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ANNCast - The Life and Kime of Geneon, USA


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David.Seth



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 451
Location: near SF
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:55 pm Reply with quote
I will totally admit it... I had Evangelion "window" sitters. Downloaded both Asuka and Rei. Thanks Zac reminding me just how dorky of a anime newbie I was.
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PetrifiedJello



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 3782
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:07 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
Even without fansubs there were plenty of stupid things that killed the industry. Those bear discussion too.

But wouldn't this still be covered under "is there anything left to say"?

As one who consistently keeps spinning the wheels, it's really hard to get people to discuss what they're willing to pay for without someone else coming in and bashing their virtual skulls in with a dead anime cat because they're not buying now.

One area I had really hoped would get discussed more is the licensing problems plaguing this industry. If it requires "$X" to even get the show, compounded with the costs of doing dubs, etc., how in the hell can fans be expected to carry these costs without seeing the industry as "greedy"?

That's the question I've been focusing my attention on a great deal as it's really difficult to sit here and armchair executive decisions without having all the facts to realize why a box set is being offered in two parts at $60 each.

That's $120 for a 26 episode series. Some will argue that's cheap, but if the entire industry is doing this, I can see why fans can't afford to help out the industry until such times their paycheck affords them one series out of the many these distributors want us to buy.

It's extremely stupid, stupid logic and if the industry wants to rebound, I'd be more than happy to partake in conversations with these executives on what I'm willing to buy. I'm sure fans would also love to give their input on how to best support the industry.

But these fans need to realize there will always be people who won't buy, and who will pirate, and nothing's going to stop them. If discussions can't give anything new to talk about, neither can trying to get people to get past this feeling of being shafted while others skate away.

The largest clue was when Chad said price didn't affect the number of volumes sold. How many times have I argued cost and value aren't the same? Yet people still feel they are.

To date, my contributions to anime have been to support TRSI. Not FUNimation. Not Kyoto Animation. Certainly not TBS (who holds the license). The reason is simple: I'm a bargain basement shopper.

If it wasn't for TRSI's bargain bin, there'd be no way in hell I'd have the collection I do now. Mind you, I'm only covering DVDs and leaving out my figure collection for a very good reason.

Anyone here who thinks paying $3 for 3 episodes is helping the industry is, quite frankly, a little naive. Some may argue that $3 is better than nothing, but fail to realize TRSI took a massive hit on expenditure just to push the title out of inventory. Think of what it cost them originally and how these costs must be made up. Certainly isn't going to be from new release DVDs, as their markup is extremely low (unless thousands are pushed monthly).

Chad certainly brought this point up regarding the returns by retailers, thus showing that expectations aren't etched in stone. I cringed at some of the numbers Chad used as a series I thought was awesome turned out to be dismal in sales.

Even you and Zac seemed a bit shocked to hear some of the issues regarding sales, returns, and the bottom line. I especially loved the part where Geneon invested in titles they didn't even freakin' own the rights to distribute! Double ouch.

For all my ranting, whining, and bickering, it was nice to hear some of my speculation was indeed confirmed. I'm sorry, Zac, but my crusade will continue to challenge people to think about the way they're approaching "supporting the industry", especially when it's obviously not through DVD sales.

I walked away from this podcast feeling slightly guilty I'm not spending $500 for a singles DVD release because it'll help pay for anime to get into this country, but instead, wait until TRSI can offer it to me for $14.99.

So who's right or wrong now? That's a question which can never get answered without some walking away feeling smug they're paying the $500 while others are paying $14.99. That's not fair to the anime fan and it sure isn't fair to the parties who created the anime.

While I do believe there is a tad of greed involved in some of these dealings, it's not an intentional greed. It's more like panic as the ship's sinking and no one seems to understand where the hole is in order to plug it. The easiest scapegoat seems to be the very fans who indirectly get blamed for not being able to spend $100+ for every single title released.

It doesn't shock me one bit to see people downloading as an alternative to going bankrupt to support any entertainment industry. They simply can't afford it.

[insert image "Anime: More Expensive Than Drugs" here] but not really do it
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jenthehen



Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 749
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:11 pm Reply with quote
einhorn303 wrote:
Yeah, it is disappointing that Strawberry Marshmallow/Ichigo Mashimaro wasn't mentioned at the end. Or Kamichu.


I agree - Strawberry Marshmallow is a great show ... and I'm planning on buying the thinpack of Kamichu eventually - it looks interesting.
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nightjuan



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 1473
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:15 pm Reply with quote
Well, I'm not going to complain about all the Baccano! love. Wink

It's true that the ending doesn't resolve too much in terms of plot or loose ends, I'm assuming that's where all the remaining novels come in, but still remained fairly emotionally satisfying precisely because it left me asking for more. Your mileage may vary.

The rest of the podcast was very informative and only slightly less depressing. I suppose there was really no way for Geneon to survive that structurally flawed environment without some kind of miracle or lucky investment. I imagine those companies left are only able to do so because of their particular mitigating circumstances and, even then, things might well get worse in the future before they can start getting better.

Speaking of Utena, since Justin has mentioned it, I can only hope that whoever has the power to do so keeps trying regardless of whatever stumbling block is currently in place.

One question though: what was that show you guys mentioned after Paranoia Agent and before Sherlock Hound?
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Case



Joined: 09 Apr 2002
Posts: 1016
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:28 pm Reply with quote
nightjuan wrote:
One question though: what was that show you guys mentioned after Paranoia Agent and before Sherlock Hound?


Mine ears detect:

Quote:
Zac: Uh... Paranoia Agent-
Chad: ...did well.
Zac: I would hope so.
Chad: ...but...
Zac: That's what I like to hear.
Chad: ...never made money.
Zac: Of course not. Um... Sherlock Hound, I forgot you guys released that!
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nightjuan



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 1473
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:30 pm Reply with quote
^Thanks for clearing that up then. Maybe I just misheard.
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Prede



Joined: 17 Sep 2009
Posts: 382
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:31 pm Reply with quote
Justin: Hey I don't know anyone who talks like that in New Jersey Wink.

Zac: The christmas re-releases of ADV titles was last year, not 2 years ago, so that was 2008.

And as for stores like Fry's and the like being a relic of the boom days, it seems like any FYE, Coconuts or other stores like that I go into they are ALL like that. At least where I go, it feels like NO ONE bought any of these titles. I can find a bunch of old ADV or Geneon artboxes + first volume, or a bunch of ancient singles of a show NO ONE bought. Quite interesting to see what sold since the begining part of this decade, and what hasn't. Also I love buying old old old stuff there that's been sitting on the shelves for 5 years or more, as they usually mark it down. One CPM DVD I got had like 3 or 4 markdowns on it, before it was finally on sale for $2.50 . They were giving Patlabor Volume 4 away for under 3 bucks and no one bought it. Well I own it now at least Razz .

Anyway interesting podcast.


Last edited by Prede on Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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asimpson2006



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 3151
Location: USA
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:42 pm Reply with quote
Edit:

I have changed this post after I published it since I didn't think what I wrote was incorrect but I decided to just alter the post altogether. I was sadden to hear that Ikki Tousen didn't do so well since it's like one of my favorite shows and I though fanservice type shows sold well here in the United States.


Last edited by asimpson2006 on Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jsieczka



Joined: 19 Jul 2008
Posts: 150
Location: Rochester, NY
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:49 pm Reply with quote
jgreen wrote:
jsevakis wrote:
TV broadcast was never a big revenue stream for anime, ever. The entire block of programming I got from Geneon as a branded block (which included then-new releases like Ueki, Gankutsuou, Paradise Kiss and quite a few others) was seen more or less for marketing the DVD. I got lots of other anime from pretty much every company but Funi, and I never, ever paid more than $400 per episode.


Huh...interesting. Kind of makes you wonder why Adult Swim seems so hesitant to air anime on weeknights considering making new episodes or Squidbillies of whatever has to cost a lot more than $400.

You have to take in account DVD and mech sales and where that money goes. With outside properties you get commercial revenue and maybe a part of DVD sales. With internally developed shows you get commercial revenue and 100% of DVD sales and a big chuck of mech sales.

As for the podcast it was a great episode. You two are not the only ones that skipped Baccano!, I watched the first two episodes an moved on. I guess I will have to go back and take a look at the show.
I worked as a buyer for a store that carried anime and am now a part owner of a geeks ' r ' us store, we heard "strong" rumors about what was going on but this is the first I heard some of the rumors confirmed. I always love the reaction anime fans have when they learn how small their hobby is, and how low the sales figures really are. I share Chad's pain at the low sales of Master Keaton, I ordered four copies two pre-ordered for customers, one for myself, and the third sat on the shelf for the better part of a year. Sadly how "good" a show is does not transfer to how well it will sell.
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pparker



Joined: 13 Oct 2007
Posts: 1185
Location: Florida
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:18 pm Reply with quote
I keep thinking you've done your best ever show, then you top it.

So much of this has been speculated on the net, lots in these forums. Great to get the truth directly. And then to find out how mind-blowingly worse it was then anyone ever dreamed. I've been on delusional budget treadmills before, but this example is still astounding. Although, withholding such vital information as retail sales prior to huge inventory returns would be grounds for execution in most corporations. Even if some sanity remained, lack of that information would torpedo the planning process.

PetrifiedJello wrote:
where Geneon invested in titles they didn't even freakin' own the rights to distribute!

Just to be precise, he was talking about the budgeting process. They wouldn't have spent any money on unlicensed titles. The problem is the projected licenses are essentially knowing lies told to the Japanese owners, and then financial decisions are based on those untruths. If a Japanese executive sees Fullmetal Alchemist on the budget, he knows it's a winner and thus believes the numbers. He apparently doesn't realize (but a good executive would) that FMA will never actually get licensed by Geneon USA. What looks like a good slate of profitable titles, justifying continued funding of the business and continued employment of current management for another year, is in reality fake.

jsevakis wrote:
Even without fansubs there were plenty of stupid things that killed the industry. Those bear discussion too.

Thank you for this. It would have been so disappointing to have time wasted in this podcast on that issue. From what I've read, I don't think these companies had any hard numbers anyway, so it's still speculation as to the actual effects. It sounds exactly like a Gold Rush, Tulipmania situation that would inevitably lead to the current market results regardless of any external factors, the difference due to fansubs only a matter of degree. With recent shutdowns or removals on major torrent sites, and a bit of (strictly localized) numbers evidence, we may get a decent estimation of the actual effects.

Quote:
DearS, Ikki Tousen...

Maybe now the arguments about "low quality" shows being licensed, in every new licensing thread, can cease. Queen's Blade doesn't sound so silly anymore... but the business-minded here knew that.
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configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 3714
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:28 pm Reply with quote
Just on the topic of pricing in general, I'm actually buying more, and spending more total $$ too, now than I did before. I'm ever so grateful that Funi rescued some of those Geneon titles, otherwise I would have never bought them simply due to huge price difference. I did buy some Geneon titles but only as an exception because they were gotta-have. The many good, but "lower-priority" titles I could not bring myself to pay, most of the time. (I suppose we should be grateful that it was still cheaper than what Japanese consumers pay)

I also don't know if there was any causal relationship, but it's interesting to note the news how in 2007-2008 Funi's sales only dropped 2% (while the rest of the DVD industry in general greatly declined) which coincides with their move to almost entirely boxsets as well as a slue of Viridian releases at the time, many of which I've bought.


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LordRedhand



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 1472
Location: Middle of Nowhere, Indiana
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:28 pm Reply with quote
asimpson2006 wrote:
PetrifiedJello wrote:


One area I had really hoped would get discussed more is the licensing problems plaguing this industry. If it requires "$X" to even get the show, compounded with the costs of doing dubs, etc., how in the hell can fans be expected to carry these costs without seeing the industry as "greedy"?

That's the question I've been focusing my attention on a great deal as it's really difficult to sit here and armchair executive decisions without having all the facts to realize why a box set is being offered in two parts at $60 each.

That's $120 for a 26 episode series. Some will argue that's cheap, but if the entire industry is doing this, I can see why fans can't afford to help out the industry until such times their paycheck affords them one series out of the many these distributors want us to buy.


A majority of businesses are out there to make money. You have to spend money to make money." While yes cost probably could come down to license a and a series could be sold for a cheaper price. However you would probably also look at either A) a drop in quality of overall production or B) Sub only releases.

PetrifiedJello wrote:

It doesn't shock me one bit to see people downloading as an alternative to going bankrupt to support any entertainment industry. They simply can't afford it.


It is not an alternative, it is just they don't have the money at the moment or are just cheap. If someone wants to support an industry and they normally can't afford to do so they will find a way to support it. Zac said it best before "This is an expensive hobby". I am not sure if the hobby was right but This is expensive is true. To support ANY type of hobby of ANY industry is expensive, be it, books, music, video games, etc.


Agreed no part of the anime industry exists to just break-even, they exist to make money, thus business is greedy, something you have to understand PJ, as the industry has been straightforward with it's intentions of it goods and services.

Listen carefully to the podcast again, Kime give those numbers again, one lower than the singles price of $29.99 but the numbers he was gaining didn't change the end of the equation, they were making the same amount of money, so they are using higher prices simply because the demand for anime isn't where you think it is because pretty much the whole entertainment market is stagnate there is no room to grow anymore.

Although I did my part, I got my $200 Paranoia Agent Boxset, and I'm the one who gets called strange and odd by the "ironic" anime fan.
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luffypirate



Joined: 06 Oct 2006
Posts: 3172
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:38 pm Reply with quote
LordRedhand wrote:

Although I did my part, I got my $200 Paranoia Agent Boxset, and I'm the one who gets called strange and odd by the "ironic" anime fan.


I think the word they were looking for was badass Cool
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Prede



Joined: 17 Sep 2009
Posts: 382
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:46 pm Reply with quote
configspace wrote:
Just on the topic of pricing in general, I'm actually buying more, and spending more total $$ too, now than I did before. I'm ever so grateful that Funi rescued some of those Geneon titles, otherwise I would have never bought them simply due to huge price difference. I did buy some Geneon titles but only as an exception because they were gotta-have. The many good, but "lower-priority" titles I could not bring myself to pay, most of the time. (I suppose we should be grateful that it was still cheaper than what Japanese consumers pay)


Same here. I was never fond of Geneon for a few reasons, one major one being their pricing. While ADV, CPM, Funi (these three are the ones I own the most DVD's from), and the others had more rational pricing, I really could have went without the insane pricing on the Geneon stuff. I am spending much more now then I ever did, mostly because I can get more content now for my dollar then before. I was never going to buy a 26 episode series for $200 dollors, but I buy 26 episode series all the time from the other companies. Since everything is cheaper, I am spending even more money now then I used to. Odd I know, but I am happy getting a lot for a lot, then a little for a lot. I only focused on the few Geneon titles that I couldn't pass up back when they were still around. Now that Funi is doing distro for them I've been able to pick up a number of their titles that were "lower-priority" at a fraction of the price, not to mention the bargain basement pricing of their older stuff still hanging around. I'm very happy to finally be able to get these shows. Still it's sad to see them not around anymore. Less companies hanging around is never good in my eyes. I never wished them any harm, even if I wasn't happy with their prices and a few other things.

I understand that it appears I'm not representive of most anime fans, since price really didn't matter to them. But to me it was very important, and it still is.


Last edited by Prede on Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ian K



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 250
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:53 pm Reply with quote
Very interesting show. Huge thanks to Kime for dredging up the painful members, and to ANN for getting this set up.

And welcome to the party on Baccano, better late than never. I actually really liked the "life goes on" ending that they went with, I'm curious what you're reactions will be.
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