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INTEREST: Anime Insiders Share How Much Producing a Season Costs


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Brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 1023
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:07 pm Reply with quote
The pilot for Lost was something like $11.5m, so yeah 2 mill doesn't sound that crazy at all. I'm kind of surprised there isn't much toy tie in anime anymore, that would seem to be the way to go in terms of money.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:08 pm Reply with quote
It's been several years since I first saw this chart. I'm not sure how reliable the data is or where it comes from (I see at least some of the numbers are on the shows' ANN pages, and I think I remember finding some discussion on a Japanese message board), but it's still interesting.

Taking the expense of production, and adding in this commentary that's been making the Twitter rounds and the VHS-rental-driven precedents for prices, and it's clear that this industry we love has deep problems, with roots that go back half a century. And I don't know what the solution is, unless it starts being able to sell to much bigger markets.
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Lostlorn Forest



Joined: 03 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:09 pm Reply with quote
I've always wondered this, great article.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:12 pm Reply with quote
Well, that strongly reaffirms the estimate of $100-200k per episode for the vast majority of anime.
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Kadmos1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:13 pm Reply with quote
Brand wrote:
The pilot for Lost was something like $11.5m, so yeah 2 mill doesn't sound that crazy at all. I'm kind of surprised there isn't much toy tie in anime anymore, that would seem to be the way to go in terms of money.


I guess, for whatever reasons, the toy tie-ins just don't sell as well. It'd be nice if we could continually have the success of the 80s Transformers toys because that could help.

Also, that is a lot for the Japanese when you consider the exchange rate. This is a case where it would be nice for American companies to step by helping invest these series more often. By American companies, I mean one that already are doing OK financially (including their employees) and wouldn't mind gambling at such an investment.
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angelmcazares



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:22 pm Reply with quote
A while back Justin Sevakis mentioned that 2 millions US dollars was the typical cost to make a one-cour anime series. When I saw this article I wondered a bit if the cost had significantly increased since then.

Anime making looks like a money-losing proposition. But since we see like 40 new shows every season, I want to think that the hits are paying the bills.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:22 pm Reply with quote
Oh please, most anime is made to boost the sales of manga, light novels or merchandise, so they function as advertisements. No producer worth their salt actually expects a show to be profitable in its own right, although it's always nice when one does.

Let's consider the case of a twelve-episode series that cost US$1.8m to make, that was sold in six two-episode volumes, and had average sales of six thousand units per volume. That means each disk has to have a profit margin after printing, television advertisements, booklets et cetera of US$50, just for the show to break even. It sounds crazy - and it is - but that's the way the industry works. It really needs to reinvent itself.
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John Thacker
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Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:23 pm Reply with quote
Kadmos1 wrote:
Brand wrote:
The pilot for Lost was something like $11.5m, so yeah 2 mill doesn't sound that crazy at all. I'm kind of surprised there isn't much toy tie in anime anymore, that would seem to be the way to go in terms of money.


I guess, for whatever reasons, the toy tie-ins just don't sell as well. It'd be nice if we could continually have the success of the 80s Transformers toys because that could help.


Late night anime aren't watched by the people who would buy regular toys (as opposed to character goods). Prime time, after school, and Saturday morning anime are reasonable opportunities for tie ins. Evangelion was shown after school until the PTA complained. Gundam has its own set of toys, as one exception. (Gundam can also sustain huge selling OVAs.) For most shows the tie in is more for the source manga or light novels.

Late night anime have the huge expense upfront of thirteen episodes without knowing if it will be a success, unlike the days of one or two OVAs released to test the market. It's like Funimation committing to a dub for shows before knowing if they'll be popular.

Late night anime would love to get the ratings of something like Archer. Getting a US audience would be nice, but fundamentally the whole industry would like more of the Japanese audience rather than having a small number of otaku buying expensive disks paying for the whole thing. Then again, the real alternative is just fewer shows, as there is only a limited number of eyeballs to fight over.
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:25 pm Reply with quote
Those figures are roughly what I expected, to be honest. After having Kickstarter projects like Under the Dog being a little more open with their finances, it has been a little easier to tell what the standard cost is.

Quote:
In order to make it sell, he had to "advertise it, plan events, and make merchandise." Shinji Takamatsu, a veteran animator, cited a figure of 150 to 200 million yen ($1.2 to $1.6 million).


I'm not entirely sure what this means. Is that the supposed marketing budget?
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Gasero



Joined: 24 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:30 pm Reply with quote
Of course they have to advertise a show in order for it to sell. I'm not sure what those kinds of comments are aimed at.

I am also wondering if the high cost and low return is because of a saturation of the Japanese anime market. If there were fewer shows perhaps there would be a more sustainable spread of money.
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Thespacemaster



Joined: 03 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:41 pm Reply with quote
A large percentage of Anime these days are just advertisement products..sponsored so they can have the source material aka the manga, light novel, novels, game, etc boosts so the publishers can get more profit from them.... it based on to get a bigger audience and more profit from the sales of those merchandise.... with these rate an average 1 cour would have to sell 7k average and that is just to break even.

This is why so many anime never get a chance to finish adapting the source material cause it is an expensive industry and sometime even it is well received it is not worth making more of it. it is sad but that is how the industry works....which i think they really need o fix this.

So if your series that you are watching is doing well both in disc sales and sources boosts count your blessings as it is a combination of success of those two...the more on the later for any series to get more content these days.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:43 pm Reply with quote
Gasero wrote:
I am also wondering if the high cost and low return is because of a saturation of the Japanese anime market. If there were fewer shows perhaps there would be a more sustainable spread of money.


Of course there wouldn't.

As I said, most anime are made as advertisements to promote an existing franchise, i.e. a manga, light novel, game, TCG, idol group, et cetera. Televised shows aren't expected to be profitable in their own right but simply to boost the popularity of whatever they are promoting.
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Videogamep



Joined: 10 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:52 pm Reply with quote
It sounds like the only reason the industry can function is because there are hits like Attack on Titan and SAO every couple of years. If most shows don't make any money, the hits have to be huge to recoup their production costs, the costs of the flops and still be profitable. Something clearly works, though, since were getting 30-40 shows a season and that's not even counting movies and OVAs.
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RaylenCypher



Joined: 03 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:10 pm Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
Gasero wrote:
I am also wondering if the high cost and low return is because of a saturation of the Japanese anime market. If there were fewer shows perhaps there would be a more sustainable spread of money.


Of course there wouldn't.

As I said, most anime are made as advertisements to promote an existing franchise, i.e. a manga, light novel, game, TCG, idol group, et cetera. Televised shows aren't expected to be profitable in their own right but simply to boost the popularity of whatever they are promoting.


That's IF the producers/publishers own the studio that makes the anime. If it was a studio that was in no way owned by them, the studio would have to rely on the DVD/BR discs to make a living. They make NO profit from any LN/Manga/Video game spike sales if they don't own them.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:18 pm Reply with quote
Videogamep wrote:
It sounds like the only reason the industry can function is because there are hits like Attack on Titan and SAO every couple of years.


*sighs*

This is so not true it ain't even funny.

One big hit per year - or even one big hit person season - cannot fund all the other anime that gets produced.

Besides, unlike what you think there isn't a communal pool of money in the anime industry. Each mega hit doesn't pay out to every studio and production committee in Japan, only the ones that made the show in question.

RaylenCypher wrote:
That's IF the producers/publishers own the studio that makes the anime. If it was a studio that was in no way owned by them, the studio would have to rely on the DVD/BR discs to make a living. They make NO profit from any LN/Manga/Video game spike sales if they don't own them.


Um, you're wrong about studios relying on disc sales.

Except for odd examples like Sunrise who can self-fund, studios are contracted by production committees to make shows. Studios do not see any money from disc sales, as they were already paid to make the show in the first place. That's where much of the two million went, and that money gets paid to the studio before the anime is even broadcast.


Last edited by dtm42 on Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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