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NEWS: Japanese Anime Home Video Market Falls 0.8% in 2019




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KabaKabaFruit



Joined: 20 Sep 2007
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:49 am Reply with quote
Maybe it's time that the Japanese Anime Home Video market realized that the old singles market just isn't cutting it anymore. Start giving your audience boxsets.
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:28 pm Reply with quote
If by "Singles" you mean the standard 2 episodes per disc for about $50, then I don't think that's a real problem. If anything, that's probably easier to digest for most people compared to the $150 boxset with 6 episodes that I've seen. If prices were lower in general then maybe people would buy more. It's a hard thing to balance, though.

The real problem is similar to the US market for home video, that for MOST people, streaming is "fine" and they only ever watch each anime once.The problem for home video is unfortunately that it's something only more hardcore fans care about inherently since there's no reason to buy it if you' don't plan on watching it again - and like I said, most people don't watch most anime more than once.

They've also added quite a lot of bonuses to Blurays over the years, from what I noticed. That no doubt adds to cost and I wonder if it's worth doing that. In other words, does the extra content boost sales enough to make up for the added cost?

Anyway, every time I see this It makes me sad. Home Video may not be popular but it's an EXTREMELY important part of the market since it's the only place fans can get remotely close to full quality. It honestly baffles me how no one is offering "lossless" (from Blu-ray, not from the master) anime streams/downloads in 2020, average download speed is over 75 Mbps so most people in the world could easily handle BD-quality streams and even people on a 5Mbps connection would be more than willing to wait for a BD-quality "Digital purchase". That's honestly the main reason I personally buy Blu-rays. If I could get a BD-quality Digital Purchase, I'd choose that 90% of the time over BD. A good bonus like an art book would be the only time I'd prefer a BD instead.
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Greboruri



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
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Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:34 pm Reply with quote
KabaKabaFruit wrote:
Maybe it's time that the Japanese Anime Home Video market realized that the old singles market just isn't cutting it anymore. Start giving your audience boxsets.

Some series, certainly nowhere near all, have had half season box sets for a number of years now.

Kougeru wrote:
If prices were lower in general then maybe people would buy more.

Some video distributors tried this in the past (with some examples dating back to the 1990's), and it wasn't true. Sales did not increase.
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KabaKabaFruit



Joined: 20 Sep 2007
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 7:13 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
If by "Singles" you mean the standard 2 episodes per disc for about $50, then I don't think that's a real problem. If anything, that's probably easier to digest for most people compared to the $150 boxset with 6 episodes that I've seen. If prices were lower in general then maybe people would buy more. It's a hard thing to balance, though.

Are we talking about the Japanese or the American market here?
Quote:
The real problem is similar to the US market for home video, that for MOST people, streaming is "fine" and they only ever watch each anime once.The problem for home video is unfortunately that it's something only more hardcore fans care about inherently since there's no reason to buy it if you' don't plan on watching it again - and like I said, most people don't watch most anime more than once.

I find the notion that most people don't watch most anime more than once to be conjectural, no offense. But, I still don't see how that is a guarantee of the market diminishing. Some people want a physical release to call their own just like with video games. Plus, I'm still not understanding what really defines being a "hardcore" fan. Hardcore fans, in my personal view, would buy their shows in whatever format it is in at whatever price which is why I'm still disputing the notion to this day that giving fans cheap, affordable boxsets is somehow the same as paying your fair share to the industry. If it was paying your fair share, then Japanese fans should be getting the same deal. And yet, we still have a distribution gap.
Greboruri wrote:
Some series, certainly nowhere near all, have had half season box sets for a number of years now.

Newer series or older series?

Because if it's the latter, then you have a point.
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:17 pm Reply with quote
Greboruri wrote:

Kougeru wrote:
If prices were lower in general then maybe people would buy more.

Some video distributors tried this in the past (with some examples dating back to the 1990's), and it wasn't true. Sales did not increase.


I don't recall this happening. I won't argue it didn't, but I don't recall that happening. Every major film release was priced basically the same regardless of the company. I did say "maybe", though. I know it's a major reason US fans didn't buy a lot of anime, especially Aniplex USA releases. The US is also very different, of course. People living in Cali have much higher cost of living but a $50 blu-ray is still a much lower % of their income than it is for someone living in Iowa, for example. I don't think that's an issue in Japan but you mentioned the US, and in the US simply lowering the price a bit wouldn't make a big enough difference in a lot of places.

KabaKabaFruit wrote:
Kougeru wrote:
If by "Singles" you mean the standard 2 episodes per disc for about $50, then I don't think that's a real problem. If anything, that's probably easier to digest for most people compared to the $150 boxset with 6 episodes that I've seen. If prices were lower in general then maybe people would buy more. It's a hard thing to balance, though.

Are we talking about the Japanese or the American market here?


Japanese. I don't see how it matters though. Generally speaking, it's easier to buy cheaper items more often than it is to buy expensive ones less often.

KabaKabaFruit wrote:
Kougeru wrote:
The real problem is similar to the US market for home video, that for MOST people, streaming is "fine" and they only ever watch each anime once.The problem for home video is unfortunately that it's something only more hardcore fans care about inherently since there's no reason to buy it if you' don't plan on watching it again - and like I said, most people don't watch most anime more than once.


I find the notion that most people don't watch most anime more than once to be conjectural, no offense. But, I still don't see how that is a guarantee of the market diminishing. Some people want a physical release to call their own just like with video games.


We have quite a few points of data we can use to make assumptions. It's impossible to say 100% either way, but sites like MAL keep track of rewatches. Most people don't track so it's definitely not data I would use to try and publish a paper lol. But when I said "an anime more than once" I meant the entire thing, not specific episodes. I know a lot of people rewatch their favorite episodes all the time but that was never the case when VHS/DVD were popular. It generally wasn't worth it unless they wanted to watch everything on that tape/disc.

I only meant it as one factor, not all of it. But it IS a proven fact that streaming is enough for most people. Sad as it is to me since anime streaming quality is FAR lower than it should be at this point in time (a different topic so I'll leave it at that), for most people it's enough. And I'm not trashing casual viewers, but last I checked casual viewers were the majority now days. They turn on w/e is popular and watch it. They don't care so much about quality and what not. They never no incentive to buy a home release unless they like something a ton, in which case they'd fall under my definition of a "hardcore" fan. In the past I would not have referred to someone as "Hardcore" just for buying a home release, but to me it really seems like only really big fans of something buy home releases. How many people do you know that bought the home release of Stranger Things? I only know like 5 and these people live for Stranger Things. Everyone else just watches it when the new season comes out and moves on when until the next one. That's what i mean by "Casual" and "hardcore".

"Some" people do want physical copies, but the sales clearly show they're a minority. What I was trying to say is that I believe MOST, but not all, are "Hardcore" fans as I defined above. I know some people will go to a store and see a DVD/BD and go "that looks neat" and buy it, but DVD/BD sales worldwide indicate to me that this is not very common anymore.

Quote:
Plus, I'm still not understanding what really defines being a "hardcore" fan. Hardcore fans would buy their shows in whatever format it is in which is why I'm still disputing the notion to this day that giving fans cheap, affordable boxsets is somehow the same as paying your fair share to the industry.



Hardcore does NOT mean "rich". It just means people will make sacrifices for something they love a lot. You can also be a hardcore fan for a SPECIFIC show. I love Fate/Zero and Madoka. Very "hardcore" fan with lots of art, all the CDs, and some other cheap merchandise. But I CANNOT afford to pay $200 for their respective blu-rays. (Madoka can be bought for $120 now but for YEARS they only sold the LE here in the US). I also would NOT buy it in "whatever form it was in". I'd buy it in whatever the HIGHEST QUALITY form available is. I want to see my favorites as close to the masters as I can.


Quote:
If it was paying your fair share, then Japanese fans should be getting the same deal. And yet, we still have a distribution gap


Our economies are (in normal times) different and incomes are different. Hell, even California vs other states is very different. The way I look at things is how much of someone's expendable income does this cost? Something in California can cost 4% of their expendable income while where I live it, it's the same exact price but it's 8% of my expendable income. Cost of living doesn't adjust for things like blu-rays and PlayStation. Getting "the same deal" doesn't make sense unless the economies are identical. This makes things that are affordable in some places unaffordable in others.

How do you define "Fair share"?

I know you didn't mention streaming, but If buying an affordable boxset is not a "Fair share" then neither is streaming. Streaming is fantastic value for consumers but on a per-user valuation it's terrible for companies. A single user can pay $7.99 a month and watch hundreds of episodes (or thousands if they're in a quarantine for 3-4 weeks). A blu-ray on the other hand, we'll say is 13 episodes for $40 (20 dollar sets, if we're calling it "affordable"). Revenue from both are of course split between various companies but it's pretty obvious that the blu-ray would give much more money directly back to the production company. It's kind of a big downside of streaming that I can't tell a service where to give my money. Maybe I only subscribed for Asteroid in Love and only watched that during the month so I want all my money to go to companies involved in that. Streaming doesn't work that way though. Home video is far more "direct" in that sense - the money gets much closer to the people that made it. So even if it was "Affordable" boxsets, on an individual basis it should be paying more of that "fair share" than a single streamer.

Anyway, it's honestly proof of what I was saying earlier about how companies could (maybe) sell things cheaper and get more sales.They're just "selling" it by the thousands in the form of subscription and with the downside of losing access to some shows now and then. The main difference is that streaming is MUCH better value than a Blu-ray can ever be for mass consumers due to accessibility. It's cheaper and easier to access, so it became a hit. And as I said at the beginning, for most people that's enough.

TLDR: The only real incentives for buying Home Video that I can find are (in no specific order)

1. Wanting to support the creators of that specific show more than what a streaming subscription does
2. Wanting the highest quality version of that product that you can buy
3. Wanting the bonus items that come with it
4. Wanting a physical copy for other reasons than #2

And for most viewers (Casual viewers) those things just don't matter. Accessibility and price on streaming is too good of value comparatively.

As I said in my first comment, I hope the home market exists forever so I get really sad when I see the numbers shrink at all. I would be very content with a BD-Quality Digital Download option for purchase but I'd still love the option to buy a physical object with beautiful cases/boxes and other such things. I hope home video releases become the next vinyl. The difference of course is that BD is factually higher quality than streaming and current offerings of digital downloads, while vinyl is at best equal to CD under ideal situations.
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KabaKabaFruit



Joined: 20 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:21 pm Reply with quote
I wouldn't bring streaming into this argument for only the fact that such distribution isn't restricted to a set number of episodes on physical media. Honestly, this is an issue that I've had with the distribution model for anime LONG before streaming became the norm in anime viewing practices.

I'm currently basing my arguments on the distribution of physical media and the difference in quantity and price between the two nations.
Kougeru wrote:
Our economies are (in normal times) different and incomes are different. Hell, even California vs other states is very different. The way I look at things is how much of someone's expendable income does this cost? Something in California can cost 4% of their expendable income while where I live it, it's the same exact price but it's 8% of my expendable income. Cost of living doesn't adjust for things like blu-rays and PlayStation. Getting "the same deal" doesn't make sense unless the economies are identical. This makes things that are affordable in some places unaffordable in others.

Well, yes. Our economies are different but it shouldn't make that much of a difference when it comes to leisure buys like anime. Anime isn't sustinence. New releases tend to get 2-4 episodes per DVD or Blu-Ray in Japan for 10,000 yen while new releases get full season sets in America for like $30 to $40. Prior to '06, we were all paying 3-4 episodes per DVD for $30-$40. Since '06, we seem to be getting the better bang for our buck while Japan has to stick with its traditional pricing model. You don't really need to be an economics expert to see the stark difference in distribution and pricing. I just don't see a fair business model that can help meet either market in the middle. I could dare say that the process makes American consumers appear to be riding on the backs of Japanese consumers for the sake of a cheaper deal. I don't buy into the notion that low percentage of expendable income has anything to do with it. I would be making the same argument if Japan was getting the affordable boxsets and we're left strapped with single disc releases.
Quote:
How do you define "Fair share"?

Even distribution of episodes per release at a price range that is equivalent to the percentage of disposable income on both sides of the market.
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a1anne



Joined: 18 Sep 2016
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:05 am Reply with quote
I'm an hardcore fan, and anything I want to rewatch I can do it online. I have a list of over 900 anime that I watched, and a list that doesn't decrease of ''plan to watch''.


But fact is guys, it's 2020. I don't even have anything to watch a physical support anymore. My tv is linked by chrome cast and I share what I have on my computer with it. And my computer ? Been since 2015 that it doesn't have any cd reader anymore.

We are at this age, physical support is becoming obsolete, that's it.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


Joined: 17 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:28 am Reply with quote
Based on DVD sales being way down and Bluray sales being slightly up, I'd wager that many people who were buying anime on DVD are switching to streaming, whereas not much has actually changed for people who collect the more "high end" releases. It makes a certain amount of sense: depending on your internet connection, streaming video will be just as good, if not better than, DVD quality. Even if it isn't, some people might not even know or care - a lot of people just watch anime on their phones these days, and my brother swears that he can't tell the difference in video quality between anime on DVD and anime on Bluray. On the other hand, if you're the sort of person who is regularly spending the amount of money Japan charges for Bluray releases, then you probably also have some kind of killer home theater setup.

Personally, I don't spend the kind of money on Blurays that I used to. Out of all the shows being released during the first half of this year, I only ended up preordering four (Revue Starlight, Zombie Land Saga, Sarazanmai, and Maria Watches Over Us). There's still a ton of upcoming stuff that I'm excited for (Symphogear and Sayonara Zetsubo-Sensei are finally getting Bluray releases!), but overall, I'm buying way more physical releases of manga than anime these days.
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DavetheUsher



Joined: 19 May 2014
Posts: 332
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:13 pm Reply with quote
BodaciousSpacePirate wrote:
Based on DVD sales being way down and Bluray sales being slightly up, I'd wager that many people who were buying anime on DVD are switching to streaming, whereas not much has actually changed for people who collect the more "high end" releases.


DVD was always seen as the mainstream/casual option in Japan and BD the otaku/collector choice. Those DVD sales just got shifted towards streaming is my guess as well.

KabaKabaFruit wrote:
I wouldn't bring streaming into this argument for only the fact that such distribution isn't restricted to a set number of episodes on physical media. Honestly, this is an issue that I've had with the distribution model for anime LONG before streaming became the norm in anime viewing practices.

I'm currently basing my arguments on the distribution of physical media and the difference in quantity and price between the two nations.


That's fine, but you have to include streaming in this. It's part of the market. Digital manga is why physical manga sales have been down in Japan. It's not because manga is priced too expensively, it's because a lot of people are going for the online option. Streaming brings in more and more revenue each year, and those numbers aren't coming from a vacuum. It's all the people abandoning the DVD making the switch. Many shows don't even get a DVD release anymore because it's becoming more and more obsolete which is automatically going to lead to less home video sales.
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Wrangler



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:53 pm Reply with quote
While it's not same, i think problem is steaming/on-demand stuff. I'm uncertain, but i'm pretty sure the collectable market of dvds isn't sustainable anymore since you have online sources.

Now that government is saying "everyone stay home" order is place. Sales aren't going get any better.
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