Usagi didn't use her iPhone to look up the bus schedule so that she wouldn't be late for school. There are many cartoons that are dated now - movies like "Dumbo" and many "Looney Tunes" cartoons all fit into that category. But put one of these 'old' shows on in front of a small child and watch them be mesmerized by it. Kids aren't as picky as us adults.
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Yorozuya



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 332

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 2:24 pm Reply with quote
I'm kind of surprised that guys supposedly like Hana yori dango but then I'm not a guy, so what do I know?

It would be interesting to find out about how many male shojo mangaka there are actually around today.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1110
Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 6:04 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
That seems like a no-brainer to me too, and yet one well-known anime company which shall remain nameless has not only licensed, but entirely dubbed more than half a dozen series which they have then abandoned midstream without a complete release on dvd.


I've posted this before, but I don't understand why Viz can't do a limited edition run of Hikaru no Go, Monster, and Full Moon. Viz has always been upfront about the fact that they place a priority on their manga, but it seems like they could make some money or at least recoup some of their losses with a pre-order, limited edition (no frills needed) print run of the series.
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Oneeyedjacks



Joined: 21 Dec 2009
Posts: 230

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 6:51 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Garden of Sinners says hello! Aniplex knew that property wasn't going to sell in droves, but they knew it had an adoring fanbase


I'm not sure whether you noticed this or not Brian, but nothing sells in droves anymore. Unless it got Dragon Ball Z or Evangelion somewhere in its title, it ain't gonna be big.

I don't necessarily think Garden of Sinners has low sales potential in the US. Frankly, I think its got more potential then 80% of anime being released here, and Aniplex is a bunch of idiots for not caring to do an actual DVD release for it.

They admit they don't want to release it at "lol Hollywood prices". It seems to me the whole situation is about money and prices.


Last edited by Oneeyedjacks on Sat May 07, 2011 6:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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