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Answerman - Why Aren't Anime/Manga Sales Numbers Public?




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Rederoin



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:52 pm Reply with quote
Just want to point that not all Japanese anime sales are also public, Oricon does not report all sales. In the rare cases the company behind it reveals the full numbers of a show we have seen that Oricon only reported 33%(i.e Sakurak Trick) to 60%~ of the total amount that got shipped.
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Somewhere



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:23 pm Reply with quote
Although, manga publishers boasting print numbers for a given volume isn't too rare; particularly with a certain few flagship magazines. Usually they do so in that 'This series is hot! There are X number of copies; go get one for yourself!' manner.
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Hameyadea



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:48 pm Reply with quote
^

That's a known marketing ploy used pretty much everywhere. The companies' "boast" of "It's playing off the shelf!" "It sells like hot cakes!" "The latest sensation to hit the stores is here!" is, as described in the article, shipment figures. Granted, often times those figures are based upon the previous sale figures and pre-purchase demand, but it still isn't an accurate, per-consumer data.
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Somewhere



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:55 pm Reply with quote
Oh, absolutely, they're far from the best gauge of actual sales. But they do provide a look at how the publishers are responding to what's happening. It's not precise at all, but over time you can see 'the publisher thinks this series is getting hotter/colder'. And they can be fun to look over, if you can find a source that organizes the numbers in an easily consumed manner. Not so useful if you want concrete data, but not shabby at all if you want to look at the general 'storylines' of the market over time.
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Paulo27



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:11 pm Reply with quote
It's actually kinda amusing to think that series which did poorly end up asking for a lot of money to reveal their sales, put a price on their embarrassment lol.
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:52 pm Reply with quote
Oh yes, I've long known about the numbers being withheld because they could be used be their competitors. That's good for consumers like us, really--if said competition is so friendly with each other that they will publicize things like sales numbers, then it either means that the industry is in such a bad shape that companies have banded together to avoid a collapse or a collusion or cartel has formed in that industry. Did not know that Oricon sold them to anyone who wanted to buy the information though. I suppose they have to get their money from somewhere.

There are some cases of companies releasing their sales numbers, however, when they leave a business. (A lot of arcade game manufacturers in the United States did so when they went out of business or moved to other fields like console gaming or gambling machines.) I can see the rationale there: If they exit a business and have no plans on returning, there's nothing to lose from revealing them.

Hameyadea wrote:
That's a known marketing ploy used pretty much everywhere. The companies' "boast" of "It's playing off the shelf!" "It sells like hot cakes!" "The latest sensation to hit the stores is here!" is, as described in the article, shipment figures. Granted, often times those figures are based upon the previous sale figures and pre-purchase demand, but it still isn't an accurate, per-consumer data.


Doesn't have to be the latest sensation either. Toei and Shueisha are both very proud of One Piece, and in addition to Oricon's numbers, they'll sometimes tell you how many copies have shipped or their TV ratings or whatnot.
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Dian Z



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:01 pm Reply with quote
I feel the need of some explanation to confirm my understanding of these seemingly contradictory statements...?

Quote:
And even if the publisher did want to release those numbers, they often don't know exactly how many copies sold, because they mostly sell them wholesale.


and

Quote:
Their complete historical charts are available only to companies -- including the publishers themselves -- who pay them several thousand dollars every month to access their database.


Embarassed
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Barbobot



Joined: 06 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:10 pm Reply with quote
Dian Z wrote:
I feel the need of some explanation to confirm my understanding of these seemingly contradictory statements...?

Quote:
And even if the publisher did want to release those numbers, they often don't know exactly how many copies sold, because they mostly sell them wholesale.


and

Quote:
Their complete historical charts are available only to companies -- including the publishers themselves -- who pay them several thousand dollars every month to access their database.


Embarassed


The publishers don't really know how many are sold at retailers by themselves. They have to go through a 3rd party to get that information, and while that 3rd party (Oricon, Nielsen, etc) publicly posts the top sellers, the entire database of sales information is only available to companies who pay the 3rd party for access to that information.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:00 pm Reply with quote
@Dian Z

Also as Justin noted, the third parties who report this information do not track all sales. They get information from major retailers who are willing to cooperate with them. Smaller retailers are not tracked. This means that the reports are more relative than absolute. This especially causes problems with US manga sales.

Most retailers, with the exception of comic shops, have the right to return unsold copies within a certain time limit. This is why the failure of major retailers such as Suncoast and Borders had such a negative impact on the industry.
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Hiroki not Takuya



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:46 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
Oh yes, I've long known about the numbers being withheld because they could be used be their competitors... Did not know that Oricon sold them to anyone who wanted to buy the information though. I suppose they have to get their money from somewhere...
Actually, I thought a version of this question had been asked some time ago, and even if not, a little common sense or research and thought would provide the answer. Even publicly traded companies don't disclose their sales details. Does this question mean perhaps that the column is getting so few questions that this one gets answered?
As for data collating and tracking service companies, it shouldn't be surprising they sell the data as you note. Everything in sales and marketing is about money even if the path it takes to the vendor isn't obvious.
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DuelGundam2099



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:53 pm Reply with quote
I guess that explains why Bandai doesn't release gunpla sales, that's why we have our Japanese posters on /m/ post full/empty shelves of merchandise to see how well they are doing. Laughing I wonder how much this article would apply to TV ratings.
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NeoStrayCat



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:12 am Reply with quote
DuelGundam2099 wrote:
I wonder how much this article would apply to TV ratings.

The same could have been said for JP niche game titles too, that as well, don't even mention sales numbers as well for the localization companies.
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:18 am Reply with quote
Hiroki not Takuya wrote:
Actually, I thought a version of this question had been asked some time ago, and even if not, a little common sense or research and thought would provide the answer. Even publicly traded companies don't disclose their sales details. Does this question mean perhaps that the column is getting so few questions that this one gets answered?


I don't think this sort of approach is obvious to everyone. (I mean no offense with this whatsoever, as I believe every piece of information is obvious to at least one person but nothing is obvious to everyone.) In this case, there ARE some industries whose sales numbers or money made is publicly available, the most visible case being the box office returns for movies in the United States, which is public down to the dollar and updated weekly. There are also sites like VGChartz, which is actually educated guessing but is frequently mistaken for exact sales numbers for video and computer games.

Combined with companies like Oricon and Nielsen showing the tops of their lists to the general public, this can easily give the impression that it must be safe to reveal your sales numbers and viewership to the world and thus it becomes questionable why not every company does it.
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jsieczkar



Joined: 11 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:19 pm Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
@Dian Z

Also as Justin noted, the third parties who report this information do not track all sales. They get information from major retailers who are willing to cooperate with them. Smaller retailers are not tracked. This means that the reports are more relative than absolute. This especially causes problems with US manga sales.

Most retailers, with the exception of comic shops, have the right to return unsold copies within a certain time limit. This is why the failure of major retailers such as Suncoast and Borders had such a negative impact on the industry.


Even with out the several retailers going out of business the units shipped versus units sold were awful during the boom period. A employee of a distributor who I know said that in one case returns nearly equaled units shipped for a title.
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Kadmos1



Joined: 08 May 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:26 am Reply with quote
A NSFW Blogspot site called "21st anime" has a February '07 entry called "History of Anime ,Part 7". It cites John Oppliger (of AnimeNation fame) mentioning "all three Inuyasha movies combined have sold just over 1 million copies [here] in the past year and a half."
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