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NEWS: TV Tokyo's Iwata Discusses Anime's 'Road to Survival'


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Big Hed



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 1607
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:52 am Reply with quote
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The DVD marketplace also became more difficult as some titles sold less than 400 copies nationwide.


Wow, I wonder what particular titles sold such small numbers? Shocked

With regards to the rest of the article, I think that Iwata is right when he says that the market may start to shrink over the next couple years, but not because it has reached saturation. Rather, the corrosive of effect illegal anime distribution channels (discounting their potential merits if legitimized) on international revenues over the past few years has really put a brake on the ability of legal channels to make substantial profit -- or break even, for that matter -- thus limiting anime's exposure to mainstream TV audiences, since the money required to secure valuable time slots just isn't coming in, and the internet hasn't been utilized well enough. The recent onset of global recession has, of course, been the last straw for the anime market, and is what will primarily be responsible for any contraction, I think.

Having said that, I don't understand why Iwata thinks reverting to a purely domestic market is going to solve the market's problems. A given studio's costs don't change all that much if their product is licensed overseas, in so far as I understand, at least; therefore, retreating from important international markets would only reduce revenues, and thus weaken the studios in the long run.

[/armchairquarterback]
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 8783

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:09 am Reply with quote
It's great that they're finally starting to expand their horizons on where they put their material, but a lot of us just don't want to support streaming, especially places like Crunchyroll. We'll still holding out for when we can get more shows simulcast on tv channels that more than 300 people have. And yes, over saturation of the market is a huge problem. I watch a lot of fansubs, and even given that it's free and convenient, there's still too much anime being produced every season than one can care for. Now imagine when the time comes to buy DVDs, only a few are going to be considered.

We're better off with anime taking a hurt in my opinion. But it's tough to say, because we can hope they'll stop making trash like Akikan and focus on producing shows worth buying but you still have the problem of the okaku preferring that crap. But if time before the west came into the factor speaks anything, there were tons of great shows before AKIRA broke through, but maybe that time is completely dead thanks to moe, never to return.
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asgiov



Joined: 09 Dec 2008
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:19 am Reply with quote
This is a good thing, IMO.
Companies are finally seeing that the DVD distribution model for so much anime just doesn't work. There's been too much over-saturation of content.

It's been quite nice to see soo many titles available to buy at Best Buy and Frys, but with so many titles, it's hard to tell what's good. For the most part, I'm not even willing to pay the asking price for 90% of the titles available on DVD. If it's an anime I REALLY like and plan to watch again and again, then I'm willing to fork over $50+ for a box set or $20 for a DVD with 4 or 5 episodes. That's still asking A LOT for this type of media.

I can go to RedBox at the grocery store and rent brand new movies for only $1 each, even on Blu-RAY! An episode of 30 Rock on iTunes is only $1.99 to buy and $2.99 for the HD version. Then there is Netflix, which lets you rent as much as you want for less than $20 a month, including unlimited streaming to my xbox.

I never understood why I would have to pay such a high premium for anime, compared to all the local content, especially when a lot of the local content is better and more entertaining than 90% of the anime I watch.

Companies can save a LOT of money by using distribution services like Crunchyroll and even this website, Anime News Network. They gain ad revenue and cut huge costs in having to manufacture discs. They can also save a lot more money by not dubbing every single title they distribute to the US.

Crunchyroll is a spectacular star and I honestly hope it succeeds. Hopefully it can grow exponentially in the coming years and we'll see similar competing services emerge.
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asgiov



Joined: 09 Dec 2008
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:30 am Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
, but maybe that time is completely dead thanks to moe, never to return.


I don't think it's right to be pointing fingers to any ONE particular genre. Akira helped break anime into niche sci-fi geeks radars, but it's not the type of thing EVERYONE likes. I couldn't care less for Akira.

I agree to an extent, that studios should focus more on high quality titles, but when that happens, then we end up something similar to the movie and game industry. Companies start becoming less willing to take chances on original content.

I believe that there's still room for the much more niche genres, I don't want to alienate anyone. That type of content is usually cheaply produced and should be cheaply sold. I'd say just stream it for free with ad-support in most cases. Maybe offer the shows for 80 or 90 cents an episode.
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Big Hed



Joined: 04 May 2006
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:41 am Reply with quote
asgiov wrote:

Crunchyroll is a spectacular star and I honestly hope it succeeds. Hopefully it can grow exponentially in the coming years and we'll see similar competing services emerge.


I would like to see competing services emerge as well, but only if their retail solutions involve 480p (preferably higher) DDL and torrent services. My disinterest in streaming services will continue, especially since I spend the better part of my year in The Land Where Internet Goes To Die.
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Majin Tenshi



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 356

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:02 am Reply with quote
The Japanese needs to think outside the box and take matters into their own hands by including English sub on their releases more frequent . Just like BV is doing for some of their releases, instead of pushing the blame on international markets for not wanting to buy their releases.

I am sure that there are lots of fans outside Japan who would love to buy the Japaneses released (DVDs/BDs) for their shows (especially if they're not licensed), but are relucant to do so mostly due to the lack of sub. Of course, with more sales and market expansion the prices will be pushed down gradually.
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:11 am Reply with quote
I was under the impression that mostly all Japanese anime was produced for the Japanese market first and formost, so I don't understand what he means by "going back to". When did it stop?
Also we have to keep in mind the yes Akira was the excepted "gateway" into Japanese anime. But what was Astro Boy, or StarBlazers, or Speed Racer? For everyone of those out in the world, there still were plenty of dross available in Japan that thankfully were never allowed on the beach, let alone overseas. This just highlights that the broadcasters, and studios did most of this damage to themselves by working in denial that the internet was causing such damage to their sinking markets, and therefore reacting much too late to do anything about it, when the water finally started seeping under their door. But they can't say they weren't warned and didn't realise.
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marek1712



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 61
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:16 am Reply with quote
There's one more cause: falling quality and repetitiveness. As shown on the Sankaku blog even Japanese fans don't want to watch the same time and time again.
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bayoab



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 831

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:20 am Reply with quote
asgiov wrote:

I never understood why I would have to pay such a high premium for anime, compared to all the local content, especially when a lot of the local content is better and more entertaining than 90% of the anime I watch.

Here's a very simplified explanation:
How a normal TV show works:
NBC pays to produce a series.
NBC gets most of that money back in ad revenue and other media.
NBC gets the profit on DVD sales.

How anime works:
Licensing company pays money (Say $100k per disc) for license to show and now has to recoup most of their costs through (say a few thousand) DVD sales.

Quote:
They gain ad revenue and cut huge costs in having to manufacture discs.
Ad revenue is in the pennies per view. The costs of manufacturing a disc is one of the most trivial figures in the cost of a DVD.

Quote:
They can also save a lot more money by not dubbing every single title they distribute to the US.
This is where the other bulk of the money is. However, if you look at places where people buy DVDs, a large number of them refuse to buy anything that lacks a dub.
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crilix



Joined: 16 Nov 2005
Posts: 208

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:28 am Reply with quote
marek1712 wrote:
There's one more cause: falling quality and repetitiveness. As shown on the Sankaku blog even Japanese fans don't want to watch the same time and time again.
If I'm thinking what you're thinking, maybe they make more of the same because Japanese customers, oh goly, buy the DVDs, and the industry makes more. Such a mind-boggling concept! o.o!
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dormcat
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 9670
Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:41 am Reply with quote
Big Hed wrote:
Quote:
The DVD marketplace also became more difficult as some titles sold less than 400 copies nationwide.

Wow, I wonder what particular titles sold such small numbers? Shocked

Quite a few, I'd say. As far as I know, in Taiwan (which has 1/5 population of Japan) only Ghibli titles can sell over a thousand copies. The ONLY non-Ghibli anime movie that has broken the bottleneck is Ah! My Goddess: The Movie. Sales of anime itself (not including byproducts) are always tough.
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doctordoom85



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 1713

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:30 am Reply with quote
Mohawk52 wrote:
I was under the impression that mostly all Japanese anime was produced for the Japanese market first and formost, so I don't understand what he means by "going back to". When did it stop?


I agree. Aside from occasional ones like Afro Samurai and Cowboy Bebop, what animes are more catered to us than Japan? Seriously, as long as there's a decent variety in genre, I'll be happy. But if we suddenly start seeing anime in only one or two genres being released from now on, and I have a strong suspicion of what those might be, I'll be pretty sad. I'd like to think Japan has diverse tastes too.........right? Sad
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Zirdante



Joined: 16 Feb 2008
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:09 am Reply with quote
Well they arent even trying in Europe. Seems that making R2 DVD's is so expensive, its not really worth it. And anime in general, is a joke in Finland. All I can find are first episodes of Sailor Moon, Love Hina and a 12 first episodes of naruto in a box set.

Try harder to give us quality shows and a bit faster than 5 years from airing before whining about not selling anything over here.
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Unit 03.5-ish



Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 1540
Location: This space for rent

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:27 am Reply with quote
Here's a thought that cropped up in my mind when he said targeting it to Japanese -- what if that means they won't bring some anime over here in the future in order to cut costs from licensing, which would suck in the long run.

I've fired rounds at the Japanese distribution model before, as y'all know. I can't believe it took them THIS long to realize their model of charging close to a hundred quid for 50 minutes without extras just MAY be straining some people's wallets. Just a little.

At this point, in regards to fansubs, I think the damage is almost irreversible. Unless the Crunchyroll initiative of streaming subbed anime days after its Japanese airing really picks up, there's not much they can do to fight the distribution of fansubs, and even then, they can't viably pursue legal action against ALL those groups. Said groups know this and will continue to sub anime -- I bet there are people who would STILL rather watch the fansubbed versions of Naruto's new episodes even though it's free on CR. Some people are idiots.

And heh, it always goes back to Evangelion, dunnit? Whether anyone wants admit or deny it, that was THE breakthrough anime of the last decade. It's something of a testament to what it did that more than ten years later, a Japanese TV exec still acknowledges how important its impact on the industry was.

But what if there were another anime to do what Eva did -- to reach across cultural boundaries and defy the conventions of its genre in such a way that people paid attention to it? Will there ever be another "Eva"? I think that's one thing that could help the industry get out of its rut...but that's just me.
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melonbread



Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Posts: 317
Location: UK (London)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:07 pm Reply with quote
The only thing these Japanese companies have to blame is themselves.

They've missed or taken too long to take advantage of all the opportunities over the years and that's why the industry is like it is.

In a recession people turn to media, so that's not the issue here either.
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