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The cost of DVD license for North America (per episode)?

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Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 28
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:06 am Reply with quote
Assume that it is a typical anime (average in popularity).

What is your best guesstimate?

$10,000 per episode for North American DVD rights?
$20,000 per episode?
$25,000 per episode?
$30,000 per episode?

I tried google for the answer but no luck.

Keep in mind that the anime DVD market is doing horribly right now which tend to decrease the cost of license.
Even the Cartoon Network in America withdrew Japanese animation almost across-the-board during prime time. Cartoon Network
restored some anime on the Adult Swim programming block for otaku 14 years old or older, but reportedly no longer anticipates another hit on the level of Pokémon or Naruto. The DVD marketplace also became more difficult as some titles sold less than 400 copies nationwide.

Some anime DVD sold less than 400 copies nationwide. They probably didn't even break-even considering the cost of dubbing, distribution, manufacturing of the disk etc...

How many DVDs does a typical/average in popularity anime sold these days in 1 year in North America?
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Joined: 17 Dec 2008
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:27 am Reply with quote
While I really don't know anything about the workings of licensing anime and stuff like that, I can say that I find it very unlikely that they would be paying such a large sum per episode. If each episode cost 30 thousand dollars, and they released the series in singles (the most profitable for the company, if people buy them), it'd cost 120 thousand dollars (or more, depending on the number of episodes, going by 4 here) to get enough episodes for a single disc. At an average of 30 dollars per single, they'd have to sell at least 4000, just to break even.

That aside, people don't like to buy singles anymore really, and a lot wait until at least half season box sets come out, which are even less profitable to companies (Although a higher profit is likely from the sets, as people are more compelled to buy them).

I'd imagine that companies pay their Japanese counterparts an amount for the rights to a series as a whole, rather than an episode, and then they pay royalties or something to the companies depending on how much profit they take in.

That's how I'd think things went anyways, but I think that this would probably be a good Hey, Answerman! question.
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Joined: 07 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:41 am Reply with quote
As less and less DVDs are sold, anime company will get less for a DVD license. Assume it costs $10,000 to license an episode of a typical/average popularity anime these days. 13 episodes = $130,000 in revenue.

It's not surprise that some anime studios are granting streaming license to companies like crunchyroll. In return, they get about 70% of the ad and subscription revenue [hulu pays its content providers about 70% of the ad revenue and it keeps 30%]

If crunchyroll has a line-up like this in simulcast, its subscription based would increase from the current ~20,000 subscribers paying about $6/month to maybe ~50,000 paying subscribers. My guess about the 30,000 uptake in subscribers. And yes, crunchyroll right now has about 20,000 subscribers paying about $6-7 a month.

Hypothetical Simulcast line-up for spring 2009

Full Metal Alchemist
Ristorante Paradiso
Hayate no Gotuku 2
Natsu no Arashi
Chi's Sweet Home
Naruto Shippuden
One Piece
Shugo Chara
Time of Eve
Kaasan. Mom's Life
Kurokami The Animation

Cross Game
Eden of the East
Sengoku Basara
Tears to Tiara
Asura Cryin'
Hatsukoi Limited

In bold = new and on-going anime that are currently simulcast/streaming legally.

What does all this mean? In the past, Japanese anime studios generally turn a blind eye to fansubs because they make very good money off DVD license. To them, fansub was just a cost of doing business. Now that the DVD market has tanked and their revenue from oversea DVD license plummeted, they are looking for new revenue opportunity. That's why you see many anime studios climbing on board with legal streaming. In fact, it has been only 6 months since the 'start' of legal anime stream and yet many have already signed up.

When was the official start date of legal anime stream/simulcast? I would put it as January 2009 when Crunchyroll went legit.

p.s. Legal streaming/simulcast will compete against fansubs. It will not replaced it. It's like hulu competing against illegal torrent tv shows or Itunes/Amazon competing against illegal music downloads.
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
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Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:03 am Reply with quote
American companies which import anime are notoriously tight-lipped about license costs, so any answer you hear on that from anyone other than a company rep is pure speculation - and good luck getting them to say anything about it.

I'm hesitant to acknowledge set-ups like Crunchyroll as a solution and have trouble believing that they would increase their subscription level by 2.5x just by offering a significantly expanded streaming video roster of current-in-Japan titles. In fact, I would be very curious to know if Crunchyroll is, in fact, actually making any money, especially after reading recent news stories about how much money YouTube seems to be costing Google.

And Brazzlefraz: People are still buying singles, but I will agree that this is on a downward trend, in large part due to fewer releases being put out as singles.
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Joined: 17 Dec 2008
Posts: 163
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:07 pm Reply with quote
I didn't mean that no one was buying them anymore when I said that, I said they didn't like to, not that they didn't at all. I just meant that from what I've read on the forums that people are mainly either buying the half/box sets, Right Stuf! bargain bin singles, or waiting for the box set for something to come out. There are still people buying singles, there's no doubt about that.

Sorry for not being more clear in my original post, I was pretty tired when I posted that but I couldn't fall asleep.
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