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INTEREST: Ghibli Co-Founder Toshio Suzuki Discusses Why Studio Did Not Seek Growth


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Gemnist



Joined: 10 Feb 2016
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:48 pm Reply with quote
I respect his business decisions, but I REALLY want Ghibli to grow. It could really use it.
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Firefly251



Joined: 14 Jul 2018
Posts: 135
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:49 pm Reply with quote
given how much they enjoy making the movies and how invested they are in them all I am glad they are staying "small".

Ghibli films will always be remembered no matter how they are.
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dragonmastr



Joined: 09 Feb 2012
Posts: 133
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:23 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Why is it that you must have growth?


I've always wondered about this as well. Why is it a bad thing if a company experiences lower growth as long as it is still making a net profit? You look at the news and all the "finance experts" make it sound like the apocalypse is coming if a big company has a smaller amount of growth compared to the previous year.
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pajmo9



Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 609
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:50 pm Reply with quote
If merchandising is what it takes to get some of these non Studio Ghibli films and series made then bring on the merchandising. I don't have a problem with it at all.
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johnnysasaki



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 575
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:13 pm Reply with quote
"I don't want to do it because the films would be treated as cheap commodities," he said.

The Cat Returns,Spirited Away and Ponyo were all on Netflix in my country.Ops...

But seriously,the extra money you could make could have been made to make more of these movies that your studio barely makes these days because of the lack of money...
Anyway,just make some body pillows of Nausicaa,San and Kiki and money will come easily...what?
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catbot158



Joined: 04 Mar 2017
Posts: 141
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:35 pm Reply with quote
I do respect Toshio's decisions regarding Ghibli's growth. He's one of those rare producers that doesn't want to milk the cash-cow as hard as he can. And you have to respect a business that's not interested in monopolies. *cough* Disney~ *cough*

I do, however, argue that Ghibli SHOULD put their movies up for streaming. The simple matter is that it's getting harder to watch these films on DVD, and streaming isn't as much of a novelty as it used to be; it's the standard now. A couple nights ago, I wanted to watch Howl's Moving Castle out of nostalgia, but I couldn't find it anywhere on the streaming sites. Even ITunes doesn't carry it (anymore?). I do own a few Ghibli DVDs, but my computer doesn't have a CD drive. So what's the point of buying Howl on DVD if I can't watch it? Mad

At least put the movies on iTunes to rent or purchase. That's an out-of-touch way of doing it, but at least I'll still own the movie.
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jdnation



Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 996
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:32 pm Reply with quote
dragonmastr wrote:
Quote:
Why is it that you must have growth?


I've always wondered about this as well. Why is it a bad thing if a company experiences lower growth as long as it is still making a net profit? You look at the news and all the "finance experts" make it sound like the apocalypse is coming if a big company has a smaller amount of growth compared to the previous year.


It depends. If you're a private company, then it's all well and good and you can go at your own pace.

But if you're publicly traded and have investors to answer to, then legally, you are obligated to maximize the returns on their investments. If you invested money, then you'd expect that where you invest in would try their best to give you as much return as possible on your risk.

Growing your company, means more sources of revenue. So if Ghibli was public (I'm not sure about their nature) and expanded to make toys, they'd be making more money for their investors. Which in turns means more investors coming to you, and you have a larger pool of finance to play with that could hire more staff, technology etc. and create things faster, (but this will also come with managing headaches, so it's understandable that artistic people like to keep smaller more intimate teams).

If a big company fails to grow, then naturally investors might feel that their money is better invested elsewhere where they'd see greater returns. So if a company experiences slow growth, then the common impression is that they are not doing so well, though this can also be short sighted as some companies have long term strategies in place that predict slower growth, or even losses at the beginning.

That said, even if Ghibli was private, it'd still be a good idea to try and maximize your revenue, if only for savings for a rainy day. But I also see the point that there is a fine line that can over-commoditize your brand into irrelevancy. And there is some strong staying power in something that is not over commercialized.

A good idea that wouldn't dilute your brand if you like to remain small, is to allow for some limited run high quality merch every now and then. So Ghibli naturally went outside to have it done (or outside companies approached Ghibli), so Ghibli only had to license some official goods without having to expand to make it themselves. But depending on how that's negotiated, they would make less money off licensing, either a flat fee or a royalty rate or both, than if they were to make and sell it themselves, but that also has its own risks and expenses and an entirely different marketplace expertise.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 998
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:46 pm Reply with quote
With greater income, they could pay their animators better. If their animators already have satisfactory pay and working conditions, they could hire more animators who presently work for other companies, and give them better pay and working conditions than they currently have. They could invest in the next generation of animation talent, which -- as any number of pieces have mentioned -- too few organizations are doing.

I won't say there's no merit to their choice. I have a lot of respect for Bill Watterson. But it's not the only way to create with integrity. And God knows Miyazaki, the most popular anime director in history, has complained enough about the rest of the anime industry.

Ghibli does not exist in isolation.

(As for the thing about "cheap commodities"... there's a kind of arrogance in wanting people to have to work harder to access your art.)

jdnation wrote:
But if you're publicly traded and have investors to answer to, then legally, you are obligated to maximize the returns on their investments.


Is this actually a legal obligation? Or is that a myth?
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GeorgeC



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 733
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:54 pm Reply with quote
Gemnist wrote:
I respect his business decisions, but I REALLY want Ghibli to grow. It could really use it.


You really DON'T see what this did to Disney in the end?

I sure did!

I can remember when Disney WASN'T as big as it is now.
It was a much more personal company AND answerable to the public.

Now, look what it is now and tell that what it is today is better...!
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 1129
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:00 pm Reply with quote
^^Hear, Hear! I also respect Suzuki-san's wisdom because he is right. When one looks to Disney as a model for merchandising animated properties one should do some historical homework and recognize that there was almost no mass merchandising while Walt was alive for exactly the same reason. And while Walt recognized the importance of television, from 1955-1970 there were only four TV shows made.

From the '40's through '70's only a few Disney animated classics were given controlled release showings every 10 years so as to allow new generations to be exposed to them without making them seem "old hat" to older generations of viewers. They were kept "special" by scarcity both of the showings as well as merch. The "machine" we know today didn't really start until Eisner got in charge and has grown monstrously since.

Getting back to anime, for a long time EVA was like that but now there practically isn't anything that can't be found as a tie-in product and I do believe it cheapens the perceived quality of the show.
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ranran-001



Joined: 25 Oct 2018
Posts: 116
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:13 pm Reply with quote
Shay Guy wrote:
With greater income, they could pay their animators better. If their animators already have satisfactory pay and working conditions, they could hire more animators who presently work for other companies, and give them better pay and working conditions than they currently have. They could invest in the next generation of animation talent, which -- as any number of pieces have mentioned -- too few organizations are doing.

I won't say there's no merit to their choice. I have a lot of respect for Bill Watterson. But it's not the only way to create with integrity. And God knows Miyazaki, the most popular anime director in history, has complained enough about the rest of the anime industry.

Ghibli does not exist in isolation.

(As for the thing about "cheap commodities"... there's a kind of arrogance in wanting people to have to work harder to access your art.)

jdnation wrote:
But if you're publicly traded and have investors to answer to, then legally, you are obligated to maximize the returns on their investments.


Is this actually a legal obligation? Or is that a myth?


It is a myth. There is no legal obligation for a publicly traded company to have profit growth year over year. This myth was talked about on NPR Marketplace about four years ago. The legal precedent mentioned on the radio show, was a lawsuit involving a company and shareholders, and the judge decided in favor of the company citing there were no legal requirements to maximize profits/ROI.

At most, it's one of those "rules" that every company on wall street abides by, but its not a legal requirement.
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Gemnist



Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 1459
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:22 pm Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
Gemnist wrote:
I respect his business decisions, but I REALLY want Ghibli to grow. It could really use it.


You really DON'T see what this did to Disney in the end?

I sure did!

I can remember when Disney WASN'T as big as it is now.
It was a much more personal company AND answerable to the public.

Now, look what it is now and tell that what it is today is better...!


I was referring to the fact that Ghibli has barely released anything since When Marnie Was There. When did I ever mention Disney?
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Blackiris_
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Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 421
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:40 pm Reply with quote
Gemnist wrote:

I was referring to the fact that Ghibli has barely released anything since When Marnie Was There. When did I ever mention Disney?


But that was a personal decision, hardly a matter of growth. If Ghibli wanted to make more movies, there’s no question they have the resources and connections. But Miyazaki and Suzuki encouraged Hiromasa Yonebayashi to move on, possibly because they felt he needed to grow and flourish independently instead of being constrained by the Ghibli legacy. Ghibli did a few attempts to raise a new generation of directors and other staff, but in the end Ghibli has always been a Miyazaki thing. Sadly, Takahata’s production practices have "burned" the talent nurtured by the studio (I’ve translated the whole story here) and Miyazaki’s strong and uncompromising values didn’t really leave much space for other directors to flourish freely. This is the problem if the biggest part of a company is built around one person’s vision.

The legacy of Ghibli lives on in Ponoc, and Miyazaki will probably make movies as long as he can. Ponoc has already proved to be a much more cooperative workplace, much like Colorido, but with bigger financial support.
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Panoptican



Joined: 03 Oct 2005
Posts: 135
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:11 am Reply with quote
dragonmastr wrote:
Quote:
Why is it that you must have growth?



The biggest reason to shoot for as much growth as possible is that it makes things easier. Businesses fluctuate in revenue and profit. You're not always as successful as you hope to be. If you aim for 5% growth and miss your targets by 3% you're still at 2% growth. It's not great, but you can still meet all your obligations and pay all your employees without too much issue. What if you aim for 1% growth and miss your target by 3%? Suddenly you could be in the hole. It becomes harder to meet your obligations. Do you layoff some workers? Take some loans/credit? If you take loans/credit you're on the hook in the future. Hopefully you're planning for some growth to help you!

I'm not saying it's impossible to run a business with less growth, but it easier to run a growing business. When you're growing it's easier to hire people when you need to, make purchases when you need to, and convince institutions to lend you money/credit. If your business is stagnant all of that becomes more difficult. And when hiring, maintain employee salaries/benefits, and purchasing things becomes difficult suddenly your business is in danger of dying. It's easier to keep your head above water when you're pushing upwards.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3344
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:08 am Reply with quote
Shay Guy wrote:
With greater income, they could pay their animators better. If their animators already have satisfactory pay and working conditions, they could hire more animators who presently work for other companies, and give them better pay and working conditions than they currently have.
I'm not saying Ghibli is perfect to work, the complaints about Isao Takahata give a bad insight, but as far as I know Ghibli pays better than most other studios, it's just you have to be extremely talented to work there.
Quote:
The doll maker Sun Arrow produced such high quality samples that even Miyazaki, who was dead set against merchandising his films, had to concede their craftsmanship.
I wish I had been a fly on the wall to see that.
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